ScienceOnline2010 - interview with Jack, Staten Island Academy student

Continuing with the tradition from last two years, I will occasionally post interviews with some of the participants of the ScienceOnline2010 conference that was held in the Research Triangle Park, NC back in January. See all the interviews in this series here. You can check out previous years' interviews as well: 2008 and 2009.

Today, I asked Jack from Miss Baker's Biology class at Staten Island Academy, to answer a few questions. Jack wrote about his experience at ScienceOnline2010 here and wrote a blog post about video/computer games here.

Welcome to A Blog Around The Clock. Would you, please, tell my readers a little bit more about yourself? Where are you from?

i-795ab256a9a64c17b5d10aa4cf55f017-Jack pic.jpgI'm Jack, a freshman student who went to Science Online 2010. I am one of Miss Baker's students and I'm from NJ. I go to school at Staten Island Academy. I currently play the piano but I am planning to get a drum set to teach myself drums, too. I love making things whether it be some random contraption built out of paper or a game to be put online. I always liked making things since I built stuff with legos when I was in lower school.

What is taking up the most of your time and passion these days? What are your goals?

I enjoy using photoshop and flash together to make games. Recently, I decided to also write out my own music for the games. I am currently making a few games that have absorbed most of my free time. Between painstakingly creating graphics and filtering through code to thinking of music for the games, my free time is pretty much gone. As for my goals, I always wanted to design and create new devices or develop new software. I really want to go to M.I.T. for college, and I've been doing my best in and out of school to try and get there. On a completely different note, I also want to learn Japanese.

What particular use of the Web in science interests you the most?

I enjoy the amount of freedom that the web gives people, as anyone can access a world-wide database of knowledge for almost any subject. I currently surf the web to find aid in the programming world whenever I have trouble with a script. I also enjoy how the web can be used as a great device for gathering information and doing research. As I move along in developing my programming skills, it is great to talk with fellow programmers to brainstorm possible techniques of getting around difficulties like run time or complex functions.

How does (if it does) blogging figure in your work and school? How about social networks, e.g., Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook? Do you find all this online activity to be a net positive (or even a necessity) in what you do and want to accomplish?

Using Facebook has helped me immensely as it is quicker and more open than e-mailing, so if I or someone else needs a little help with something, they can simply put it up and one of their friends can help out. I also think it is a great way to spread cool articles and facts. Twitter on the other hand has been abused by hundreds of people. No, I really don't care that you are "enjoying your microwavable pizza" mrtwittrface. Because of all of the "eating this" or "listening to that" tweets on Twitter, I really can't get into it.

As Miss Baker, when teaching the Biology class, gives you a lot of creative freedom, how does that affect your own interest in the subject? Do you think you learn better this way? What would you suggest to do differently to make it even better? What are some of your own projects you did for the class?

Of course, I found it easier to learn by writing a blog post and commenting on others. Having the creative freedom allowed me to learn what I wanted to, while also allowing the output of the project to be read and understood by people who aren't just my classmates. Not only was I able to learn about how video games affect the brain, but I also got to make a game and work on my programming.

What was the best aspect of ScienceOnline2010 for you? Any suggestions for next year? Is there anything that happened at this Conference - a session, something someone said or did or wrote - that will change the way you think about science communication, or something that you will take with you to your job, blog-reading and blog-writing?

I loved the fact that people were able to come together for a few days to talk about how the internet is used in science. It was cool to be one of the 8 kids there looking at everything from a different view than most of the other people there. I can't believe that while I was presenting, Beth Beck (jokingly) asked, "Would you like a job at NASA?" but I was so focused on not messing up that the question just flew over my head. I didn't want to ruin my opportunity to present at a conference in front of scientists and journalists and everyone else who was there, too. Because of that moment, I'm now working harder than before on my "occupation" of making flash games, as I realized that I could make a positive impact with my programming knowledge, but I need to keep working on getting better first.

It was so nice to meet you in person and thank you for the interview. I hope to see you again next January.

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