At ISTP, we strive to give all our students the tools to discover and pursue a true passion. One of our Chinese Program 3rd Graders, Devyn B., has already discovered a passion for technology, and has had amazing success in pursuing this passion. Devyn’s accomplishments, which include building robots, developing an iPhone app and a video game, and learning a new software language at Twitter Headquarters, are remarkable for any person - and even more remarkable considering that Devyn is a third grader.
Devyn’s mom Tamara says that her passion for technology stems from the fact that “Devyn likes to try new things; she loves all things art and science.” This year, Devyn was able to use her creativity and ingenuity as a member of the Hacker Scouts, a program similar to Boy or Girl Scouts, but more technology focused. As a Hacker Scout, Devyn learned how to solder circuit boards and build basic robots. This led Devyn to discover a new hobby that she now pursues in her free time – making brushbots (robots made of toothbrushes).
Devyn had the opportunity to attend the Dare 2B Digital Conference for Girls, sponsored by Oracle, where she developed her own iPhone app. She also recently created a video game, with two partners, at Thought Works in San Francisco. She spent seven Saturdays developing an original game titled “Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies,” in which rubber duckies navigate a maze. Devyn’s mom Tamara reported that “They added sound, and of course Devyn did the voice-over for her ducky in Mandarin!”
As a result of her work on the video game challenge, Devyn had the opportunity to visit Twitter headquarters. Usually, this program is reserved for older students. However, Tamara shared that “The Director observed that Devyn was a good student, listened well, asked questions when she didn’t understand, and was able to apply instruction,” and allowed her to participate. Tamara also reported that “the Twitter Engineers were impressed with Devyn, and her language skills.”
Devyn's mom Tamara believes that ISTP has been a strong influence in shaping the remarkable young person Devyn has become. She says, “Devyn's ISTP experience has allowed her to embrace new things without the fear of getting it wrong. Her teachers have inspired her at every level - she has been encouraged to not give up on herself, or any assignment.” Devyn has particularly benefited from the Design Your Own Homework assignments she has done with her teachers Susan Brooks and Enessa Sanchez. Tamara fondly recalls one of Mrs. Sanchez's DYOH assignments that truly inspired Devyn. Mrs. Sanchez encouraged Devyn to harness her creativity, resulting was a very thoughtful and personal product. Tamara related, “The DYOH assignments have allowed her to be particularly creative and think beyond just getting a task done. She's really problem-solving and challenging herself as she accomplishes these types of critical thinking assignments. It's been one of the best gifts of many from ISTP.”
At ISTP, the development of critical thinking skills is built in to our curriculum. It is amazing to see these skills take hold and blossom in someone so young. ISTP is proud to have played this role in developing Devyn’s extraordinary young mind.