Uh. So, I won an iPad Air today. Totally wasn’t expecting that.
Since I’ve been dropping cryptic tweets all day, I figured I better come clean and explain what happened.
A little while back, ECU (The university for which I am currently working.) started to implement a service called PebblePad for use by all of the course schools. PebblePad is a web system that allows users to quickly build professional grade online portfolio websites, that can then be used to present to potential emplyers once they have graduated.
As part of an initiative to promote PebblePad around the university, the PebblePad co-ordinators decided to hold a competition where people could submit their own portfolios in PebblePad, showing off their own skillset and learning evidence, with the prize being an iPad Air. There were 5 categories, ranging from first-year students through to academic staff, each with an iPad up for grabs.
The competition featured two components: produce a portfolio of sufficient quality to get short-listed, and then those short-listed would present their portfolio to a panel of judges at this year’s ECULTURE conference.
Sounding very intrigued (Especially at the premise of a new iPad!), I asked the lead co-ordinator if it was feasible for myself to enter, and thankfully, she said I would be perfect for the ECU graduates category.
So with that all squared away, I built a portfolio in PebblePad and submitted it to the competition. It took a few days of reading PebblePad documents and watching YouTube tutorial videos, and a few extra days to actually design and implement the portfolio, but in the end, I was able to produce this:
I was actually quite amazed at PebblePad’s capabilities. The editor had a BIT of a WordPress vibe to it, but it was even more simplified to the point where there was not even a hint of doing any HTML writing in there. I thought this was an excellent thing for users looking to quickly build a portfolio without needing to know any web editing.
When the short-listing of the entries happened, I became very nervous as I had NO idea of the quality of the other submissions that had been submitted and was expecting to not make the cut right there. But then, I was thrilled to hear I made it through, along with 2 other entries.
When we would be presenting our portfolios to the judges, we were told we only had 5 minutes to show our portfolios, make a case on how the content linked back to our learning in our degress, as well as promote PebblePad’s capabilities as a useful educational tool. FIVE MINUTES.
Suffice it to say, I practised like mad. With a stopwatch. I practised over and over until I was capable of reciting my main points in under 5 minutes in my sleep.
When today came. I was beyond nervous. I’ve been nervous plenty of times before, but I’m pretty sure this was the most nervous I’d ever been.
My category was right in the middle of the line-up, so I was able to scope out the other category entrants beforehand to see what I was potentially up against. Quite frankly, I got even more nervous after seeing the other entrants’ portfolios as a lot of them were REALLY good. There were even a few web designers who had rolled a lot of custom artwork and everything for their portfolios.
In any case, when my turn came, I gave it all I had. I was able to stick to my major points, and also crack off a few jokes in there. All of that practice and rehearsal really paid off though, as I was able to fit all in under five minutes. I wasn’t sure how well I articulated (And later a few people did tell me I talked WAY too fast ^_^;) or had I gotten messed up the message I was trying to convey, so I was convinced I’d blown it.
But then, at the announcement of the prizes, the judges announced that I’d won for my category. Holy. Crap.
I am absolutely over the moon about this. I am honoured and humbled that the judges liked my presentation, and extremely appreciative of the prize that I have received.
I’m also very proud of myself for actually pulling this off. There were many times when I was considering just giving up, but I’m very glad that in the end, I stuck to my guns, and managed to bring it all the way home
(If anyone else is considering anything similar, let this be a lesson for you. )
In any case, I have big plans for this iPad Air. With its 64-bit architecture and M7 co-processor, there’s plenty of new development techniques and APIs I can test out with it, and I’m very much looking to integrate it into my iComics development workflow.
It’s been a very long day today, but I couldn’t be more happy with the outcome. I’m going to crack open a beer to celebrate. Cheers.