CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES – Now with over 5.3 million views, Thomas Suarez of South Bay in the USA, was twelve when he delivered his inspirational TED Talk at the TEDxManhattanBeach conference in October 2011.
Thomas rightly highlights how difficult it was for kids his age to get help if they want to develop software and build apps.
“For soccer, you could go to a soccer team. For violin, you could get lessons for a violin,” he explained. “But what if you want to make an app?”
Thomas hits on the topics of tech integration in education, app access for all children, and how teachers could best use the classroom’s greatest resource — the students themselves.
Thomas Suarez’s interest in technology and programming led him to learn Python, Java, and C programming languages in his preteens.
After convincing his parents to pay the $99 fee to register with the Apple App Store, he published his first app, “Earth Fortune,” a fortune teller that colours the earth according to what your fortune is.
His second and most popular creation is “Bustin Jieber,” a whac-a-mole game app that replaces the mole with a photo of Justin Bieber’s head. The smartphone game allows people to pretend to whack the pop star to make him scream and it all happens to the Benny Hill theme song. The 99 cent app is Thomas’s “favourite and most successful app”, he said.
Thomas believes it’s a mistake that his school in Manhattan Beach and other California public schools do not offer more technology courses.
A lot of kids these days like to play games, but now they want to make them… And it’s difficult because not many kids know where to go to find out how to make a program…and not many parents have written apps.
To fill the gap, he started an app club with some like-minded friends so they can help each other create games and build new apps. Thomas highlights the club is also a resource for teachers and any other educators who want to experiment with tech education in the classroom.
While in sixth grade Thomas set-up his own company, “CarrotCorp.” Since then he has been coding news apps for smartphones or Google Glass. He has also worked on a patent-pending 3D printer which, he says, will work 10 times faster than the MakerBot model he uses at home. Following his TED Talk it’s not surprising Thomas is now a popular speaker at technology conferences.
- Bustin Jeiber: The 12 year-old app developer who taught himself to code goes viral – 17 Nov 2011, Tech Crunch
- 12 year-old app developer wins award – 28 Apr 2012, ABC News
- 15 year-old is developing a 3D printer that is 10 times faster than anything on the market!