Between Tynker and Python, Scout is a Self-Taught Master!
The world needs more strong girls in STEM, and fourteen-year-old Scout is certainly one of them! Her projects and enthusiasm continually impress us. Scout attends 8th grade in Australia, and she enjoys playing soccer and coding at home. We learned a lot when we chatted with her – Scout is involved in coding for girls in her local community, has taught herself Python, and really understands the importance of learning coding.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I think I want to be a computer programmer of some sort! I definitely want to do [coding] next year in IST at my school – it’s where you program and learn the different languages, and it has a bit of robotics as well.
What’s your favorite subject in school? I think my favorite subjects would be English and DNT, which is design and technology.
How did you get introduced to Tynker? My maths teacher found the app, so he introduced it to the class. We just did a little task on it drawing some shapes, but then I went home and tried to make something else! Before Tynker I liked using Python, but now I like all the features that are really easy to select in Tynker.
How did you learn how to use Tynker? With some things it was quite easy to learn how to use it, but with other things like functions, I had to look online because I didn’t really understand until I did some Googling. I go to a girl’s coding club where these leaders teach you how to code, and I think that really helped because it’s quite similar to the language in Tynker, and it helped me understand all the functions. I think that made it a lot easier, so I had an idea of how to code when I started using Tynker.
What is your favorite thing you’ve made? I haven’t really made much because I just started on it, so my favorite thing at the moment would probably be the Spaceman game. I’ve been using Tynker for about two weeks.
Do you ever Tynker with your friends? Yeah, I have a friend at school who does some stuff on Tynker. She’s been on it as long as I have, because we all got introduced to it at school. We worked on this little project on her Tynker account – we were trying to work out how to use some of the basic functions, so we were trying to make one where it gets your name and makes different acronyms out of it.
Do you look at the Tynker community projects? Yes, a lot. I like searching through them and seeing what other people have done. A lot of the featured ones that are tutorials are really useful.
What’s your favorite feature in Tynker? I really like how you don’t have to type everything out because I find a lot of times with Python the reason something doesn’t work is that I just forget an extra dash, whereas on Tynker you can just drag the blocks around and it works – no spelling errors or silly mistakes. It’s really clear and easy to get! It makes it a lot easier to experiment and make bigger projects. I find it so amazing that there are just so many people who use it, like you look at some of the projects and they’ve got hundreds of thousands of views – so many people are on this app!
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Usually, I’ll show my mom and then if I’ve put a lot of work into it, I’ll show my maths teacher as well, and he can help me fix it!
What are you planning to make next? I’ve been working on a game – I’m going to try to make Whack-A-Mole just to see if it would work!
How do you think learning coding now will help you in the future? I think basically every job in the future is going to have to require some part of coding! If you don’t know how to do it by then you won’t be as able to do some things, because the future will be so computer oriented.
Why do you like to code? I really like experimenting to see what you can do! I like how when you look at the Tynker community there are so many projects that are all so different, but they’re all made with the same software. You look at the code and there’s just so many opportunities for what you can make – it’s proof that everyone can come up with a different thing. From the same building blocks, you can make all the ideas that you have.
Do you think other kids should try coding? I definitely think that lots of people should try to get involved – it’s so important! At my school, there’s not much coding, so people should try to take advantage of all the opportunities that are given.
What advice would you give for kids starting out with Tynker? They should use the little man in the corner they can drag the blocks over to! He was quite useful, especially with the function blocks and function commands because I had never seen them before. I’d also say that you can always look to the community for inspiration.
Scout’s mother Alex is proud of Scout and excited she’s learning, telling us, “she’s really initiated all this interest in coding herself! She’s very much a self-starter and a self-motivated person. If she’s interested in something, she’ll find out about it and do it.” We were impressed to hear that Scout had dabbled in Python before trying Tynker – Alex said Scout was able to master it after spending just an hour a day learning!
Alex touched on the importance of tenacity and perseverance, noting that Scout is “a really good problem solver and doesn’t get thrown or put off by setbacks or challenges. When I would perhaps give up or other people might think it’s too hard, she has perseverance and sticks with all the problems and likes to get the better of them.” She went on to say, “I think that’s a good life skill – tenacity and perseverance – figuring out ‘What have I done wrong here? Did I type something wrong? Is it just not working for some other reason?’”
For Alex, coding and confidence go hand in hand. “Setting yourself little challenges is very good for kids and gives them the confidence to try things. When they’re really fun, kid-friendly applications like Tynker, it makes it all the more beneficial and fun for them. It gives them challenges that aren’t too daunting, and they feel confident that they can attempt these things.“ We agree – framing coding in a way that is entertaining and accessible for kids helps them tap into stores of confidence they might not otherwise unearth.
We loved Alex’s observation about the need for learning programming. She said, “The world changes so fast, and kids have to learn to invent and try and teach themselves things because we’re all in the process of lifelong learning.”
It’s about more than just the code than the career prospects provided by coding skills – with Tynker, coding is about confidence, building the lifelong learning Alex mentioned, and preparing to understand the future we’re headed for. Thanks for speaking with us, Alex and Scout! We’re excited to see what you make next and where your amazing coding skills take you.