Our 2020 Summer Code Jam has come to an end. We’re so impressed with the tens of thousands of submissions from throughout the summer and excited to talk to some of our winners about their awesome projects and experiences with Tynker!
Next up is 12-year-old Colleen from Malaysia! Colleen wants to be an artist and art teacher when she grows up. In fact, one of the things she likes best about Tynker is that it allows her to code and animate her own drawings and turn them into stories!
How did you get introduced to Tynker and how long have you been coding? My older brother started doing Tynker a few years ago and he found it really great, so my sister and I started to do it too and eventually my younger brother started doing it too! We all think it is really cool!
How did you learn how to use Tynker when you were first starting out? What are your favorite Tynker courses or tutorials? My older brother helped me pick what to do, so he brought me to this course, I think it’s called Magic Crystal. I like Minecraft too and modding Minecraft is really cool! So, I just thought that was really awesome and then after that I kind of moved on to finish a bunch of beginner courses! He showed me what good intermediate course I should try out and from there he just gave me a bunch of examples on what to do, and I followed them and it turned out really great!
How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker? Very much because the courses are really helpful and they’re very clear so you learn a lot of stuff, so that’s what I like about them! I think I’ve progressed a lot!
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? Really happy! I am really proud also because I was hoping to win in the game, I guess every kid who had this was excited they won! There are so many kids who submit that I was like one of 10 kids who won so that made me so happy!
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? What do you like about it? One of my favorite projects is the one that won and also, one of them is an arcade game but I didn’t submit it for this week’s. It’s a dragon time traveling project, so there’s a dragon and you can choose one of the dragons, and then you need to fight all these jets that come in and you have three lives. You need to get a high score!
How do you get inspiration for your projects? Most of the time I check out my siblings projects, then I play and watch them. Then, I made one project, it was an impossible quiz because my sister made an impossible quiz too, so I thought, ‘Hey I should do that too,’ so I did, and those I like a lot! It was really cool and then I made the one that won because COVID-19 is everywhere else, so I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if Codey cured COVID-19?
Why do you like to code? I like to code because I need to be creative to do it and so, all the code blocks, they do less stuff but with enough code blocks and with the right idea you can make a really, really awesome project, and when you see code a really awesome project, this makes you feel like, ‘wow, I’m glad I made it!’
What is your favorite way to use code? Do you have a favorite code block? I like the animate code block, that’s pretty cool! But with the characters you have all kinds of different actions, so it’s really cool. I also like to play sounds and with the right music you can set the right atmosphere and with the right atmosphere you can direct what’s happening now and you don’t need speech, if you have the great music. And you guys have great music!
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Do you debug it? Show it to someone? Publish it? Most of the time I just publish it because I’m quite happy with it, but sometimes I’ll ask my siblings to see if they have any feedback and see if we can make it even better!
Have you done a Tynker Code Jam before? Yes, me and my siblings did one last year!
Did you have any interesting challenges that you had to figure out – like how to move legs or add the right music? Oh yes, I wanted to do a repeat, but I forgot to put a wait block in there, so it didn’t work so I asked my older brother and he put it in the right spot and he said it’s right and then It worked
What are you planning to make next? I’ll probably make another arcade game like mega dragons because I really like that one! It was really fun, so I’ll probably make something like that, or I’ll do a follow-up thing with Codey!
How did you feel when it was over – how excited were you, did you share it with friends or family? I was really excited, also for my fellow Tynker Code Jammers! I checked out everyone else’s project and thought we all did a really great job!
What’s the best thing about Tynker? I think the best thing about Tynker is the courses like monsters and the crystal crash course, so that’s cool. My siblings and I code a lot with each other and it’s really cool! We are addicted to it!
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? I think it’s taught me how to use the stuff I know to make something cool and that you don’t need to know everything with the resources you have and with the intelligence you have, you can actually make something really cool so that you don’t need to try to know everything!
Do you think other kids should try coding? Why’s that? Yeah, because it’s really cool, it’s really fun and you learn a lot! And then again, there’s also those crystal clash and monster courses, so yeah, they should try because it’s really fun!
What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? I think it would be great if you had an older sibling or someone to help guide you through the first part. So, if you want to do physics or something, then go to the courses right there. So, I guess as a guide yet also check out other people’s projects and view the community section because when you see other people’s projects you get lots of inspiration and also you can learn from that code!
Do you have any questions for me or for Tynker? There’s going to be another summer code jam, right?
We also spoke with Colleen’s mom, Jolene, to get her take on Colleen learning to code and her Code Jam achievement! “I think it’s really awesome,” Jolene told us. “My husband and I really think this was such a great investment for our kids. I started with our oldest, who was super enthusiastic. I mean, all his siblings saw he liked it, so, I’m definitely excited to see the stuff that they can create out of code and it’s not something we learned in our time, so it’s just wonderful.”
Jolene says that Colleen’s learning a lot with Tynker, and not just about coding. “I think it teaches her how to be strategic because you have to plan way ahead what you want to do and what you want to achieve. And also to be more analytical about how she is going to use her code, she can put maybe 20 code blocks to build something or you can use the most efficient code blocks to get at that, and to really think about the steps.” Jolene also noted that Colleen’s always been an expressive kid, with a love for drawing and writing and thinks Tynker goes hand-in-hand with that. “This is an additional tool in her backpack that she can use to express herrself, tell her story and all that so it’s wonderful!”
With everything that has gone on this year, Jolene thinks learning with computers is only going to become more important. “Seeing how everything changed over this year and everyone is online, it’s just brought everything forward,” Jolene said. “Digital is so in-your-face and in your lives every day. It took me a long time to research and choose Tynker because I felt it was safe, and that you really took the time to see how you can protect these kids by keeping their identity safe.”
We want to thank Jolene and Colleen for taking the time to talk to us. Happy Coding!