Welcome to the official Mechasparrow site. Here you can check out projects and games being built by the mechanical bird.




What was it

On Oct 12–14, the organization called GlobalHack hosted their 7th official hackathon at the Chaifetz Arena. A hackathon is an event where several individuals come to together to “hack” on a problem. In this case, the problem that was being hacked on was immigration. The main goal of the hackathon was to help shape the experiences of foreign-born individuals in the areas of Employment, Capturing Experiences, Resources, and Community. The event lasted three days. The first day was for team formation. The second was just for development. The third was just for presentation. The solutions were judged on their execution, design, originality, and impact. Our team built a project called Immigrant Connect. It was a simple social networking for immigrants to form local communities and view local job postings.

Why did I go?

I went because I enjoy building projects with other students and wanted to further develop my project management skills in a high-stress environment. I also attended GlobalHack VI two years ago and wanted to see how much my skills have developed since the last competition I attended. There were also many companies sponsoring the event and I made an effort to network with them. Normally, I tend to develop the project and let others present, but this time, I wanted to take a larger role in the presentation of the project. Overall, I just wanted to have a fun weekend and try to build something I could put on my resume with the collaboration of several Spark students.

How was it useful

This competition was useful in several ways. I learned how to better manage a team to develop and present a project. I gained valuable presentation experience as our team had to present to several individuals and judges. In terms of presenting a app or website to someone. The design of the application can sometimes leave a strong negative or positive impression on the prospective consumer/customer. I also learned that when it comes to participating in a competition there is no real loser. There is winning experience and then there is winning money. Either way, it is a win-win. Hopefully, as I encounter more situations with a team dynamic or a large scale application I can apply the experience gained from this excursion.

– Michael Navazhylau

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Now About Fear

There is so much to be fear to be had in the world. There is no guarantee of what will happen in the future. The only thing that is constant is the impermanent present. From one moment to the next, something changes. Even if it is not noticeable at first.

This directly leads to fear. Fear stems from uncertainty and irreversible negatives. Ex.

What if I fail that exam? I’ll be ruined
If I fall, I’ll die
I’m probably going to fail the exam anyway. Should I even study?

Obviously, some of these fears may not be realistic. Other times, these fears are well grounded. Having a fear of falling can probably prevent you from a premature death depending on the circumstances.

Other times, this fear can be paralyzing and detrimental. Like the fear of a certain event occurring. The more we fear this event occurring, we paradoxically increase the potential of the event occurring.

The best antidote to fear is reason. By using reason through methods of self-conditioning and analysis, we can eventually come to the conclusion as to whether or fear is baseless or not. That it is not the end of the world if we properly handle the circumstances and how we process it.

When I mean by self-conditioning is by voluntarily exposing yourself to ever increasing versions of you fear. By doing so, you can slowly chip away any logical fallacies that your fear is built upon.

A bit more of a philosophical post.

– Michael Navazhylau

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What I’ve Learned So Far from Teaching Kids Coding.

Hello again. A couple weeks back, I got hired at this wonderful place called the TheCoderSchool. It’s this place where kids from all ages can learn how to code.

We usually teach younger kids Scratch and then move on to more advanced programming languages like JavaScript, Python, etc.

So here are some of the key things I’ve picked up so far from teaching.

Get to Know your Student

When it comes to teaching one on one, it is important to establish trust with the student. If you try teaching the kid something without knowing anything about them, it will be hard to teach the material in a way that the student finds useful.

For example, if a student likes video games, you would teach the material in relation to video games. Expanding on this example, you could have creating a video game as a project that ties in the knowledge being obtained in the lessons.

Be Patient.

Every person learns differently and at different rates. For some people, they can pick up concepts within the first hour of learning it. For others, it may take several iterations of practice before it finally clicks into place.

Age also plays a key factor. Younger kids often have a shorter attention span, so they require more patience to deal with.

Be Kind and Break the Ice

When you receive a new student, they don’t really know what to expect. Initially, your just a stranger to them.

Try to make small jokes and don’t be afraid to laugh at your mistakes. They will surely laugh along too.

Also just remember to be kind. Have it so you teaching them is something they look forward to. Not something that is just part of the routine.

Well, those are some of the things I’ve learned so far. I’ll update more often as interesting things come up.

I’ll also be heading to GlobalHack next weekend, so look forward to seeing a blog about that.

– Michael Navazhylau

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