At its most basic, a frame is very simple concept. A frame can be as simple as a rectangle around a drawing. In brief, a frame is a bordered display of some geometric shape which contains some degree of information. The edge of the frame is the end of the display, completing the definition of the subject within the frame. The concept of a frame includes: picture frames; the viewable area of eye glasses, or the lens of a still camera or video camera; TVs, house windows; movie theater screens; a piece of paper; and computer screen displays including laptop, desktop, cell phone, smartphone, and touch tablets. Every window that opens within a computer screen is a frame. Though a physical frame is a very basic and simple concept to understand, the idea of a frame can be implemented in an infinite number of ways.
To learn and to teach is to make make many decisions about frames and the way they provide information.
What size of a frame do I need or prefer? Should a frame be big or small? Does the size of the frame make the display too heavy or too light? For example, how big should we make the book? Should the information go into a big or small frame? Should the information go on a cell phone, laptop computer or room size projection screen? How should the information be changed to fit a particular frame size?
Does the type of frame make it too expensive for the needed distribution of information? Should it be created as graffiti on a wall, print on paper or video on a touch tablet?
Should the frame be static or dynamic? Some frames are static, in which the length and width of the frame cannot be changed. Examples would include a sheet of photographic paper or a touch tablet, either of which could display a photograph at the maximum width of the frame. Some frames are dynamic. A frame can constantly be moving and thereby changing the content of the frame, such as eye glasses or a moving video camera. The borders of the frame might be flexible, such as computer windows which can be resized in any direction as well as moved in any direction without resizing.
Is the content of the frame too dense requiring the movement of some of its contents to another frame?
Can a collection of frames be more meaningfully organized, that is overlapped or tiled or formed into a collage of irregular edges?
Should frames include other related and not-so related frames? When do the number of frames become too many, becoming distracting, annoying and out-right interfering with the understanding of a particular frame? Examples to consider might be cluttered offices or student desktops, picture walls in offices, museums or the walls and halls of school classrooms or the windows open on a computer screen.
The idea of a frame can also be extended conceptually. As a frame is generally thought of as a particular perspective on a visual scene, this can also be thought of as a frame of mind, a particular perspective that provide ways to see or more broadly ways to think about the world. Every media then is a different frame of mind, thus making a radio playing a song, a robot carrying out its orders, an avatar moving within its 3 dimension space and a photograph all frames of mind. Every form of composition then is also a different frame of mind. This includes the thinking of a song writer, a scientist composing an experiment, a leader planning the organization of a team and 3 people in discussion in a meeting all frames of mind. A frame of mind also includes the psychological attitude and skill set that we bring to the problem solving process.
Moving to a new frame also represents a transition to a new perspective. Moving our selves and our students to new frames is a way of changing or altering the topic, focus or perspective. Every doorway is a frame. Movement through that doorway is a real or metaphorical shift of mind to a new frame. Consequently, every link on a Web page or linked hotspot on a digital source of information is a jump to a new frame or perspective. The timing of the transition between frames can be just right, or it can be disruptive and distructive of a line of thought or re-engagingly necessary if the current perspective has become stale or boring.
Sometimes the simplest of ideas can be implemented with infinite complexity.