Tech Spikes

Every week, you will have some time set aside on monday evening to research a set of topics in groups, and make a presentation for tuesday morning. Time spent researching might seem like it should be the priority, but if the presentation of your material is half-baked then it’ll difficult for the rest of the cohort to follow! In this context, your research is only as good as your presentation. :sun_with_face: You will have 8 minutes to present and 4 for fielding questions.

How to do good research

Work collaboratively

  • Like projects, the aim of research is that everyone on the team (and in the cohort!) should have an understanding of the content.
  • Pairing up, tackling multiple points together, discussing and sharing the load will help to prevent siloing.

People learn in different ways

  • Mix up the media according to your learning style. Watching videos, reading diagrams and even listening to short podcasts might well be a better alternative to reading text .

Avoid copy and pasting

  • Try to understand a concept and convey it in your own words to your teammates.
  • If it’s a code snippet, make sure you type it out yourself!

Take your time

  • Try not to rush into creating your presentation.
  • Make sure everyone has taken the time they need to absorb and understand the topic you’ll be talking about.

What makes a good research presentation

First of all, it’s completely normal to find public speaking and giving presentations daunting. Take time to calm any nerves you might have, and be assured that as the course goes on you’ll find it easier and easier to talk in front of the cohort. See it as an opportunity to practise - and before you know it, giving presentations will be second nature.

Plan, plan, plan

  • Think about how much time you want to devote to each point.
  • Deciding on who will speak when might well help to give everyone an equal opportunity to talk.

Use slides

  • It’s more engaging than scrolling through a markdown file.
  • It also provides natural breaks between your points.
  • Try HackMD’s slide mode, or Google slides.

Introduce one concept per slide

  • A wall of text can be disengaging for the audience.
  • Keep your characer count per slide to 100 characters (at most)
  • Try to treat your slides’ text as prompts. It’ll stop you from just reading off the board!

Code snippets

  • Where appropriate, alternate the introduction of a concept with its implementation in a code snippet
  • We recommend using these wherever possible - it can often be difficult to grasp a concept without seeing an example in code.
  • Walk through code line by line, and slowly!

Make it interactive

  • Ask your audience questions and keep them on their toes.
  • You could even introduce a quiz element to your presentation. Check out Kahoot!

Prepare for silence

  • You might be met with a wall of silence in your Q&A.
  • Prepare a few questions or topics of discussion to get the audience going.

… and use gifs

  • Jazz it up with emojis, images and gifs!

Once you’re finished

  • Make you sure you upload your material to the appropriate week folder, in the research repo in your cohort’s organisation!

:crown: Research presentation Hall of Fame

FAC19: Debugging network requests

Why it’s so good:

  • Code examples
  • Short bullet points
  • Audience interaction
  • Useful links and resources
  • GIFs everywhere