In a 12-week programme, high school girls from New York public schools learn to develop Android apps and start their own businesses. Under the East Coast Technovation Challenge, female volunteer mentors introduce these girls to high-tech entrepreneurship in Google’s New York offices.
With little or no coding experience, the girls are grouped into fives and paired with two mentors to learn programming basics and are now able to design user interfaces, develop prototype apps and business models with a visual programming language called Google App Inventor for Android.
These are then presented to a panel of judges and venture capitalists with the winning team’s concept developed by professionals with the girls’ input and releasd in the Android Marketplace. Amongst the prototypes is an app where the player has to defeat hissing snakes by solving a math problem. There was also cake-decorating interface that would allow customers to select and order from a palette of flavours and frosting designs.
This programme is part of the Technovation Challenge started in 2010 by Iridescent Learning, a science-education nonprofit that helps engineers, scientists and high-tech professionals bring cutting edge science, technology and engineering to high school girls, and underprivileged minority children and their families.
Said Tara Chklovski, Founder and CEO of Iridescent, “The goal of this programme is to encourage girls to become inventors, builders and designers—not just technology users.”
The “National Pitch Night”, where the winning team will be found, will have on 21 May 2011 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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