Zac Has Been Earning Daily Tynker Time For Three Years!
When we chatted with twelve-year-old Zac, his mom, Heather, recounted an experience she had at the beginning of Zac’s coding career. “I emailed his technology teacher from elementary school and let him know that one of his projects was being featured, and she replied, ‘I knew from the first time he sat down in front of that computer to do Tynker he was going to love it.'”
Love it he did! In fact, Heather told us, “Our deal is, because he likes it so much, we tell him, ‘If you get yourself ready for the day, if your lunch is made, if your bed is made, you’re dressed, ready for school, dishes are put away, you can have 20 minutes of Tynker before you get on the bus.’”
Zac’s father, Zac Sr., added, “He does that every day before school, so he gets at least 20 minutes every morning. I don’t think he’s missed a day in the last few years.”
“I just really like coding,” Zac said, confirming what his parents said. “I find a way to do it no matter what, and I really enjoy it. Someday, I’m going to make my own games!”
Zac, who attends 7th grade in a small town in Oregon, also likes to make music, draw, and cook! In his words, “I just like to cook meals for my family – whatever they want I try to make.” (Fun fact: we heard that his specialties are sweet potatoes and steak!) Zac also loves music – he’s been playing the trombone for 5 months and has already started to combine it with his piano skills to write and edit songs!
We had a blast chatting with Zac and his parents. Read on to learn more about why Zac is so determined to code every day!
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to work for Nintendo when I’m older and then possibly start my own company! I feel like learning to code will help me do that.
What’s your favorite subject in school? My favorite subject in school is probably pre-algebra. I really like challenges, I like stuff getting thrown at me – I like that kind of stuff.
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I was really excited! I felt really proud because I’d been wanting to do that since I started. It’s been a goal for me!
How did you get introduced to Tynker? My computer lab teacher showed us Tynker during Hour of Code three years ago. I really started to like it, so I started doing it at home. I built one program, and then I continued to self-teach myself and build projects until today.
How did you learn how to use Tynker? I used one course, Ada’s Adventure. I practice 20 minutes every day, sometimes on the bus, and when I have free time at school. I’ve done a lot. My teacher always said coding was really important for the future.
How do you get inspiration for your projects? Usually, I look at the community and then I relate them to other games or the things I do in real life. I like to think of made-up stories, creative stuff – I really like to try and make all of my stuff up.
How do creativity and coding fit together for you? I really like [Tynker] because I can do two of my favorite things – I can be creative and code at the same time, and I have a lot of fun when I do it. I’ve been using Tynker for 3 years.
Why do you like to code? I would probably say, it is just fun in general!
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? My favorite projects that I’ve made so far are probably the two that got featured because I spent the most time on them. I’ve been working on them a lot, and I was really hoping that one of them would get featured – and they did! My friends helped me test it out! At first, it didn’t have difficulties or tips – I just made a basic game and then I started to build upon that, get more feedback, and eventually, it kept growing and growing until it became what is it now.
“Boss Fight: Revealeo” See more of Zac’s projects here!
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? I get input from other people, at least from my sister. Sometimes I help her code.
What’s your favorite feature in Tynker? It just feels so satisfying to connect the blocks! You can make the connection and feel how the program is going. It’s like science – you can test it however you want, build it however you want! It’s just an open sandbox that you get to form.
Do you ever Tynker with your friends? I discovered Tynker on my own and I’ve been doing it a lot, so they mostly just give me input. They think it’s really cool that I can make games for them! Sometimes I make games for them, like people will be like, “Can you make this game for me?” and I’ll be like, “Sure!” and then I’ll make it for them. It’s really cool.
Do you look at the Tynker community projects? Yes, I do all the time! They give me really good inspiration.
How do you think learning coding now might help you in the future? Well, I really think it will help me understand a lot about the stuff in life. When I do run my own business, if some employee is like, “There’s a system glitch!” then I could be like, “Well, did you check this and this?” I feel like it would help my future a lot for my career.
Do you think other kids should try coding? Oh, for sure! It’s a lot of fun.
What advice would you give for kids starting out with Tynker? I’d probably tell them not to get frustrated at first. I got really frustrated! I worked on it and then I got some sort of glitch and then gave up right away, but then now I’ve realized that’s not how it works. You don’t just give up, you find another way to do it.
Zac’s parents, Zac Sr. and Heather, think it’s “fantastic” that Zac is learning to code! Heather noted that “It’s the first thing that he’s really shown an interest in and stuck with for a long amount of time. He’s so creative but he’s also very analytical like his dad, so [coding] allows him to do both.”
When asked if they had any computer science skills themselves, Zac Sr. said that he “learned a bit [of coding] in the 80s and 90s, when it wasn’t cool,” and Heather said, “When I was a kid the only computer class I had was in junior high and it was just how to type on a keyboard! Now they have so many more tools!”
“Everything is moving technology-wise,” Heather said. “Jobs are changing, and if you’re going to move forward and you’re going to be successful in the future, you need those building blocks to be able to develop and integrate yourself in society.”
She explained that Zac’s technology teacher often talks about how important coding is. “At his school,” Heather said, “they did a presentation where they picked kids to give a presentation to the superintendent of the school district, and Zac was one of those kids.” They showed the superintendent how to code and told him the importance of it! “Kids will be left behind if they’re not learning [to code].”
Zac Sr. made a great point about the capacity coding has to teach perseverance. He said that coding has “taught Zac a lot about finishing something. Not just starting, but taking something to completion. Because there’s time and effort he doesn’t get immediate results, he’s learning you’ve got to put hard work in.” He reflected on the positive impact this lesson will have on Zac’s future, saying, “I think it’s a good lesson that’s just going to benefit him as he goes into high school and college – he’s learning things don’t just happen immediately, you have to put the work in. I think he’s learned a lot of that from coding.”
Heather also spoke to the importance of coding for Zac’s future, saying, “He’s always wanted to have his own video game company. You need creativity, but you also need the know-how to be able to do those things. He’s getting those tools at a very young age, so it’s a wonderful tool, especially for him.”
Thank you Zac, Heather, and Zac Sr.! We had a great time chatting with you about your projects, Zac, and you all had such fantastic insights about the importance of coding. We can’t wait to see what you dream up next. Keep earning your Tynker time – we’re cheering for you!