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Make School’s Summer Academy is an ideal environment for learning a new skill in a compressed time frame. That’s what drew Scott Tyler, an avid―some might even say insatiable―learner, to the Summer Academy games track.
Scott is an adjunct professor of mathematics at Lehman College in New York. He applied to Make School on a friend’s recommendation. “I enrolled because I love learning new skills in tech,” Scott said. “It was the perfect chance to really get into object-oriented programming and learn it, as my prior experience is with R and Python for data science.”
Scott used his time at the Summer Academy to make a game called Bounding Balls. “It’s a game where you play by tilting the phone left and right instead of using touch controls. I wanted to make a very simple game to play. The design is very minimalist―if you look at the game’s code and file size, you won’t see much,” Scott noted. “But when you play it, that’s when you see the beauty of the game. I guess you can say it’s like the difference between reading about a cookie and actually eating one.”
Scott walked away from the Summer Academy with a lot of big plans. He has several other games he’d like to design, but right now he’s in the midst of planning a hackathon at Lehman College. He’s also using what little free time he has to take more Make School courses online.
“I’ve been going through the apps track online and that’s been fun,” Scott said. “I’ve also started developing using Amazon Web Services, and I’m doing some machine learning courses which link the math and the computer science together. I’m hoping to eventually get a Ph.D. in machine learning. It’s so new, so there’s still a lot of research that can be done―I’d have a chance to make a real contribution.”
As a relatively new professor, Scott pointed out that he learned a thing or two about learning at Make School. “My experience reminded me what it’s like learning new skills from the other side. Math is like breathing for me, but for my students it’s more like trying to breathe underwater sometimes. The Summer Academy was a good reminder that everyone has a different way of learning, so you have to be flexible and see things from their perspective.”
His other key takeaways from the experience included, “First, the ability to ask for help and figure out a problem. Being able to identify what is going wrong and then search for the solution, either with another programmer locally or online using stack overflow, is a really tricky skill and super important.” The other key benefit was “the great friends I made during the academy. Having a strong network of friends where we all push each other to be better is amazing and invaluable.”