You may recall that I posted about the Technovation Challenge last year. Technovation is a competition for girls in middle and high school that seeks to build and support the pipeline for girls in technology. The program is about more than technology, though. It also has a strong focus on business with an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
Girls do not need to have programming experience to participate and there are no entry fees. Teams are judged on how well they identify community problems and related technology solutions, the functionality and ease of use of their technology product and the savvy of their business plan.
Technovation at Lane Tech
I’m excited to be mentoring a team! I’m working with one of three teams at Chicago’s Lane Tech High School. We got a bit of a late start, so our goal is more to make it to the finish line (not all teams do) than to make it to the final competition, but who knows?
Two of the three girls the team are Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program alumi, and one is a Chicago Architecture Foundation Teen Fellow, so you know I’m dealing with a lot of awesome! My role is to guide them through the Technovation process.
Technovation provides a road map for students and mentors, but given our late start, we’re not quite in synch with the lessons. That said, after brainstorming and narrowing down their ideas, it looks like they finally have a winner. Last week they sent out surveys to assess interest in their concept and last I checked, they received more than 125 responses, so it’s time to dig into the results and start prototyping and working on a business plan.
The girls will build a prototype app using MIT’s App Inventor. Although I’m their “guide on the side,” I started playing around with App Inventor in order to have some understanding of how it works. I’m midway through building a mini-golf game app thanks to this tutorial.
Ultimately, in addition to the source code for their app, a few screenshots of it in action, and a demo video, the girls will also need to submit a description of their app, create a pitch video for it and create a business plan. That’s a lot of deliverables, but I see their plans, and their team, coming together to make this happen.
Stay tuned for an update in late April.