Blog Prompt 11/01/17

Blog Prompts

Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career

So I choose this topic because it seemed interesting to me as a Grade 12 high-school student who basically has no idea what he wants to do with his life. I thought it would provide much needed insight on a future career that I might have. So in general, Larry talks about the difference between “good” and “great” careers.
I’m sure that I’m in the same boat as many other students who have not the slightest of what they want to do in the future, and there’s one main question behind it; what is your passion. Now we’re not talking about interests, as you don’t tell girls you’re just “interested” in them (courtesy of Larry), we’re talking about passion. Is there something in you life that you’re just dying to do, but you believe that the opportunity just hasn’t risen yet? In my situation, no. I don’t really feel like I have a dying obsession to create spaceships or design clothes at the far reaches of Italy. I am simply a boring high-school student. So during the TED Talk, Larry speaks about interests. Out of twenty interests, a person could have one that they’re passionate about. That passion is what is going to fuel them for the rest of their lives. However, he brings up another interesting point – parents. I like many others before me have fallen into the parent trap.

Parent: Edward go to medical school so you can become a doctor and have a better life
Me: k

Larry puts it into perspective that sometimes parents can be detrimental to your life and you need to be the one that decides to have a “great” career. I can agree to this to a certain degree, as this thinking can sometimes put you in a box. Now this brings me to the main point of it all – failing to pursue a great career. The journey to your passionate job doesn’t arrive in a silver platter; out of your 20 interests, one, or even maybe none of them will work out. Similarity to Astro Teller’s video, failure is a breeding ground for success. You don’t want to take to easy road and solve all the little problems first; the hard ones (even ones that can destroy your project) are the ones that should be found and tackled first.
I one-hundred percent agree with Larry – something that you’re passionate about is super hard to achieve, and there is no doubt that you will fail trying to reach the pinnacle of your life’s career, but you can’t just give up; you are going to fight for it.

This video did give me some food for thought about my future careers, as the doctor role I’m pursuing now could very well be a placeholder for something else in the future. However, whatever I find to be my career of choice won’t be easy to achieve and I will certainly meet failure along the way.

This video is quite entertaining (jokes and all that fun stuff), as well as providing insight on career choices. I would definitely recommend this video to some of my friends who are in the same career boat as me, and I hope it gives them some food for thought on their future jobs.


















Self-Directed Summary

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Soundcloud Link

What is my project about?
So for my self-directed project, I decided to try to remix songs together. Instead of my initial assessment of using Audacity as my editing software, I found another DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that suited my needs better called Ableton Live. Ableton offers a much higher range of options and customization versus Audacity. The downside however, is that it’s way harder to use than Audacity, and I had to read up on a few tutorials before I could get started. One main YouTube channel I used was called SadowickProductions. This channel was greatly helpful in teaching me how to use Ableton, as well as having a handful of hour long videos showing how he does it himself. Another DAW I was planning to try out was called FLstudio. FLstudio in my opinion, is much less user-friendly to use than Ableton, and way more confusing to use. I believed that Ableton suited my needs better than most of the other DAWs out there.
So most of my project revolved around getting the time to actually find songs to remix that would sound well together. I spent about half a week just finding songs to put together, and that was no easy task. Remixing songs have roughly three core principles: acapella, instrumental, and creating supplementary music to go along with your songs. The songs I remixed were purely instrumental, and I did that partly because of the fact that I suck at putting voices and music together.
Songs remixed were:
Martin Garrix – Oops
Skrillex and Rick Ross – Purple Lamborghini

Why did I choose remixing?
I chose remixing partly due to a inner creative endeavor, as well as the fact that I was interested in how remixes worked. I hear remixes on the radio all the time, and I always think “Is it really that hard?”, and the conclusion I reached is this: it’s pretty freaking hard. The division of work went like this: 25-30% of the work went on finding suitable songs as well as learning the software itself, but 75% of the workload was essentially creative muscle – and let me tell you it’s pretty hard to be creative. What I began to do was listen to remixes by other people, but I felt that it gave me no progress because it simply made me try to repeat what they did in their song and resulted in a lack of originality. So I pretty much spent the latter part of the week trying to rack my brain on how to move forward with this project. I had briefly fiddled with remixing before, but I simply decided that it was way to hard to pursue, so I stopped. This time however, I tried to set my mind towards learning how to actually remix.

What did I learn?
In reality, I didn’t really learn too much in terms of remixing the song itself (a few tips and tricks on perhaps my next remix were learned), but I did feel like I made significant progress in working with Ableton. Specifically, thing such as creating bass beats to go along with you songs, supplementary flairs to add to your song, as well as the most important – syncing songs together. In contrast to other DAWs, syncing songs with each other is relatively easy using Ableton. With each song, there is a tool called “Warp”, with matches one song’s tempo with another which creates an appearance of being in beat. This tool however, does not allow you to modify pitch (how high/low a song sounds), or specific beats to one another. All of that stuff has to be done manually (tools are provided for modifying semitones, and adding bass beats), however it is super time consuming due to the amount of modifications and planning throughout the remix. If you want to modify a soundtrack even further, there are tools called “Audio Effects” (one such example is called EQ Eight), which allows you to perform even more modifications to your liking. All of that stuff is quite complex, and I only used a few effects during my remix. Another main part of remixing is using the Duplicate Tool. Essentially what is does it that you select a specific clip, and it Duplicates that clip over however long you want. A lot of remixing is to reuse parts of songs that are familiar and add a twist to it – it could transposing it, or increasing the tempo. Duplication adds a sense of depth and complexity to your song.
The main part of remixing was to find suitable songs to remix together. Most of the time you’ll be listening to instrumentals (songs without lyrics in them), to try to find a couple of songs that you think would be good together. I would say that I listen to a good portion of instrumental songs (around 10-15). Simply putting 2 songs together isn`t as easy as it sounds, as most of the time the songs don`t mesh well and they just sound terrible. A lot of the work in choosing the song is trial and error – finding songs that both sound nice and work well together. At first I was considering if i wanted to use acapellas (just a person singing), but I had a really tough time in working acapellas into my remix. Voices in my opinion were hard to visualize what is sounds like, and when incorporated in to the remix, simply sounded bad.
But all and all, I do think that remixing is left to the creative mind; most of it is very creative based and you need a good idea of what you want in your song, as well as big ideas in how to move forward with your song.


Ableton Live’s Sequence View


Audio Effects and Sounds List


An example of viewing an individual audio clip, showing various options such as Warping, Transposing, and BPM (speed)


A view of my remix – most of the audio clips are offline as I don’t currently have them on my computer

Blog Prompt 12/12/16

Blog Prompts

Online Harassment and Trolling

Yes, I play online games, and I would have to say that verbal harassment is pretty commonplace. However, I would have to say that it depends from game to game. Usually it occurs when play MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games). Examples include games such as League of Legends, and DOTA2, where you can freely use the chat to type or a microphone to speak to other teammates. Personally I don’t really see is as “harassment”, but something that just happens in the heat of the moment, when you get mad at when your teammates do. I would say that it doesn’t really bother me, because of the fact that I have been exposed to it for a pretty long time, and it’s pretty commonplace in the games that I play. Usually you just brush it off and continue what you are doing. However speaking in your microphone and screaming profanities does have a larger effect than typing in chat.

To be completely honest, I do sometimes trash talk other players, but it usually only occurs at a point where I’m pretty angry and the only way to vent is to talk badly about others. It is however, pretty limited to constructive feedback on what they’re doing wrong to a rude extent. I do believe that getting angry at an online game is pretty counterproductive to focusing and playing on the game. I try to refrain from “harassing” others because it usually makes it into a huge arguing contest where nothing is getting done.

I don’t think harassment happens because people are just rude by nature, I believe it happens due to the circumstances. If your teammates are doing something you don’t like, or something that is detrimental to your team, then I guess some people just feel the need to vent. Good intentions or not, the base point is you’re angry and you need someone to blame it on. An example in the real world would be something like:
Jim drops his daughter’s cake on her birthday
Jim’s wife: You’re a moron Jim, buy a new cake!

Regarding real-life situations, I think that it would vary based on what you’re doing. For example, in sports, verbally expressing yourself is pretty commonplace. Profanities, slurs and general yelling at each other’s team is just something that is accepted and in fact probably encouraged in the world of sports. Similar to video games, eventually people become desensitized to verbal abuse, and accept it for what it is (at least in the spectator’s perspective).
In the player’s eyes however, talking badly about other players (specifically in their faces) is generally looked down upon, and simply shows bad sportsmanship. Also, rather than speaking in a microphone and typing in the chat box, you are directly face to face with the other person. Usually, normal people try not to speak their minds to others, because it shows bad etiquette and self-control.
This also applies to things such as board games or other activities. The notion of “just because you’re mad you can do whatever you want” to others simply (obviously) is frowned upon in society, and has been taught otherwise by pretty much everyone (schools, family, and friends).

So should schools address this issue?
In my opinion, I don’t think schools really have an obligation to control verbal harassment – rather, they also don’t have the means to do so. Referring to our school as an example, you can’t really identify a person who suffers from verbal harassment, much less the source. If you look at it from a teacher’s perspective, the most that they could really do is to create awareness of the problem (which has been around for pretty much a decade), and tell students “online games are bad, stop playing them”. They may look good in the school’s eyes, but the truth is that the school simply does not have control over what the student can or cannot do.
The power to stop harassment (if it affects them that much), lies in the hands of the student. The solution is as obvious as to not play the game.
Now, if student doesn’t want to do that, there are in fact solutions that are put in by the game creators themselves. Options to mute other players’ microphones, and not have chat appear are all available in game, and it’s the player’s choice whether to use them or not.

Blog Prompt 26/10/16

Blog Prompts

I would have to say that Desmos and Block and Focus would be quite helpful to me personally.

Desmos would be helpful to me because of the math classes that I currently take (Advanced Functions). Due to the nature of this class, much of the content require you to graph and check the answers of various questions. Having a mobile app is also quite helpful, as we do practice questions during class in which Mr. Galo often requires us to graph different functions.

Block and Focus would help me eliminate distractions at home, by blocking the websites that I believe are preventing me from staying on task and completing the work at hand. I would mostly use this when I am working on homework or projects that requires my immediate attention. The only thing about this extension is the fact that it doesn’t have a wider range of customization so that I can adjust certain websites to my choosing.

As stated above, a class I am currently taking is Grade 12 Advanced Functions. Desmos is an extremely useful tool as pretty much the entire course is focused on graphing different equations to find answers and also to verify solution sets. During class, it is also helpful to have the Desmos app, as our teacher often requires us to graph different equations.

If I was a teacher, I would have to say that the Remind app would definitely be very useful in a class situation. Telling students when deadlines are and when tests will happen so that they don’t forget is pretty useful. Also, given the fact that pretty much all students have a smartphone or computer, makes this app quite convenient.
Also, you can see Remind as a great example because of the fact that some teachers are already using it to some extent, one bring Ms. Law for her Biology class.

Blog Prompt 19/10/16

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Are you satisfied with the final product you are submitting today? Is it your best possible work?  Why or why not?
I would have to say it is the best product I can submit. This is because most of the information I have researched is condensed and fit onto a poster. It provides easy and simple steps to prevent procrastination. It would perhaps be more informative if I had added another page to explain more in detail the steps required to accomplish my tasks, however I believed that the attention of students will not be extended quite that long, therefore one page would be sufficient enough.

In your opinion, did you procrastinate on your learning task assignment?  Why do you believe this to be true?
I would have to agree with the fact that I did procrastinate on this assignment. It was mostly due to the fact that the network was down during class time, therefore I did not feel the motivation to finish my project. Time spent at home was used for research purposes; however, I did not start adding and editing information onto my poster until a few days before the assignment was due. I would have to say that procrastination is largely seen in this class because of the lack of computer use and actually “starting” the project itself.

Did you use your class periods effectively? (From my perspective, effectively means every class you did work on the task and for almost the entire period you were focused on completing your work)
As stated before, it was complicated to work in class due to the fact that the network and WiFi was consistently down during the week that we were supposed to work on this project. However, during the times the network was up, I did spend my time on brainstorming and looking up learning skills that I felt I was interested in. That part did save me time when I was researching and compiling data, because I already had plans and ideas set in place.

Discuss the assignment with respect to expectancy (did you expect to do well? did you feel you could do well?), value (did you value the task or the grades you will receive for the task?) and delay (did you leave all the work until Thursday, Friday and/or the weekend?)
In respect to expectancy, I felt that the project was fairly simple in nature, and I could easily find and put together information based on my subject, procrastination. However, during the time I was researching, it was somewhat difficult to filter relevant information, as most of the same topics were just repeated over and over again.
In all honestly, I do feel that I could have done a little better on my poster (such as adding a little bit more information, perhaps some pictures here and there), but I did feel like I got my points across to the students.
Regarding delay, I would say that I did in fact put my project onto a later date (Friday + the long weekend), because I felt that I could finish the project in a couple of hours if I put my mind to it. In addition, I had already brainstormed and put some ideas onto paper so my workflow was a little better when constructing and visualizing my poster.

Knowing that many tasks in this class are structured similarly (multiple work periods provided, loose guidelines on what to do), are you worried about the tasks?  Can I change anything in the structure to help you succeed?
I feel that the class structure is completely fine. Class time to finish tasks are super helpful, as it help to alleviate the amount of work done at home, provided in a school setting.
In addition, due to the class students themselves (Gifted/MaCS), I see no problem in completing tasks on time and as efficiently as possible.

Blog Prompt 22/09/16

Blog Prompts

What do you like about the project so far?
I like that we get to work together with members of the class to complete a group project. It’s also quite nice that we are introducing more uses of PEDs to the teachers, so that they are more adapted to the tech generation.

What do you not like? Explain. What is your role in the group (what tasks are you working on, what have you contributed to your group)?
I don’t like the fact that our project has a long time line, as much of our project involves waiting (involves surveys, analysis). This creates delays in the advancement of our project.
Roles have been set in our timeline list, as well as Trello. Currently, am working on the research aspect of the project.
Our group has collective corroborated on creating a plan, the timeline, and assigning tasks to everyone.

What are your concerns going forward?
Concerns would definitely be having everyone finish at a reasonable time, as we do have a timeline to meet, and unexpected problems and risks associated with the project can affect the timeline. We also need to organize all of our research and survey analysis, which can take a considerable amount of time.

What do you expect the outcome of your project to be?
Hopefully, our end goal of our project will be that teachers will be more accustomed and acclimated to the use of PEDs during class.
This will help the teachers become more tech-savvy, as well as be more accepting of using PEDs in the class.

Links (Clickbait)

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Three links I use for school:
Academic Workspace 3.o
William Lyon Mackenzie C.I. Website
IDCICT Website

Three links I personally use:

Five sites related to technology in education:
Google Drive
Google Keep

Google Drive is used for creating and editing documents for school projects.
Google Keep and Evernote are used for note-taking during and after class.
Trello is used for assigning and organizing tasks.
Bibme is used for creating a formatted bibliography.