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.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 18-20 Time Reflections

So looking back on 20 time I came up with a few thoughts about what I had done, and where I could have improved. These are my thoughts on 20 time. I like the concept of 20 time, but there are some things that I would have done differently. I would have had a trial period of maybe the first month, where we could start off with something, and change to a different project if we ended up disliking ours. I also don't really like how the deadlines for blog posts, or blog posts in general. Blogging is not really my thing. Don't ask me why, I don't really have a good reason for it. If I could go back in time, and tell myself to do something differently, I would tell myself to start somewhere else. I would have started with a language like C++ and then branched off of there, instead of starting with JavaScript. JavaScript is more of a branch off language, and I feel like learning C++ would have been more worth my time. Secondly, and this has less to do with 20 time, and more to do with me, I would have told myself to find a class to participate in. Structure is essential for me to learn. It is very hard for me to learn without a format. What I do like about 20 time, is that it gives us the opportunity to go ahead and learn new things that we might not have. It is based on the innumerable possibilities that can result from it. Overall, 20 time is productive and enjoyable, but some things could be tweaked.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 17-Thinking About TEDx

So over break I didn't work on coding much at all because I didn't feel like typing my hair out in frustration. Instead, I thought about what I am gonna say when I have to talk to my class about my project. If I talk about coding, it is going to be a really dry talk. Also, that isn't what our talk is supposed to be about. The biggest problem I had and still have is finding a unique deeper meaning to my project. The topics I have come up with so far are you have to enjoy something to be motivated to do it and with that motivation you will do it well, and the other one is you have to try something out before you say whether you like it or not. Unfortunately, these are pretty common ideas. How long have adults been telling kids to try something and see if they like it? Forever. So I am at a loss of what I consider to be a TED worthy topic. I would like to speak at the event because I am pretty good at it. I talk more than I care to admit. Hopefully, I will continue to think of new topics, and refine the ones I have.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 16-A Bit of Delay

This week I didn't really accomplish much. I have been bogged down with homework since Monday. I have averaged 35 math problems a day, and I have had to draw a picture for all of them. This plus other miscellaneous school work has stopped me from accomplishing a lot. This weekend I have to write a Faust legend, do more math, answer 21 questions from my History textbook, and then finish two term sheets. Instead of working on my project, I have been doing everything but that. I also have come to the conclusion that trying to learn JavaScript on my own might not have been the best idea. I think that I would get more out of it if I had a class with a teacher and a textbook/workbook. I feel like I absorb information the best this way. There is only so much interaction you can do with instructions on a website. I can actually talk to a teacher, so I think that a class would be a great way to learn. When I try to learn something like this by myself, I am rather unmotivated. because coding is not what I thought it would be like, and I always have a ton of questions that I have to look up to answer, and so it becomes very time consuming. Hopefully I will have more to show for next week. Looking at how far I have come, I most certainly am not going to finish this JavaScript course, much less make a website by the end of the year. I am not really sure how to feel about this because I normally finish everything.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Learn JavaScript Post 15-Some More Progress

This week, I made some progress on a place where I had been stuck forever. I had to get help from the codeacademy forums, which was really the only way I was going to get past the place where I was stuck, because I had no idea what was going on. Sometimes the instructions aren't very clear and so I didn't know whether or not I had to add a new line of code to my existing, or just edit the existing according to the new circumstances. It was also difficult because I had to write if/else statements inside of if/else statements. I wasn't sure how the syntax was supposed to look for this. Eventually I got it. There wasn't anything of picture value, as my code didn't look much different, it was just really repetitive. Another good thing that I found out was one of my friends has actually taken this whole course, and has done the c++ one as well. This could be very helpful because he could possibly answer any questions I have. Getting help from a human is much more helpful than getting help from a forum, because the forum will practically tell you the answer, whereas talking to my friend would still require me to actually think, and therefore not deprive me of knowledge that I might need later.