“I’d like to create more apps” — Sixth Grade Genius Delivers TED Talk

By Amanda Cosco 

Meet Thomas Suarez.

He’s an experienced code writer, programer, and app developer. Oh,—and did I mention he’s in the sixth grade?

When I was in grade six, one of my biggest accomplishments was winning a game of marbles against a kid two grades older than me. My, things have changed. Technology has infiltrated the education system, and in this TED talk, we begin to glimpse the prospects of a future filled with design thinkers.


“A lot of kids these days like to play games, but now, they want to make them” says Thomas Suarez. Suarez articulates a sentiment that’s backed by some of the biggest names in media studies, such as Brian Solis. In his piece “Are you a Content Consumer or Creator?” Solis observed that while generations before us spent their free time consuming media, our generation spends our free time producing it.

“I’ve always had a fascination with technology” says Suarez in his TED talk. He explains the difficulty of being a kid and wanting to make programs but lacking the direction he need from the adults, who, in his words, “know a little less than the kids when it comes to technology.”

“It’s difficult because a lot of kids don’t know where to go to make a program” he explains; “If you want to learn to play soccer, you could go to a soccer team; if you want to learn how to play the violin, you could go to a violinist; but where do you go when you want to create an app?”

Enter the Apple iPhone, and the iPhone software development kit, a suite a tools for creating and programming an iPhone app. Suarez says he made a number test apps and then persuaded his parents to pay the $99 fee to put his apps on the app store.

Suarez received so much support and encouragement from his teachers and friends that he’s now developed an App club where kids can learn how to program apps. He explains that the apps developed from the program will be free to his school district, and any profits made from selling the apps elsewhere will go towards funding the program, which is dedicated to teaching app development skills.

As the world mourns the loss of Apple’s Steve Jobs, when we watch videos like this, we begin to understand that we’ve only begun to experience the legacy that Jobs will leave behind; “I’ve got a lot of inspiration from Steve Jobs” Suarez says.

Where’s this sixth grader heading next? “I’d like to create more apps and more games, get into Android programs and find other ways for students to share knowledge.”

We’re looking forward to it!