Developing Creative Thinkers with Tynker

November 8th is National STEM Day, an opportunity to explore and recognize the impact of STEM teaching and learning on student success. To celebrate, we interviewed Krishna Vedati, the CEO and Co-Founder of Tynker and Laura Hanna, a K-5 Computer Teacher at Cordova Elementary in Shelby County. Tynker is a creative computing platform where millions of kids across the country have learned to program, build computer games, develop apps and more. Tynker offers self-paced online courses for children to learn coding at home, as well as an engaging programming curriculum for schools. Tynker is used in schools across Tennessee, with teacher and educator ‘power users’, like Laura Hanna, in districts including Clarksville Montgomery County, Shelby County Schools, Bristol City Schools, Campbell Country Public Schools, Bradley County Schools and Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Krishna Vedati, CEO and Co Founder, Tynker

 

In honor of National STEM Day, what impact has Tynker had on students learning to code on a national scale?

Krishna Vedati: More than 50 million kids worldwide – and 1 in 3 US schools – are learning to code with Tynker. Tynker uses its own block-based programming language to teach kids the basics of coding via gamified courses and challenges. The platform takes an interest-based teaching approach: kids can learn about STEM in a way that is actually interesting to them.

How does the teaching of computer science support the key tenets of STEM?

KV: Computer science is an important part of the overall technology curriculum at many schools, and it teaches broader skills including creativity, attention to detail and logical thinking. STEM is becoming more relevant in industries ranging from beauty to education. Tynker’s activities allow teachers to integrate computer science into any subject area, with quizzes and tutorials on topics like the solar system, grammar, and multiplication

Laura Hanna: With Tynker, students have to solve problems that have varying solutions, which is a challenging notion to today’s students who are used to multiple choice testing and producing only one right answer. I’m not only teaching coding concepts; I’m tasking children with creative thinking.

Students in Laura Hanna’s Computer course work collaboratively on coding games

What sets Tynker apart from other ‘learn to code’ programs?

KV: Tynker’s block-based programming language is easy to grasp for kids as young as seven years old, and it seamlessly transitions kids to more advanced programming languages such as Swift within the Tynker app. The platform integrates with drones, Microsoft Minecraft, LEGO and more, appealing to the wide range of kids already interested in these items. 

LH: I generally let students choose their own pace and path through Tynker, collaborating with classmates when needed. There’s movement in the classroom as students show solutions or code to their peers.

What do students most enjoy about using Tynker?

LH: My third, fourth, and fifth grade students love Tynker, and they enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make their ideas come to life. In a survey at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, one of my favorite student comments was, “I like that it does not make coding seem so hard like how people describe it. It inspires my imagination.”

What is the long term vision for Tynker?

KV: Tynker’s mission is to help every child become a maker.

To learn more about Tynker and organizing a training for your teachers visit the Educator Training page on the Tynker website.

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