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Our Christmas Gift to JD, 2019

Hi JD –

To get you started we’ve got an overview video. Here goes…

First tip.

Learn to type, fast and correctly. So many other things on the PC will be easier when you know how to type well. Here’s the site I would recommend for you.

Typing Club

Why don’t you try doing a couple lessons each day? They are short. I suspect you could easily do a couple every day. Let me know how you are progressing!

Second tip.

This one has nothing to do with the computer but will, like learning to type, help you in so many ways. Practice becoming a better public speaker. You know, when I’m hiring people for work, I care about their computer skills but more importantly I care about how well they can communicate ideas and get across their points. That’s public speaking! People will believe you more when you share your ideas confidently. The best tip, practice public speaking! Here’s a way you can do that right in your own home (with nobody around).

Take your latest science fair project and practice talking to a judge about it. Record yourself and then play it back. What could you change or do better? Try it again. Speak as if the judge was right beside you. What is the #1 key point you want to get across? Did you get that point across? Try again!

You can use this tool to Record your Video and then watch it back again. Try, try, and try again. How are you progressing? Want to share any of the videos with me?

Third tip.

Learn keyboard shortcuts. What is a shortcut? It is specific key combination that performs an action. Such as Ctrl-C will copy text. That’s faster then selecting text with the mouse then clicking the copy button. I suspect you already know several keyboard shortcuts. Learn more! See how much you can do without touching the mouse! Almost everything on the computer can be done with a shortcut key. Learning these will make your computer tasks faster and easier – and you’ll look like a genius when others watch you on the PC.

Start here to learn keyboard shortcuts.

Let’s take a short break.

Every once in a while I meet a person or hear them speak and just LOVE their message. This is one example – Celeste Headlee. Ever heard of her? Me neither until I met her. She is a journalist and did a TED Talk on how to have great conversations. She gives a few tips in this video and it is VERY much worth your while to watch. Try some of the tips! See how it goes when you and your friends get together and chat.

Fourth tip.

“Coding” isn’t just for geeks. You can automate things… build things… animate things… and do so much with a little coding. Don’t try to “learn a language” (example: I want to learn Java, or I want to learn Javascript) – but do learn the basics of how coding works.

Start here with this example to Animate the Yeti. It is simple with some simple building blocks. But you’ll get the idea of how to code.

Want something more advanced? Here is a great tool that gives you more options and lets you be more creative.

Next, think about a simple problem that you think the computer could make easier. Like helping you to remember something at a certain time? Maybe you want the computer to help you create a song? Maybe you want the computer to perform a task at a certain time. You need to have a REASON to code something else coding is, well, for geeks with lots of time on their hands!

So now that you have a thought, do research. Start by asking google for suggestions because maybe somebody else has done it already.

Fifth tip.

I’ve run out of ideas! No, but I have run out of time. There will be more to come. I promise.

For now, Merry Christmas!