Written for the Somerset Times, Somerset College (published date: 5 August 2016)
The importance of promoting innovation in our young people is imperative to ensure a competitively successful future for Australia. Our government recognises this and has implemented new initiatives such as the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The ‘Ideas Boom’, although fraught with controversy, does reflect the nation’s general focus on being innovative, promoting STEM and encouraging start-ups. The beauty of the Tech Girls are Superheroes competition is that it involves both promoting a start-up culture and increasing girls’ interest in technology.
The Somerset College Tech Girls teams have worked hard to design and develop new apps that help the community. We have two teams, five girls in Year 8 and 3 girls in Year 9. These teams have collaborated for over a term and have learned how to create an android app and to develop a business plan for entry into the Tech Girls are Superheroes competition. The teams had to identify and survey their target market and also analyse current competition to their apps. App design principles needed to be understood and implemented within their own apps. Learning computer programming fundamentals and understanding how to use MIT App Inventor was the most challenging task for the teams. The girls learned how to deal with disappointment and how to implement app functionality changes when they were unable to make their original vision into reality.
Just like in a start-up business, implementing new ideas, or suggesting changes in the workplace, there will always be a time when you will need to pitch an idea. Pitching an idea is an excellent way to sell your idea and it requires that you have an in-depth understanding of your idea and its potential impact. The Somerset College Tech Girls teams were required to pitch their app idea through a short video presentation. The girls had to plan a sequence, or story-board, for their video, which included speech writing, collecting image resources and finding people who could help them record and mash-up their final videos. The timeframe to complete the pitch videos was anxiously short but the Tech Girls teams, Mrs Elke Schneider (teacher coach), Mr Grant Peel (video mash-up genius) & Mr Phillip Shapcott (video recorder), all managed to complete it and submit it to the competition on the due date last week. This competition has been exciting and the girls have had the benefit of experiencing the various elements involved in starting a business with an innovative idea.