This Scratcher is using code to make her creations come alive
By My Nguyen
Ten-year-old Zoe K. used to think that coding was just “weird words with weird symbols and stuff.” That was before her best friend told her about a place where she could make her own games.
Two years later, Zoe is a student of Code Rangers, a Sydney-based program that teaches kids how to code through creative, collaborative camps and workshops. Through Code Rangers, she discovered the visual programming language Scratch.
Now, coding is a way to bring her artistic creations to life.
“With Scratch, I can add my own visuals. It’s fun learning how to make them come alive. I like seeing how people respond to my art.”
For Zoe, also known as RangerZK on Scratch, the “people component” is one of the best parts of learning to program with Code Rangers.
“My favorite thing about Code Rangers are the friends that I’ve made there,” she said. “We all come from different schools. I might not even know them if I didn’t do this and get to interact with them. They also have really cool projects that I like to see. There’s always at least one new thing I can learn.”
The Scratch Foundation chatted with Zoe to learn more about her experiences with Scratch.
Can you describe the first project you created on Scratch?
Yes, I made a rainbow cat eating rainbows out of a jar. The background is rainbows; everything is rainbow, and everything is changing color. It was a remix, actually. The original project was a squirrel eating Nutella out of a jar.
Can you describe your favorite Scratch project that you’ve created?
My favorite project is actually a collaboration between my friend and me. It’s a little animation series. It’s only two episodes long. She voiced the characters, and I did most of the animation. I’m so proud of it. Even though it doesn’t look amazing, it’s a good start. There are some glitches, so we’ll have to fix that.
In life, you’re always going to be making mistakes, and sometimes, you just have to admit that you’ve made a mistake and be okay with it. I do Tae Kwon Do. Every single grading, when we’re doing combat, I always fall down. But, I always end up laughing, and I get back up and do it again. I’ve never failed a grading because of a slip, because I just get back up.
Where do you get ideas for your projects?
Sometimes, I ask my friends or family, and sometimes, I just make projects about what I like or dislike. I also get inspiration from TV shows or games that I know.
How do you participate in the Scratch online community?
I like joining studios and adding my projects, especially when people invite me and tell me, “You’re doing a great job.” My favorite part is collaborating with my friends. My friends and I actually have a joint account, and we’re working on a game together.
What’s the most helpful feedback someone has given you on a project?
Once, I was working on a walking animation and Scratcher person that I follow gave me some tips on how I could make the animation smoother. It really helped. I love it when people give me ideas for how to do something better or to create another project.
What do you like about Scratch?
I like how it started off very hard to me, but it got easier and easier once I understood it. It’s simple — and that’s good, because with simple things you can make extravagant things. It takes only the click of a button to make it amazing.
What advice would you give to someone getting started on Scratch?
Don’t be afraid to make what you think is cool. Don’t be afraid of anyone trying to say, “This is so bad,” or something like that, because if you’re proud of what you made, that’s all that matters.