Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Austen’s Architectural Designs Help Build Her Code!
Our 2020 Summer Code Jam is almost over, and we’re so excited to talk to some of our winners about their awesome projects and experiences with Tynker!
Austen is a Summer 2020 Week 2 Code Jam Winner! She loves to design things and build them, gathering a lot of her inspiration from her dog! Austen is from California and has aspirations of becoming an architect as well as an interior designer.
Austen is eleven years old and is super independent. She also loves to read and really wants to win this competition!
How did you get introduced to Tynker and how long have you been coding? I found it through Minecraft! I’ve done Tynker for a few months!
How did you learn to use Tynker when you were first starting out? I’ve done sites like it before, so I kind of understood it already!
How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker? A lot, especially because of the video tutorials you show for the Code Jam projects!
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I was very excited! I told my brother!
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far and what do you like about it? Probably the ghost story!
Where did you get the idea for your favorite project and how long did it take you to make? I’ve read lots of books about people being ghosted, and then it took me about four days because I liked it, an hour each day!
How do you get inspiration for your projects? From my imagination, whatever I can think of!
Why do you like to code? I love to build things and I want to win the competition!
What is your favorite way to use code? Do you have a favorite code block? Probably the sound button!
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Do you debug it? Show it to someone? Publish it? I publish it and then I’ll show it to people!
What are you planning to make next? Next week’s code jam project!
What’s the best thing about Tynker? That other users can see all my projects!
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? Well, it’s kind of like designing a story!
Do you think other kids should try coding? Yes, because it’s fun!
What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? If you see a block and it doesn’t make sense, just try to use it to see what it does!
Have you done a Tynker Code Jam before? No, never!
How long did it take you to complete the project? About 4 hours! An hour each day for 4 days.
Did you have any interesting challenges that you had to figure out – like how to move legs or add the right music? Sometimes it was hard to move the characters, like get the right speed!
How did you feel when your parents told them that you won? I was so excited!
Are you going to do other Tynker Code Jam Challenges/weeks? Yes!
Do you like to code and will you keep learning more about coding? Maybe, yeah!
Austen’s mom, Kate, joined to speak about how she feels about Austen learning to code and all the benefits that she observes Austen will gather from learning how to code. “The fact that the Tynker is always available, she can do it anytime a day, it’s not like a set schedule, so it is really good,” Kate said, “She can get as involved or as little involved as she feels like for a given challenge. So, it’s been so nice to have and I really love the competition, because both of my kids were a little reluctant to do something educational, but the fact that there was some money involved really encouraged them to do it. It’s been great!”
With Austen being so independent, Kate has more of a hands-off approach when supporting her, but loves to be involved. “All I really do is ask her if she’s seen the latest challenge and if she’s been doing it, and I’d love to see what she’s created, but she does all the work herself! She loves to make things,” Kate said, “So this is just another aspect of letting her learn how the different components go together to make a final product.”
Kate is very aware of the benefits that coding has for Austen, saying: “I think coding is really good for helping kids see the stages of a process, you have to put everything in order or you can change that order but every little building block builds up to a final product.” She adds that as kids get older, they realize that there are steps to finishing something, and that’s what Tynker helps with.
As far as the future, Kate is confident that it will help Austen. “I know that she will have other opportunities to learn these things in school, but I think the fact that it’s so open ended in Tynker, you give a challenge, but she could use any tool she wants to she could use any graphics or sound or whatever it may be,” Kate said, “So I love that it’s so much more open than a typical school assignment might be and I think that really allows their creativity to flourish!”
We want to thank Austen and Kate for taking the time to speak with us about their experience with Tynker! We wish them luck in the competition and look forward to more projects from Austen! Happy coding!