Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Learn JavaScript-The End

So it is over. I gave my talk. TEDx came and went, and I can say that I have mixed feelings about it. I got an A- on my talk, and I thought it went pretty well. I was nervous at first, but I prepared, both alone and with my friends. In the end, I think I can say that it was a positive experience. It helped me grow as a person in more ways than one. While I may not have used every Friday to the fullest, 20 improved the way I look at situations where I think I cannot succeed. For next year's students, I think that the blogs should be every other week from the start, and that there be more time allotted at the start of the year. Despite being given a decent amount of time, I don't think it was stressed enough that choosing a project isn't enough. It should be tried out. Have the students come up with a list of ideas that they might like to try, and over the course of the beginning of the year, have them try those ideas. That way they might prevent mistakes like the ones I made, by picking a project that could have been better had I picked a different code (small change = big difference). Aside from that, I cannot think of anything about 20 time that should be changed. Applying rules to something like 20 time defeats its purpose, I think it would be best to leave it open ended to maximize creativity. As for my opinion on if everyone should do it, my feelings are mixed. If it is forced on everyone, it may be taken as just another school assignment, and not everyone is going to come up with a unique deeper life lesson learned. I think it should be an option for anyone. Those who want something different and more vibrant than the average school assignment will take advantage of it. For those that don't, their loss. My advice for students who may be doing 20 time next year, or anybody considering it is this: Find something you can stick with for the whole year. 20 time can quickly turn into just telling the teacher what they want to hear (which defeats its purpose) if you don't choose something that you are passionate about. It is fine to fail at a project and learn something of it, but the accomplishment feels much better.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 24-Anticipation and Anxiety

This blog post is going to be brief, because I haven't really done anything on my project except for rehearse my talk. I give me talk this Thursday. To be honest, I am a little nervous, but I don't have any really bad habits of saying um or like a lot. I talk a lot too. I never shut up, so talking in front of a bunch of people shouldn't be too hard. I am just worried that my talk wont come off well, and it will be awkward for people to listen to. That is not what I want. I practiced my talk with my friends Garrett and Ethan and they said that the delivery was pretty good, I trust their judgement and their feedback, but I am still refining. I wish this blog post could have been a bit later, and their are plenty of people in the same position as me. This blog post would have been a lot more detailed and lengthy had I already talked. I will update this blog post after I talk to compensate for how little I have to say here.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 23-Rushing

So I didn't actually realize how close this whole giving a talk to a crowd of people thing is. I said a while ago that it was getting closer, and then it completely slipped my mind because it was kinda far off. Now I have a week. That is just great. I have to do my slides and really start going over this now. I am in sudo panic mode, because I understand that the talk is close, but that I have a little bit more time. It isn't as if it is tomorrow. My opinion is as soon as I get this done with, the better. I am not necessarily nervous to talk, I am nervous about a lack of preparation causing me to do poorly. Kinda of like when a teacher says you need to be doing something, and if you aren't then you are missing out on a key idea or concept. However, you think that you understand everything fine without doing that one thing, but are having worries that because you didn't do that one thing. Oh boy, I just need to clear my head. This blog post helps with that. The amount of blog posts I have left is dwindling, and I am contemplating if I will keep blogging after this. Blogging is not something that I completely enjoy, as I sometimes feel that nobody actually cares about what I am doing. Similar to pointless status updates on Twitter or Facebook or whatever social media site does status updates. When people just post stuff about themselves, it seems as if they think that everyone is paying attention to them. I don't understand that, I never will. That is the main reason why blogging is not one of my favorite things to do. Coding is another story. Even though coding is not as enjoyable as I hoped it would be, I will try to occasionally learn new stuff. I understand that in a time like today, coding is an invaluable skill. I am positive now that my talk will be about how trying new things is good, but not in the way that most people would expect, or have maybe heard before. It will be about how trying new things leads to every other important idea worth spreading. That would make the talk connect with more people too, because it gives them the step they need to know where to go after the talk. I don't want to give a talk that where I am telling people stuff that they don't already know. Could you imagine parents in the audience if I took what I think is the conventional approach? "Wait, so this kid is gonna give a talk on trying new things, and possibly speak at this important event, about a topic that I have been telling my kids for years? Why couldn't I have done that?" Anyways, I don't think there is another post scheduled before I speak, so the next post I have will be the results, and if I get selected to go speak at TEDx Grosse Pointe South, I will most assuredly let you people that may be reading this know.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 22-Been A While

It has been a while since my last post. I was on break for a week, and so I relaxed and didn't do much project wise. I have been thinking about my talk, and what I should use for my corresponding slides. Over break I looked into public speaking a bit, and then I noticed something that was actually pretty helpful. I went to church the Sunday after Easter, and the pastor who was giving the sermon was celebrating his 25 anniversary of being ordained. He gave a talk about himself and how thankful he was for all the support that the community had given him. I was surprised that his speaking format was similar to what I was going to be doing. Despite not having slides, he talked a little about his background, and what he was currently doing etc. The way he spoke was helpful to pay attention to, because you could tell that he really hadn't memorized his talk, just had an idea about what he was going to say. Sometimes the most helpful stuff is in the most unlikely of places. I broke my talk down into specific chunks and all I really need to do now is get the presentation finished and go over my talk with my teacher to see if there are any rough patches that I could smooth out. Stuff usually looks a lot better on paper, so I don't really know if everything would go according to plan, it makes the most sense to me to check with my teacher. This is part of my final grade so anything that will improve it is a good thing.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 21-Focusing on Speaking

The other half of my 20 time project is the public speaking part, but one could argue that it is more than half of the project, because it is more important than the actual project when it comes to my grade. I have figured out my topic for my talk, and it will be the importance of trying new things, and how that mindset can lead you to all kinds of experiences. I have been refining my talk idea for the past week or so, and I think that it will work out. The only problem, is I have been having trouble coming up with ideas for slides in the slideshow that goes with my talk. As much as I would like to get on stages and just talk, I probably wouldn't be able to do that, just because there is a lot of content in a talk like this, and forgetting where you are going next would be a huge disaster. I have no idea what kind of visuals I would put in my slideshow. The only pictures I could use would be code screenshots, and that would only be for the second part of the talk, which is information about your project and how it led you to your topic. For my introduction and the parts about my topic, I have no idea what I would put. Truth be told, I haven't given it much thought, and I still have a little bit of time before I have to have all of them selected. I will most likely do a slide every min or so, just because I am pretty good at talking. I just have to make sure that the pictures I choose match up with key points that could be time consuming. I am not necessarily worried that I wont fill the time limit, and despite the fact that I am speaking to a crowd, I am not nervous. I wouldn't say that I am ambitious about doing this talk, but I am not scared of it either. I think that if i present myself well, and organize my talk well enough, I could get picked to speak at the TEDx conference. I don't really want to turn speaking at the TED event a competition, because many of my classmates are equally qualified, if not more so. However, in my opinion, my topic has potential, a diamond in the rough if you will.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 20-My Talk

My talk for 20 time is getting closer. I am supposed to know what I want to talk about in April. I haven't learned as much code as I wanted, but I have seen my mistakes, where I went wrong, and what I should have done differently. I have thought about it for a while, and I think my talk is going to be about the importance of trying new things. I am thinking about showing how trying new things is the key to being successful, because it is the key to everything else, the master key if you will. Trying new things leads to failure sometimes, and failure is often more important than success. That is one lesson that you will learn from trying new things. Another is that trying new things leads to finding what you love. It is important to find what you love, for various reasons. These are a few of the topics that are big, and used the right way, TED worthy. I want to take a different approach. I want to show how trying new things is where to start. It is a catalyst for many of the smart ideas and concepts that have been learned and shared by everyone who has done this project, and I believe it is solid advice for anybody in general. When audiences hear a speech and it is about a great idea, they might be inspired to go and do something that they have always wanted to do, or do what the speech was about. I have listened to speeches before, and I have often had that thought, "That is a spectacular idea, I wish I could do that, but have no idea where to start. It turns out, that it is pretty easy. Break out of your comfort zone, try new foods, participate in things you might never have done. Robert Frost wrote a poem called The Road Not Taken. Here is an excerpt from it that I think conveys this message pretty well. "
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This illustrates how taking the path of least resistance might be easy, but the things you doubt you can do, or that challenge and scare you, often are the most rewarding.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 19-Some Changes

So after giving my teacher feedback on this whole project, he decided to make some changes according to our feedback. I am letting everyone know that my blogs will be slightly less frequent, as the blogging schedule has change from once a week, to every other week. I think that this was a smart change, as a week can be uneventful and then your blog will end up the same way. Two weeks gives people more time, and if they can't manage to write a blog post in that week because they are busy, they wont be penalized. As for this week, I continued my progress on Codeacademy, as it had been a while since I had been on and worked toward finishing more lessons. I didn't really accomplish anything noteworthy, just a bunch of pre-requisites for later lessons. I have also looked into where I could find a class, be it a normal one, or online. Khan Academy has coding tutorial videos, and they actually help quite a bit, especially since they are geared toward beginners like me. In the next two weeks, I plan to finish 1 or 2 full lessons, and refine my topic. This week was more for planning than anything else.