Reported by Liku Zelleke
It seems every time we blink, the age of tech-savvy kids creating one software or another gets lower and lower. For example, right now, the record for the youngest person to ever create a full-version mobile video game application goes to Zora Ball who is just 7 years old.
Ball, a Philadelphian, showcased her new app at the University of Pennsylvania’s “Boot-strap Expo.” She is a first grader who has, at this tender age, been able to learn Bootstrap, a programming language that is usually taught to students aged between 12 and 16, well enough to create her own game.
For those that had any doubts about the little whiz’s abilities, she successfully reconfigured her app when asked to do so. That put to rest any doubts about whether her elder brother – a STEM scholar of the year – was the actual programmer of the software.
Her teachers and staff at the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology, where Ball attends first grade and an after-school program, have high hopes for the little wonder.
“I am proud of all my students. Their dedication to this program is phenomenal, and they come to class every Saturday, including holiday breaks,” said Tariq Al-Nasir, head of the STEMNASIUM Learning Academy.
The Saturday-only course lasts 48 weeks (not including an additional eight weeks in the summer). The collaboration between Harambee and STEMNASIUM allows any student enrolled in a Philadelphia public school to participate in the class, and more than 60 students can partake in it at one time.
This year there were about 50 of them enrolled in the pro-gram and they are all dedicated, according to Al-Nassir.
“The kids love it. As an example, over the Thanksgiving holiday break, with Black Friday and all, the kids were off from school and could do what-ever it is that kids do when they are home, but we had students who showed up. They dedicated themselves to showing up on that Saturday. What we accomplished on that Saturday was different than what we accomplished on other Saturdays, but I was very impressed that the parents bought into the fact that we can’t take a vacation, not when we’re trying to reach people on a global level,” Al-Nassir said.