Aidan Uses Tynker to Get a Head Start on his CS PhD!
Aidan is a 5th grader from Indian Land, South Carolina. He just turned 11 and has quite a few hobbies related to Computer Science, like building LEGO sets! He showed us a huge project he’s working on and said, “This one has 2793 pieces. I was building it all of yesterday, and I only got two-thirds of the way done. I was working all day, since I woke up!”
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to do something to do with computer science. Thanks to Tynker, I have a head start!
What’s your favorite subject in school? Math and science, but more math. It’s problem-solving, and it’s what I like! There’s an entire section on Tynker dedicated to math.
How did you get introduced to Tynker? Well, once upon a time I was coding on some other website, when Mommy told me about Tynker. Then we got on there, I got the app on my iPad, and ever since then I’ve been able to code on there! It’s really enjoyable. It’s the best coding website I’ve ever seen!
How long have you been using Tynker? I don’t know, maybe about a year. I don’t know really. I know I’ve been using it for a while.
What is your favorite thing you’ve made? I don’t know! There’s a lot of cool things I’ve made. I tried to recreate Space Invaders on Tynker. That was pretty funny.
What’s your favorite feature in Tynker? I really like that you can just use the blocks and drag them into a bunch of things, push a play button, and then they do what you code them to.
What’s the difference between coding a game and playing a game? Well when you’re playing it, you get to see what others have made, you can see things made by the community on Tynker. If you’re making a game, you’re making things that other people can see, which can also be enjoyable.
Do you think coding is a way to express creativity? It could be, because you could come up with creative ideas, and you could just code them, using your imagination. Your imagination’s the limit! I also like the blocks that exist in Tynker. Sometimes the blocks don’t do everything, but the sky’s the limit, you know.
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? If it’s a game I made, I usually give it a test before I publish it to the Tynker community because I want to try to work out all the kinks before people play it! Who wants to play a broken game, right?! So I try to fix anything I can. I do some debugging, testing, and obviously making!
How do you think learning to code now will help you in the future? Well, if I’m going to try to get a PhD in Computer Science so I can get some really good job that has to do with Computer Science, I have to know how to code! Coding is a big part of computers. Code is what’s allowing me to Skype you and you to Skype me, right now! I want to learn how to code for that!
Why do you like to code? It has a lot to do with math and computers and science. Those are all things I like, and they’re all part of coding! That’s a reason to like coding – it has to do with the things that I like, because I can make video games, too!
Do you think other kids should try coding? If they want to get a job in Computer Science and they want to be smart, coding’s a great way to do that. If you want to work with computers, you should code. So that’s the kind of person I’d recommend it to. Someone who likes to do stuff, and make things.
What advice would you give for kids starting out with Tynker? Well, some things are pretty self-explanatory, sometimes I ask that little Codey guy in the middle of nowhere, in La-La-Land. He tells you what they do. Sometimes I talk to him, you know, put a block in there and see what it does. If the blocks aren’t self explanatory, then it’s a good thing there’s the help guy! That’s another way you can learn. And – experiment, you know!
Aidan’s mom Jenny thinks it’s terrific that Aidan is learning to code, and shared some great insights about programming. She told us that “Aidan has used other coding programs and websites for children, and Tynker is by far his favorite. It has been a great resource for him! Coding is a great balance between fun and learning for him.”
She’s noticed his creativity sparked by using Tynker, and loves “watching him come up with his own ideas of things to code, then seeing his excitement when he has created something new.” Like many parents we’ve chatted with, she told us she “would much rather he spends his screen time on coding than simply playing video games or watching TV.”
“Coding promotes 21st century literacy skills,” Jenny told us when we asked about how programming will benefit Aidan in the future. “I think coding also promotes problem solving and critical thinking skills, and it helps children see that they need perseverance to work through challenges. Computer codes don’t always run perfectly the first time, and that’s okay.”
She’s noticed Aidan use logic to code, and perseverance to debug. “If Aidan gets stuck on a code, he has to have patience and work through his frustration until he figures out the solution to make his code work the way he wants it to. I think helping children see that ‘failure leads to success’ is an important life skill.”