Meet the Scratcher: Korbin D.
This young coder believes peer teaching makes better programmers
By My Nguyen
Korbin D. is an inventor, web engineer, and CTO.
“Scratch actually wasn’t my first language; I learned HTML first by going around the Internet and finding websites that teach you coding. I was just naturally curious,” he said.
But it wasn’t until Korbin discovered Scratch that he found a platform for creating the games in his mind.
“At first, it seemed like a weird language to me. But once I started making projects with it, I liked it more and more. I watched YouTube tutorials so that I could learn more. I realize now that it was the right language for sprouting my interest in coding.”
Now, Korbin is helping to sprout his peers’ interest in coding. For years, Korbin has participated as a member of LA Makerspace’s Coding Crew, a group of young programmers offering free coding instruction to students in the Greater Los Angeles area. They focus on Scratch, MIT App Inventor, and Arduino.
“All of the teachers are between ages 13–16,” Korbin said. “As a member of the Coding Crew, I make suggestions for the curriculum that we teach. I also usually act as a main teaching lead. We go to different groups and help them get started with programming.”
Korbin is so passionate about peer teaching that he co-founded Korbin’s Kode, a youth-driven coding community focused on teaching kids aged 8–16 the basics of coding.
The Scratch Foundation spoke to Korbin to learn more about his projects and peer-centered approach to teaching.
What is Korbin’s Kode?
What is the mission of Korbin’s Kode?
The mission is to teach kids around the world how to code so they can be prepared for the future.
Why did you decide to teach others to code with Scratch?
Scratch is the simplest language for getting started. You can create a complete game in 15 minutes.
Do you remember the first project you created with Scratch?
My first project was a PacMan game. It was actually very difficult, because all of the dots were individual sprites that glided all over the place.
What does a typical session of Korbin’s Kode look like?
We are planning to offer one-week boot camps, but for now, we’re doing one-hour classes. I teach and facilitate, usually by going over the basics. Usually 8–10 kids attend.
One thing that sets Korbin’s Kode apart from other coding camps is that you utilize peer teaching. Can you talk about that approach?
Peer teaching is effective for the simple reason that kids listen to kids. Sometimes, it can be hard for kids to listen to adults because they can be boring. Some adults actually aren’t familiar with the coding languages they teach. Kids have a lot of time on their hands and can go online and research everything they need to know.
How do you measure success?
I consider it a successful session when kids come to me at the end and either ask more questions or ask me for my Scratch username so that they can follow me in the online community. Hopefully, they’ll go home and check out the Scratch community and make another project.
Last summer, you hosted a coding workshop at Rosemeade Public Library. Can you tell me about the event and your role in it?
The workshop was the result of a partnership between the Rosemead Youth Leadership Center and Edison International’s ASCEND group (Asian Society for Cultural Exchange Networking and Diversity). Children ages 9–14 attended with their parents. I introduced them to Scratch. To start, we just went through a simple walking animation. After lunch, everyone had the opportunity to build their own games or stories in groups. It was a really cool experience because they got to come out of it with a project they wanted to make.
Why is it important for kids to learn how to code?
It’s important because coding is the future. We’ll be coding websites, robots, systems, even.
What are you working on right now?
What’s next for you?
I’m focusing on growing Korbin’s Kode. I want to code more and learn more from others. I’m also working on my show, Korbin’s Kode. I feel like I can reach more kids that way.
My Nguyen is Communications Specialist for the Scratch Foundation.