- What did you enjoy about the experience?
Throughout the year I really enjoyed exploring something that was totally new to me which was learning my first programming language. I think what I enjoyed most was simply using the skills that I learned. Once I had gotten a good grasp on python, I really enjoyed programming my game and working with code. It was like solving puzzles! I had a goal in mind, and I just had to be creative and come up with a solution using my knowledge of python. Also, at the end of the year, it was awesome to see all of the diverse projects that my peers had undertaken throughout the school year.
- What was the most challenging aspect of your Twenty Time project?
The hardest part of my twenty time was the period in which I was actually learning python through Codecademy. I think that it was a very effective tool, but to be honest, it was very frustrating and in a lot of ways and not very user friendly. As a beginner programmer, the syntax and formatting of code was a whole new ordeal, and I had a hard time learning how to identify minuscule errors in long lines of code. For this reason, I was often stuck on activities for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. It was very hard not to just give up. but I eventually learned to use resources such as the blog that is available on the website. Using this, I was able to ask questions to other people like me who are working through the Codecademy program.
- What is one thing you learned about yourself by participating in your Twenty Time project?
I learned a lot about working through adversity. I’ve always been very determined to solve challenging problems I have been confronted with. In this project, I can’t really say that I discovered that all you have to do is never give up! I already kind of knew that. However, part of the problem I had was that I would just try to keep on working through something and not make any progress because I was completely in over my head. What I learned was that sometimes you have to get help. When I started using the blog and my brother as a resource for learning python, that is when I really had success. I learned another thing too. I have to set reminders in order to actually meet deadlines. For this project, I had to do a lot of work outside of class because Codecademy was taking much longer than I expected. I set goals to meet in order to stay on track. Sadly, I would rarely make these goals because of procrastination on weekends. I learned that I have to set reminds on my phone and change by background on my computer to a reminder in order to finish long term work.
- What are you most proud of? Why?
I am most proud of not changing my project when I was having trouble learning python on Codecademy. Despite many difficulties and a lot of frustration, once I actually got a good grasp on python I really began to enjoy twenty time. I am so happy that I didn’t quit and that I worked through the difficulties. Now that I have learned a language, I can really have fun making games and exploring computer science. If I had stopped, I might not have decided to take intro computer science next year or continued on with something that I have found that I really like.
- What lessons did you learn from your successes?
Without success I don’t think I would have realized how fun programming is. It is the most amazing feeling to be working with lines of code for like 20 minutes and finally seeing it carry out its designed task. I also learned that sometimes I succeeded when I just completely restarted my code and took off in a new direction. Sometimes when you look write code out in a new way I would understand it much better.
- What lessons did you learn from your failures?
The biggest thing I learned, as I stated above, was that when you fail, you have to get help. In some cases, continuing to work through problems relentlessly won’t get you anywhere. By consulting someone else you can learn what you were doing wrong and figure out how to get it right next time. Also, when I was just started my game, I realized that a lot of the stuff that I learned was more to learn the general workings of python. It was specifically how to program a game. So, at first I had a lot of trouble getting started. However, I realized that it is best to not become totally baffled by what you don’t know and just focus on what you do know and start there. That is what I did and it turned out to be very effective.
- What is one thing about this project you believe you’ll remember for a long time to come?
I will remember everything about my first frustrations and difficulties of python because I foresee that this will be the beginning of a long expedition in computer science. As I said in earlier blog posts, if I were to pick a college major right now, it would probably be computer science. I don’t know if I will go that far, but I will certainly use a lot of programming in my high school years to come. I am especially going to program during summers. Now because I think programming is going to become such a huge part of my life, my first experience with programming will only become a more important memory.
- What is something the teacher could have done to make this project better?
I thought that overall it was a well put together project, but I think it is something that some people will take advantage of and others won’t. I think I was very productive with my time. However, I also think that there were people in my class that weren’t. In order to avoid this outcome and give everyone help in staying on the right track I think that each student should have to meet with the teacher during tutorial or lunch every two or three twenty time days. This would help people be more productive and make more adaptations to their project in order to create the best possible project.