5 Minutes with 14 year old Entrepreneur, Leio Oshima McLaren


McLarenWhat’s life been like since leaving school?

As a self guided learner, I have been able to focus on my business and benefit from learning at my own pace, the way I want learn.  I am finding that I can extend myself further now than I was ever able to before in a mainstream school.

How did your company ‘App App Away’ come about?

I have always had a passion for apps. I love technology and even though I started learning about computers at an older age then many people, I have used it as an opportunity to really challenge myself.  Once I started on my journey building apps, I discovered that it was something that I could do so it kind of grew from there.  My first app was Phonic Buddies, which was designed to teach prep students about phonetic sounds, to help them with reading.  From there I built Aussie Pop Quiz and I have been developing steadily from there.  I am working on a new app right now, so watch this space.

Should coding be taught in schools?

I am really passionate about coding, especially in schools.  I don’t think that learning how to code should be limited to a select number of students. I really believe it should be something that is available to everyone.  There are a lot of skills that just about anyone can benefit from today and students will be able to use them in the careers of the future.  I think it it’s great because it works well in the coming new age of learning and it really captivates students attention and can definitely make them want to learn more.

Where is a good place to start?

I started by using Scratch at the start and I picked up a lot of fundamentals before I started really diving in and learning code.  Even a primary student can start here, where they can play with the building blocks, dragging and dropping and making things happen. I basically learned from the Internet, so a lot of my learning was self-guided. At first it was really hard work as there was literally no one at my school who could teach me. It’s not impossible though, and you can start developing more complex applications the more you challenge yourself and learn.  I recommend Scratch as a good place to start for any school because it can get students engaged and interested to the point where they will be ready to move on to more sophisticated coding later on.

What have you learned since starting down this path?

User experience and what the actual interface looks like are pretty important if you want to make your app commercial.  Looking back at my first app, I can say that I am continuing to learn. My growing passion for graphic design and my learning curve using Photoshop is a good example of this.

What’s next?

Once I complete my schooling, I don’t necessarily think I will pursue coding as a career because I have lots of other interests like Science, Engineering and even Politics. Whatever I choose to do, I know that the things I learned from coding will be able to help me in the future and it’s a skill that I will have for the rest of my life.

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Education Technology Solutions
Education Technology Solutions has been created to inspire and encourage the use of technology in education. Through its content, Education Technology Solutions seeks to showcase cutting edge products and practices with a view to expanding the boundaries and raising the standards of education curricula. It introduces teachers and IT staff to the latest products, services and developments in education technology with a view to providing practical how-to guidance designed to facilitate the integration of those products and services into the school environment in the most productive and beneficial manner possible.

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