Meet Ryan, our upbeat and passionate educator, who brings a wealth of experience to his classes from his time teaching overseas to his impressive work at the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). With a knack for breaking down complex coding concepts, he aspires to inculcate an exploratory and forward-thinking attitude in our students so that each child will be prepared for the digital world ahead!
Hi Ryan, can you share with us how you first got interested in coding?
I have always believed that technology will be key for the future economy and decided to take a plunge into it when I first applied to Nanyang Technological University to do Computer Science. I had many chances to be exposed to different types of programming languages, so I learnt that there were many different applications of coding.
Now that I’m teaching coding, it requires me to keep learning to keep up with the changes in technology. I love the way technology is able to make life easier and more seamless!
How did you discover your passion for teaching?
When I volunteered at church as a Sunday School teacher for Primary 1 to Primary 6 students, I received a lot of great feedback. I generally enjoy communicating with people and teaching, so I decided to serve the kids overseas as well and gradually started to consider teaching.
Together with my degree in computer science, it was a good job fit when I came across Coding Lab. I love the subjects that I teach and now that I’m given the platform to share about them, it’s only natural for me to do so passionately!
“It gives me great joy to make things simple and easy to understand, so I have lots of analogies, examples and illustrations that interest and help students to grasp the coding concepts.”
Why do you think that learning to code from young is important?
Learning to code gives the child space to explore many different aspects of technology, such as creating simple games, solving puzzles, to coding more advanced programs. Most importantly for all programmers, it’s fun and doesn’t feel like work!
Can you share about your previous experiences at DSTA and MINDEF?
Oh, it’s highly classified information at my previous full-time jobs! I can share that I was involved in doing documentation and training staff to pick up skills for the job, so the familiarity of it all helps now that I’m teaching children to code.
What do you do apart from being a Coding Lab Educator?
On Saturdays (and some school holidays), you can find me teaching at Coding Lab. On weekdays, I’m a student (of the Bible)! Other than that, I have a love for the art of making coffee and pizza. From intricate coffee tools to having my stone oven shipped over from Italy during the pandemic, I would say I’m pretty serious about it.
What is the most memorable class or student you’ve had?
There was this particular Young Computer Scientists class that had a pair of twins and this other kid (whose names I shall not disclose). The twins requested him to bring his violin to class and they started a mini-concert playing and singing along to their favourite song “Faded” by Alan Walker. What a start to the coding class!
Even during the Heightened Alert when classes were fully online again, they continued to virtually jam together with their violin, piano and singing over Zoom! And when it was time to code, they were serious and focused. It was truly unforgettable to see them enjoying their coding classes, getting together to have fun and learn at the same time.
If I stepped into one of your classes, what would I experience?
It gives me great joy to make things simple and easy to understand, so I have lots of analogies, examples and illustrations that interest and help students to grasp the coding concepts. I also love to interact and encourage students to speak up, especially the teens, so you can expect a lot of that – especially from me!
Do you have any final words of advice?
To all the students who are thinking of coding or currently coding, I would say to “Do it now!” To teachers, always think of ways to get your students interested and enjoy your time spent with them!
Thank you, Ryan, for taking the time to have this conversation with us! We hope that you will continue to inspire and nurture many more students with us on Saturdays and in all your other endeavours.
Read Next: Meet Hovan, our passionate and personable educator
(Written by Cheryl Tang and Amanda Soh)
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