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 appinventor.org 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.
First 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.