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How to Learn, Make, and Grow: Reflections on 5 Years of Teaching Technical Courses

Slides and resources

For five years, I taught a variety of technical courses (web design and development, video production, motion graphics, and professional practices) at a local community college and witnessed a lot of helpful and destructive learning habits.

In this session, I will share positive insights on how students and seasoned professionals can have a deeper connection to what they are learning, make with increased frequency, and grow into the type of creative professional they desire to be.

Whether you find yourself in college right now, want to learn something new, or feel stuck in your current skill levels, this session will move you forward.

Session takeaways: 

1. The students who built a learning community of peers where they could ask for help, inspire each other with what they were doing, and give and take accountability improved faster and created better work over time.

2. You can learn anything on YouTube and Stack Overflow, which is awesome. But the students who learned to quickly ask questions of me as well as other students, wasted less time trying to find “the right” tutorial and more time developing problem-solving and decision-making skills.

3. If you are the smartest person in the room (yes, I had people smarter than me), this is your opportunity to help others by learning how to break down your knowledge to be accessible to a variety of skill levels.

4. Life happens. How you respond in the trying moments speaks a volume of truth to both peers and instructors.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin is a filmmaker, podcaster, and educator. He has been creating websites since 1996, though technically FrontPage was doing all the work back then (it was a different time), and enjoys both the design and the development worlds. He loves teaching people new things, often with humor (sorry, I'm not that funny) and obscure cultural references (Brazil and The Darkness), and believes that the web is an amazing medium to work in today.

Chris has fond memories of the following "dead" technologies: VRML, ActionScript, 5.25" floppy disks, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, and heavy metal.