Featured Maker Madeline: Code-a-Thon Winner and Future Software Developer!
We had the chance to speak with Madeline, one of the winners of the Wild Minecraft Code-a-Thon! Madeline is in 5th grade and is enjoying her English and history subjects, but her favorite subject is science, because she likes learning about animals. Her favorite animals are sharks, dolphins, and cheetahs. She’s homeschooled, which means that she has time to focus on subjects she loves, like coding! She’s always liked Minecraft, so when the Code-a-Thon came around, she was excited to participate. Some of her hobbies include coding and playing with her little brother! Read on to learn more about Madeline, a Code-a-Thon winner!
How did you find out about Tynker? One day when I was on my Kano, I had done pretty much all of the coding activities. So I went ahead and searched coding and I found Tynker. And it said ‘child safe,’ so I just went ahead and got my own account. And I’ve loved the Minecraft Code-a-Thon ever since!
How did you get started with Tynker? The Minecraft one. I remember that, because I didn’t have a Minecraft thing, that my friend Jacob I showed him Tynker, and he said he really liked it.
Have your coding skills improved with Tynker? Yes, I think they have.
Tell us about your winning Code-a-Thon project! It was ‘Gone Fishing.’ Because I loved the Code-a-Thon, I wanted to do all of the projects and see what happened. And I always liked playing with the coding. Most of the fishing things that I do with code, I call it ‘Gone Fishing.’ I liked that it was a little polar bear trying to get his food.
What other Code-a-Thon projects are you proud of? I am proud of the Minecraft animals I made. I had made each animal for each of the habitats. I remember putting a bit of purple onto this, a bit of pink onto that, a bit of gold. And it was a really fun experience.
What are you going to make next? I think next I’ll do the ‘My Summer’ project because I had a bit of a new experience in the summer. I’m mostly going to make up some stuff here and there!
What’s your favorite thing about Tynker? To help kids try to get into it, they put in fun things like Barbie and Minecraft and stuff that kids like. I think that Tynker is very open and I think that it’s helped me continue coding.
How is learning how to code preparing you for the future? Since my dream job is to be a software programmer like my mom, I think it is preparing me to get into a software company.
Do you think other kids should try coding? Definitely!
What advice do you have for kids starting out with Tynker? My advice is try not to go too fast. If you need the time, you don’t have to just rush and get through it. Slow down.
What is a fun fact about you? I read a million words in third grade and I was second-grade age. I think I read maybe a hundred books. I also read some Shakespeare books. I like all of them. I also like how they put in fun facts about it in the end. They’re small and for kids, and they have little pictures. Macbeth is my favorite.
We also spoke with Madeline’s mom, Heather, to learn more about Madeline’s love of coding! “We like homeschooling because we can tailor it to what our interests are, to what her interests are,” Heather told us. “Coding tends to be a really big part of her day. She’s not doing it because it’s assigned; she ends up filling most of her free time with anything she can code.”
Heather, who is a web developer, also feels that learning to code is preparing Madeline for career options: “I’ve done a lot of studying myself; I didn’t go to school for coding or development. I just ended up there. But to have that knowledge at such an early age, I think it makes them more adaptable to changes that they’re not going to see coming before they get into the workforce.” Kid-friendly platforms are important to Heather, which is why Tynker has been a great learn-to-code tool: “Having platforms like Tynker where it’s a safe place for children to be is very important as a parent.”
Learning to code has helped Madeline develop skills like patience: “She likes to dive in and go all the way. I think it’s taught her that she makes mistakes, but she can go back and review them. It’s helped her to be more patient and gentle with herself in that learning process.”
Heather also appreciates the benefits of the Tynker community, like the blog and updates about what Madeline is doing with Tynker: “I like how there are updates regularly, on the blog. It’s nice to get emails about what she’s doing or to log in and see what she’s doing, and I think that it’s a good opportunity and resource that I haven’t seen in any other platform we’ve looked at. Other websites, I might see her projects, but it’s not as transparent to me, as a parent, to be able to go in and look at all the projects she’s worked on, and see oh, here she is. I think it’s a good tool to have.”
We’re so glad we got to speak with Madeline and Heather, and congratulations to Madeline for being a Wild Minecraft Code-a-Thon winner! We can’t wait to see what Madeline creates next!