Raspberry Pi School Presentation

6 posts
by Mushroom_Lord » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:46 pm
A bit random, but I thought it was worth posting...though I am not sure here is the right place...

So there I am, the night before my speaking and listening English assessment for my GCSE. My topic of "Positive and Negative Aspects of Social Networking" is just not interesting me at all. The fact that it isn't something I want to talk about makes it something I am going to talk about badly.

So at about 11:30PM, I scrap all the pages of planning I had done, and make two PowerPoint slides, one of the RaspBerry Pi logo, and the next with some community made cases.

Next morning, bus to school. Grab out A4 pad and write down a brief script about the RaspBerry Pi, whilst trying to avoid anything that would confuse my class. My friend times me, 1:30. I wasn't sure if that would be long enough, the other presentations were more like 5mins. That said, they were groups of ~5, and I was on my own (my group kicked me out because I was ill In the presentation).

Get off bus, read script to my friends a couple of times, seems easy enough to remember. Go to registration. Go to first lesson, English. Go outside to rehearse before presenting, frequently forgetting what I am trying to say. Eventually I am called in, It's time to start.

I talk about the Pi, the low price point and it's functionality. Change the slide from the logo to the cases. Give out my Pi to be passed around. Talk about the cases. Talk about how the foundation is trying to re-invoke interest in computer science, about governments planning on their distribution to school children, and about the demand for Pi.

This whole time, I was frequently slipping up, forgetting lines, etc. Thing's weren't looking good, I was predicted A* and things were looking like a C.

But then the questions came. Many of the pupils, even those who had no interest in computers (including teachers) were firing away a broad range of questions about the computer. My teacher even asked a few. Everyone seemed impressed on the capabilities of the Pi, and my teacher even asked a few questions.

End result? I get 100%. 15/15. Full marks. A*. Despite what I thought were appalling planning and representational skills, I was saved by the rally of questions which came after. My enthusiasm and ability to answer these saved my grades. And I have the Pi to thank, first for giving me a topic I am comfortable talking about, and second, for gaining such an interest with the audience that those questions were asked.

And now it looks like I have opened the concept of the Pi to more school children, as you aim to. My only regret is not being able to show them a demo.
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by nick.mccloud » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:51 pm
Good for you - the best presentations are from the heart and not over rehearsed!
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by Reider » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:56 pm
Well done and I think deserved. Nice when life works out like this occasionally.

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by Mortimer » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:57 pm
Congratulations to you! I am not that keen on speaking to large groups of people, but I can't deny the satisfying feeling I get from doing a good one.
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by Jim Manley » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:54 pm
Congratulations! This just goes to show that, if you follow your passion, success is inevitable. Most people who graduate from college wind up in jobs where they sit in a cubicle all day long, doing work that has little or nothing to do with what they majored in for their degree, and wishing they had taken a chance long ago to follow the road not taken. You now have a small taste of what life down that road not taken can be like - do not forget it! It's the kind of inspiration that drove many successful people to great achievement despite naysayers and doubters, often requiring many years of hard work. Use The Force! Feel The Force! :D

That being said, you don't want to spend the rest of your life leaping off cliffs all of the time with a hastily-packed parachute. You want to maintain that passion over the long term, but, channel it toward some specific goals that are fairly simple to define in a handful of words ("Develop a credit card size Linux computer that will sell for $35." "A computer for the rest of us." "Put a personal computer on every desktop."). You always want to have a 30-second "elevator pitch" that you can recite without thinking about it because it will flow from your passion. You want to always be ready for when those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities arise when least expected.

You realized how you were forgetting key points you wanted to get across in your presentation, but, you saved the day in the give-and-take Q&A session. You want to excel at both parts of that experience, because if you flub the first part too often, you may never get to the Q&A part. Unless you're prevented otherwise, there is nothing wrong with having some notecards at hand with salient facts and figures, especially if the information is of a rapidly-changing nature. If you have them, you'll find that you often won't need them, but, if you don't have them, you'll wish you had prepared them. The preparation is the key, not what's on the cards - we remember a minority of what we read, but, a majority of what we write.

Politicians and newscasters use telepromters almost all of the time, but, the most successful don't just read from them, they riff on the words displayed. The papers you see on the desks of newscasters are thoroughly marked up by them within minutes of going on the air, even though the copy may have been printed out only minutes earlier than that. Sometimes, the copy on the teleprompter isn't quite up-to-date, and they need to be able to improvise - having those last-minute notes in hand gets them through it.

It was a very good idea to practice your presentation to friends - many people never do that and don't realize until it's too late that they're not getting their message across (and some never get the hint because they're so wrapped up in their own head/ego). Practice really does make perfect, and overnight successes are always the result of years of preparation. Passion is the dessert topping that brings it all together, so, always include that ingredient in your recipe - it's what separates the good from the great.

Carpe Diem! Sieze the Day! ;)
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
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by Lob0426 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:22 am
Good Job @Mushroom_Lord.
Good Post @ Jim Manley.

It is always easier to talk on a subject you love, but you should be just as ready to to do a presentation on Fire Safety if that is what is needed.
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