3 years ago
This first annual DSBN CODE girl CODE Technovation Challenge introduced students and teachers from Applewood; Beamsville; McKay; Kate S. Durdan; Connaught; River View; Burleigh Hill; Forestview; Harriet Tubman; Westmount; James Morden; Wellington Heights; Pine Grove; Westdale; DSBN Academy; E.I McCulley; St Davids Academy and Port Weller to the mission embedded in the mixed-curriculum offered by Technovation - to empower girls to get involved in the tech industry. Last year Jill Russell, a secondary teacher at the DSBN Academy and now Technovation Master Educator participated in the challenge for the first time and was invited to attend the World Pitch Competition in Silicon Valley and has been carrying the Technovation torch from Silicon Valley to Niagara ever since. This September she teamed up with the Educational Research & Innovation Hub with a mission to spread this empowering challenge across the District School Board of Niagara. So by now you must be wondering, what exactly is the Technovation Challenge? The Technovation Challenge is a program that calls upon students to become technology entrepreneurs. Using coding as an entry point, students are challenged to develop a mobile app that solves a real problem in their local community and aligns with one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They then harness their business skills and compete for a chance to pitch their product in Silicon Valley at the World Pitch Competition against teams from around the world. The Challenge invites students ages 10-18 (grades 4-12) to participate with varying program requirements. For example, the Junior grade level participants do not have to complete the entrepreneurial step while the seniors must. Our CODE girl CODE Challenge kicked off with a well received Teacher’s Edition in November - from there, interested Educators became mentors and came back with students for an Introductory kick-off session during Hour of Code Week in December and along the teams went. Using the hashtag #CODEgirlCODE, we followed the teams from ideation through iteration and into the prototype stage. We invited the teams back to ihub in April to present their app ideas to a panel of judges from ihub, DSBN & Brock University where teams received feedback for their video pitch submissions. Here, teams were invited to participate in the CONNECT Education Conference where they could pitch their app ideas to attendees in the Social Innovation and Interactive Zone - this was a huge hit among CONNECT attendees and great practice for the teams that attended the Toronto Regional Pitch Competition at IBM Headquarters in Markham. Teams from McKay; Westmount; Harriet Tubman; DSBN Academy; E.I McCulley; St Davids Academy and Port Weller ventured to the big city for a chance to guarantee their way into the semifinals by pitching to expert judges, among them, Angel investors, industry professionals, IBM employees and faculty from Waterloo University. These young ladies represented DSBN well with help from their mentors, swiping the Junior division. Westmount took home a gold, St.David’s took home silver and Port Weller took home bronze - all three advancing to the semifinals. We are so proud of every single one of the participating teams and their journeys and we cannot wait to see what their next entrepreneurial endeavour.