Technovation Challenge: Diary of a coach

I signed up to be a coach for Technovation Challenge. It’s an international girls app development competition that encourages girls to make apps that solve community problems.

Technovation helped me connect with a mentor from Salesforce. I already had a team – a group of three girls in Berkeley who are daughters of a couple of friends, plus possibly another group from a middle school local to me in Marin County.

Saturday before the first meeting: Attended a Technovation Challenge girlsmakeapps workshop. This was a demo of how to use App Inventor by Dave Wolber, a professor in CS at the University of San Francisco. He’s also the author of the website, a great resource for activities that the girls can use to get familiar with the software they’ll be using to make their app.

2016-01-19 16.59.02First meeting for the Berkeley team was at their home. We’d hoped to connect with our Salesforce mentor through gotomeeting but it took such a long time to get the wi-fi sorted that we went ahead and used pens and paper to do the first activity. Each girl divided a large sheet of white paper into 8 and drew pictures: 5 that said something about their hobbies, activities and 3 that were ideas for things that could make an idea for an app. I made it clear there were no right answers and so it was impossible to get anything wrong: the idea was just to get ideas out and be happy sharing as a group. I did one and reminded myself of an app idea I had long ago to create a birdsong identifier app.

Anyway, the girls came up with some really interesting observations and ideas. As an indicator of depth, here’s one of the first ideas: ‘I put world peace. Why should we be killing each other? Life is short, why make it shorter?

With that, here are other words that came up frequently in a wordle. Will be interesting to see what sticks as we move through and distill the ideas further.