Some elementary school kids play video games or ride bikes with their friends. Sixth-grader Thomas Suarez builds iOS apps — and has started a club at his school to encourage others to do the same. Doing his best Steve Jobs at a recent TEDx event in Manhattan Beach, he recounted his experience building and selling Earth Fortune and the Bustin Jieber whac-a-mole game, but pointed out that there wasn’t a clear path for other young would-be developers to do the same. “A lot of kids these days like to play games,” Suarez said, “but now they want to make them.” Hence his club, which any student can join to learn the basics of programming and app creation.
Suarez’s school also participates in one of Apple’s iPad pilot programs, which put the tablet into the hands of students and teachers for educational purposes. With feedback from teachers, Suarez’s club hopes to build apps to accommodate specific classroom needs. As for Suarez himself, he’s planning on building more games — and would like to tackle Android development next.