about 3 years ago
Over 40 DSBN elementary and secondary educators came together for a very informative session in support of bridging the tech-gender gap. CODE girl CODE Teachers Edition introduced educators interested in mentoring students for the Technovation Challenge. Technovation has a mission of empowering girls to get involved in the tech industry, using coding as an entry point and challenges female students to become technology entrepreneurs by developing a mobile app that solves a real problem in their local community. They then compete for a chance to pitch their product in Silicon Valley at the World Pitch Competition against teams from around the world.
Technovation mentor and Master Educator, Jill Russell, a secondary teacher at the DSBN Academy and an ihub innovative educator, participated in the challenge for the first time last year. She was invited to attend the World Pitch Competition last year (you can read her blog about the trip here) and has been carrying the torch for Technovation in Niagara ever since. “Technovation offers students the opportunity to learn skills, not just coding skills but entrepreneurial skills as well.” she shared. Jill is 1 of 38 Master Educators that connect on a regular basis to discuss the Challenge, which enables them to connect the student participants they work with with other participants around the world, acting as virtual Technovation pen pals.
ihub Manager, Anamaria Dragoi, followed up regarding entrepreneurial support services that we offer, such as our Entrepreneurial Thinking Interactive Toolkit which will be available next semester. The Toolkit guides both students and educators through the steps of entrepreneurial thinking with assistive augmented reality clips. The toolkit is curriculum aligned and educators can fully integrate the toolkit into a wide-range of courses from science, to English, to business and beyond. Ana also walked participants through the four stages that the challenge takes students: ideation, technology, entrepreneurship and pitch.
While Technvovation provides a mixed curriculum for participants of all ages, Jill highlighted that the curriculum does highlight the lessons that are catered towards secondary participants. Since the Challenge ranges from ages 10-18 (grades 4-12), students of different grade levels will all extract something different from the challenge. Junior grade level participants do not have to complete the entrepreneurial step while seniors must do. Thus said, the senior level students often organically start thinking about the entrepreneurial steps that follow ideation and technology, wondering what they could sell their product for and who would purchase it.
Jill walked the group through a business model canvas using Calendizing, an idea that came out of 6 Social STEAM meets Social Innovation, a successful social innovation event hosted at ihub last year. Recognizing that it can be challenging for students to align their challenges with sustainable development goals with your issues, attendees were then challenged to come up with something that their students may come up within the fields the Challenge focuses on; poverty, inequality, peace, equality, education and health. After some engaging brainstorming, educators discussed their ideas, such as cyber bullying, and mental health.
Those interested in participating in the challenge are encouraged to use Android devices for the best outcome. The suggested app builders are; Thunkable (which is expected to release an IOS version by January 2017 if you can’t access android), MIT App Inventor or MAD-learn (a platform suitable mostly for elementary students).
Next Steps for DSBN Technovation mentors:
By 2017 the world mobile app development market will be valued at an estimated $77 billion dollars. Over 80% of these developers are male-let’s work to close the tech gender gap together.