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Could this 12 year-old app developer be the vanguard for an era of kids as programmers?

Bustin Jieber app from 12-year-old programmer (Credit Thomas Suarez via Apple App Store)

In January I wondered outloud if the iPad will make us less creative.  I pointed out that there was a time when schools taught kids how to program computers but lamented that the vast majority of today’s kids are only learning to use tech devices rather than program them.

I still have this concern but after watching a Ted Talk by 12 year-old Thomas Suarez, I’m a bit more optimistic.

At the October 22 TED conference in Manhattan Beach, California, Suarez talked about a couple of iOS apps that he’s written including one called Bustin Jieber, which has become a popular wack-o-mole game for kids who are less than enthusiastic about the popular star.  He also suggested that schools need to be teaching kids not just to use technology but to help create it.

He pointed out that kids who want to learn soccer can find a team and those who want to play violin can easily find a teacher, but “not many kids know where to go to find out how to make a program.” Suarez, who already had programming experience, got his hands on Apple’s iPhone software development kit and started programming.  To get his first app published he had to persuade his parents to pay the $99 to put the app on the app store.

The video is only 4 minutes long and well worth watching.

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