When Antonio García Vicente (Valladolid, 2007) was only six years old he joined the Club de Young Programmers from the University of Valladolid. With eight, he gave his first TED talk, entitled Schedule to learn without limits. Now he has 11 and he affirms without any doubt that "programming is a superpower that allows you to do what you want". He, for example, has already served to create more than 100 video games.
"What I like the most in the world are my two hobbies: one is programming and the other is football," says Antonio. He lives in Villanubla, a small town in Valladolid, where when it is very cold in winter, he spends his evenings programming. "Me they like video games Like all children, but I also like to know how they are made and create my own. Obviously they will not be as professional as FIFA, but I have created a project in which several players are in the same field and play against each other, "says Valladolid. He has also developed a game to learn the planets of the solar system, a tic-tac-toe or a title similar to the television contest Boom! on the Camino de Santiago.
Antonio's first contact with programming was when he was six years old. He went with his sister Noelia to Scratch Day, an event at the University of Valladolid where they teach programming workshops with different languages. Like many other children who start in this world, he first learned Scratch. Then he continued to train with new tools and programming languages with which he develops his projects and mobile applications. He already has notions of App Inventor, assembler, App Lab and Arduino. These last two platforms are his favorites because they allow him to "handle physical things": "With App Lab you can make an application for the mobile and with Arduino you can manage humidity sensors, make traffic lights, buttons, joysticks …".
The games that Antonio develops sometimes are challenges that are proposed to him in the Young Programmers Club or teacher assignments. Sometimes, he prefers that they deal with topics he is learning at school. The first one he created, with seven years, served to learn with his companions the bones of the human body: "I realized that programming could be used to study more fun."
Both he and his sister They passed on to their peers a passion for creating video games. Together they created the El Páramo de Villanubla Programming Club at the school. While in the beginning the group was made up of 10 children, now there are 54, between six and 15 years old. "The best thing is the feeling it gives you when you get something to work, it's amazing," says Antonio.
When to start programming
For him, the best age to start programming is six years: "As you still do not know much, it is easier to learn new things." "People imagine that a child who programs is all the time at home with the computer and locked in his room, but it is not like that. There are programming platforms like Scratch in which you can share with people the creations and comment on them, "he explains.
In addition to creating their own games, programming allows children to acquire new knowledge. For example, to know what is a variable or concepts related to physics or mathematics: "When I started programming, one of the instructions I came across was" to turn 90 degrees ". I still had not given what the degrees were in school. "
Antonio believes that it would be important for all children they will take a compulsory subject of programming in your school. "The jobs are changing and every time more people are needed with computational thinking. If in the future people with programming knowledge are going to be needed, I think we should receive classes to be prepared, "he reflects.
When he is older, he would like to be a soccer goalie. "As I know it is very difficult and if I get it soon the profession is finished, then I want to be an inventor. I have a project in my head to eliminate pollution, but I need to study to be able to carry it out, "he says. For the moment, Antonio prefers to keep his project secret, but says that to develop it he would need to study Physics and Chemistry. "I would also like to do Computer Engineering to learn all the programming languages that I can. For me, programming is fun, it's brave, it's a challenge ", concludes Valladolid