Don’t learn the book, just do

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[Photo by VJL]

Mindy McAdams tells the tale of a student who recently came in wanting to become an independent video journalist. The problem: She doesn’t know a lick of HTML.

See her advice to the student.

Some like to take the tack of sitting down with a book and going chapter-by-chapter. Well, feguddaboutit. If you want to learn HTML/CSS, Flash, databases or any other technology, you have to set a project goal for yourself:

-I want to shoot a video about a local character and upload it to a blog.

-I want to start a blog about college baseball.

-I want to make a Google Maps mashup of local Indian restaurants by hand.

-I want to display the results of a database of politicians on the Web.

-I want to make a Soundslide about the local dog park.

Take that goal, and then use that book selectively to find the skills you need to accomplish what you want to do. If not, it’s like trying to memorize the user manual of a video camera instead of just running around filming interesting stuff.

If you try to swallow that whole book in one shot, there’s a good chance you’ll kill your enthusiasm and never learn.

About Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez is the Audience Development Manager at Tribune's Sun-Sentinel.com and OrlandoSentinel.com. Danny has been with Tribune since 2005 in a variety of editorial, digital and product development roles in Hartford, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. He has also previously worked in the newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times and The Miami Herald.
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