Category Archives: Education

Don’t just scratch the surface

We tend to get in a comfort zone after stretching the surface, i.e. barely learning about anything.

The little confidence that comes from scratching the surface is good but we don’t need to just settle there; we need to keep scratching below the surface.

I have interviewed and worked-with many people over the years; people who have had different educational degrees (bachelor of technology, bachelor of science, master of computer application, etc.).

I realised few knew in depth about any topic; and most only touched the surfaced. I intentionally didn’t use the word scratching because I found they didn’t even do that.

Simon Sinek correctly says that this is the age where we lack patience, and want instant gratification for many reasons.

Isn’t it easier to google a problem and get results with quick solutions, e.g. one from Stack Exchange family sites (StackOverflow)?

That’s useful but not always. If we want to build our career in anything we need to work harder than that.

Most people end up copying code from those green ticked answers. AFAIK, the green tick means the answer is accepted by the person who asked the question?

That means, the answer might not objectively be acceptable in all situations or by everyone?

If one spends some time critically reading & thinking entire thread, some learning (applicable in similar future situations) can be expected to happen.

I believe, StackOverflow and similar sites are very useful provided it’s used to enhance learning process, and weigh different options/opinions about a problem.

It takes years to get good at something. There would be some technologies that might not last for years, but there would be many (specially web standards or other standards) that would be there in better forms in years to come.

We can only create or contribute anything useful if we keep learning in systematic manner.

Once we get used to it (systematic manner: discipline, focus, getting below the surface), a momentum is built and it only requires little force to learn new versions of standards/tools/language, and apply effectively.

It’s important that beginners spend time learning various jargons, concepts, and fundamentals; and keep reading and practicing everyday (follow a book or a good course – and complete it); take every opportunity to get deeper at the subject in the hand.

Our career is not limited to work hours, hence our learning should keep happening all the time we can manage beyond work hours. I am sure we all can manage enough to shine.

We can’t expect to use time at work to learn basics or read books or practice; a good professional won’t do that.

A good professional practices and tries to be ready to perform whenever required. Like many other, our field of work requires professionalism and craftsmanship.

Let’s say, you are requested to work on an existing project that is being done in JavaScript for frontend (using some framework) and backend (most of stuff – API, workers, etc.).

Assuming you never worked on JavaScript, how would you start contributing to the project as soon as possible?

The answer deserves a long post I will write soon. Meanwhile why don’t you share your experience or opinions?


This post was written using WordPress mobile client. Please let me know if you find any typos.

ICT Simulation App

During my time (2003-2004) at Tata Interactive, I built ICT design and cost simulation tool (in Adobe Flash) for BECTA.

Though the original website has been decommissioned, however, I found the app (SWF) on web.archive.org.

I converted this Flash app (SWF) to HTML5 using Google’s Swiffy, and the output looks good (except the file size is large due to embedded images).

The original app can be seen below (requires Adobe Flash Player):

Get Adobe Flash Player.!– [if !IE]>–>

MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses

MOOC is known to everyone these days. I am enrolled in some of the courses on Coursera, Edx, Udacity, Stanford, and others most of the time. I sometimes look at Khan Academy’s lessons/courses as well. We are living in a time which has made learning things so much easier compared to what we have a decade back or earlier.

Anyway this post of mine is not about reiterating facts and benefits of MOOCs. I rather want to talk about an idea which I found in my notes written many years back.

Yesterday, I found an old note (written during Feb/Mar 2006) on my Yahoo! Notepad. I think, I wanted to present this idea in an upcoming BarCamp Bangalore. I couldn’t give my talk because I fell sick on the day BarCamp happened.

Following is what I found:

While I was sleeping, I dreamt about my school days and I woke up suddenly in the middle of night. I started thinking, how cool those days were.

Since I was also thinking about some idea for BarCamp before sleeping, something struck my mind…
How podcasting/videocasting can be used in education (school, colleges, training institutes etc) combined with the philosophy of open-source, knowledge-sharing.

For example, in a school a teacher is teaching Maths/Physics…if the entire session is recorded (audio/video) and uploaded to some site (like Yahoo! Podcasts, Odeo, YouTube etc)…Not only students from the same class, who were present or absent but also students from other schools, students from remote villages/small-towns with decent internet connectivity can benefit…

This requires, schools to be more open and willing to share the knowledge and adopt the technology in this fashion. Technically, it is quite feasible, my prototype requires following:-

* Broadband connection
* Account on YouTube!, Y! Podcast or on Odeo account
* An high-res webcam and a microphone..
* A web application written in Macromedia Flash/Flash Media server to do the entire recording, locally…

What I expect that someone comes with a Web 2.0 app like Odeo, where you can do publishing with their API in real-time as well as should be able to upload pre-recorded content. At present, Odeo, Y! Podcast etc lack publishing API…which is I think is important…

I like the idea of Odeo channels, if it’s little more improved it can be like a TV channel…

I think, such things have great importance and we should really start thinking that how can we improve society, education and system with the best use of technology….