MODULE 1: Technology for Social Good: Technovation and becoming a tech entrepreneur - Introduction to the program

Welcome to Technovation Australia! This module is supported by the student and mentor workbook.

This 6-module course is run by the Tech Girls Movement and Code the Future, and is designed to help those wanting to implement the Technovation curriculum. Over six modules we will outline the Technovation program for youth entrepreneurs, with tips on how to implement it in the classroom or a tech club. Thanks to Google Australiafor the funds to develop these materials.

OVERVIEW OF THE TECHNOVATION PROGRAM

Technovation is a charity in the US who run an annual youth tech entrepreneurship program for school girls around the world, which culminates in a global pitch where the top 10 teams pitch their apps in San Francisco. Technovation make their curriculum for the program available for free, and we at the Tech Girls Movement are the regional ambassadors for the program. We primarily implement the program in Australia through the annual competition Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero, however we also help to implement it in classroom environments at any time during the year. For instance, we implemented it into a Year 9 Geography class focused on humanitarianism - using technology and in particular, apps, to solve humanitarian challenges.

The program is structured to run for 12 weeks, with weekly tasks, activities and deliverables. There is also adetailed judging rubric available to those who want to use it. There is no cost associated with participating in the program. Find out more about the Tech Girls Movement here in this short video.

Watch the #codegirl documentary based on the worldwide Technovation program here. Our goal is to get representation from Australia in the global competition and before 2016 there were no entries from Australia. In 2016 there are 14 entries from Australia because of the Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero.

KEY TO THE PROGRAM

  • Teams, mentors and coaches do no need to know how to build an app! The program is designed for all involved to learn how to build an app prototype together. Find out more info about roles in the program here.
  • Forming teams of students: Technovation encourages teams of 3-5 girls however we have experienced teams of 1 and they have done very well (read about 9yo NSW Finalist Emma Yap from 2015 and 12yo Sara Price winner from 2014 who sold 20 000 copies of her app!). Bringing together complimentary skills is emphasised, as is working together.
  • Coaches guide the teams through the program: Acting as a local contact for teams, they act as project managers keeping the team on track.
  • Match teams with a mentor who works in the tech industry: We at the Tech Girls Movement and Code the Future can help to match teams with mentors. Mentors act as role models and talk about what is a typical day at work with the aim to dispel the myth that tech work is boring, monotonous, and solitary in nature. We encourage mentors to meet with their teams for one hour online each week via Hangouts or Skype.
  • Problem-focused: Teams find a problem in their local community they want to solve. Once the problem is defined, teams work on brainstorming possible solutions and how they could be implemented through an app. An equal balance of creativity in problem solving and technology expertise is encouraged.
  • Technology for social good: Teams focus on a problem that has social implications. Research suggests that girls like the application of technology in other areas and not just technology for technology's sake. 
  • The program is designed to be run completely online. In the Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero, we have teams and mentors from all over Australia. We attempt to match teams with mentors close in geography when we can.
  • Be part of a global community: Working in tech is seen to be isolating so we emphasise that those participating in the program are part of a wider global community. Women working in tech may not be very visible but they do exist and the program connects teams with industry, thus we aim to break down outdated stereotypes and who works in tech, what they look like and what they do to make a difference to the world.

TECHNOLOGY NEEDED

  • Internet access
  • Gmail account – This is what you’ll use to log into App Inventor at ai2.appinventor.mit.edu.
  • Computer (Recommended Mac OS X v10.7 or newer)
  • An Android phone to emulate the prototype (recommended by not necessary)

OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRAM - WEEKS 1-3

Below are the topics for the first 3 weeks of the program. The focus is on getting familiar with the program and understanding expectations of teams, coaches and mentors, defining a solvable problem, and researching other solutions to the problem. It is necessary to consider the target audience, their wants, needs and desires.