Celebrating International Women's Day part four: Adonai Chinyama

08 March 2021

For our final interview to celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to 14-year-old Adonai Chinyama, a young coder who makes YouTube videos about coding, technology, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).

Who or what first inspired you to co-create your AC CODER channel?

It was a ten-week MINI.MU Glove competition that inspired me. Every week we did a lesson that taught us more about micro:bits. For the competition, we could make videos to show the project we worked on that week. This is when I decided to start a YouTube channel based on coding. I had not seen many female coders my age who had created YouTube channels with this focus. After recording the weekly projects for the MINI.MU Glove, I went on to record other projects, such as assembling a micro:bit robot, ten other micro:bit inventor kit projects, micro:bit games, an archery game, a micro:bit reaction game, and programming a micro:bit pedometer.

You make tutorials on YouTube that encourage young people to get involved with coding and making. Why is this important to you?

It’s an opportunity for me to share my experiences and challenges of making projects with other young people. It is also an opportunity to reach out to other young people to encourage them to experiment with coding and how to learn more about how coding can be used in different ways. I hope that my videos inspire other young people to get involved in coding and other technology projects. I use some of the projects on my YouTube channel when I deliver workshops to Essex Steamettes.

Why is it important that girls learn skills like programming and about computers in general?

There are not a lot of girls involved in programming and computing in general. I feel that it is important for more girls to get involved so that they can influence inventions that improve quality of life in the community. Girls can make positive contributions in programming and computing based on their knowledge and life experiences. If more girls are involved in programming and computers in general, they can make contributions and represent specific issues relating to girls and women as well as other members of the community.

What has been your proudest moment so far?

I was featured in an article for the London and Essex Computing Hub in January 2021. I got to talk about my views on computer science in secondary education and the projects I have been working on.

What are some things that excite you about the subject of computing?

I am excited about being able to look at a problem and find ways to solve the problem through computing. I also like the fact that programming and computing can be applied to many different things, for example health, cooking, music, dance, fashion, environment, and gaming. This means that people with different interests can get involved and learn about how to use computing to make things better. Computing and coding is fun because there are different coding languages to explore.

What are some things that you’d love to change about the way the world sees computing?

It would be great if computing is promoted to boys and girls from as young as primary school [age] children. If children learn about computing from an early age, they will be more interested, and it will not be scary or appear difficult. I think that computing needs to be promoted more by using day-to-day things that already use coding and programming to make children realise how coding and computing helps in everyday life. It is my view that we need more female role models, and these should be celebrated to encourage and inspire other young people.

Who are some other online content creators that inspire you and why?

I have been inspired by the Kids Invent Stuff YouTube Channel. I like the way they use ideas from children to make real-life projects. I find their projects fun and things that children and young people enjoy. I also enjoy watching the Kitronik YouTube tutorials and learning how to use the micro:bit and Adafruit.

What is the coolest project you’ve ever built with a computer?

I have enjoyed building many different things, but my favourite project so far is creating a virtual reality city. I enjoyed using the merge cube and seeing what I had programmed on a Google cardboard virtual headset. The project helped me to learn about how virtual reality can be used to make education more interactive. I also learned how to creatively program in Python.

Why do you think more boys study computer science than girls currently?

It has been my experience that computer science is promoted more to boys than girls. Also, when choosing options for GCSEs, more boys choose the subject, and this makes girls feel intimidated and scared to choose computer science as an option.

What would you say to a girl who is reading this and is thinking about getting into computing?

I would encourage you to explore computing and coding. They can be great fun because you can think of an idea and use code to express your idea. They are easier to learn than you think because you learn step by step, just like learning to swim or riding a horse. You then build on what you learn to do more things. I have learnt that coding and computing is not just about machinery in factories or spaceships, but also about how it can be used to make our day-to-day lives better and improve the way we learn about things.

Thanks Adonai!
Want to help the National Centre for Computing Education find out what works for getting more young girls interested in computing? Encourage your school to take part in our Gender Balance in Computing programme.