By Frances Dinkelspiel Berkeleyside The mood was serious at 8:00 am Saturday April 27 at the DavidBrower Center. Fifty girls from Berkeley and Albany high schoolswere milling around the lobby in anticipation of showing off theAndroid apps they had spent weeks designing. In one corner was a team of five girls from Berkeley High with EcoPrint, an app that helps people trace their carbonfootprint. It s like a quiz. It asks questions to get a sense of yourimpact on the environment, like how many times did you eat meat ordo you drive, said Lauren Hoffman, a junior in Berkeley High sInternational Program. |
Then we give them suggestions on how toreduce their carbon imprint. In the opposite corner another Berkeley High team was showing off Connect the Stars, an app that teaches kids about theconstellations. It s like connect the dots, said Donntay Moore-Thomas, asenior in the International Program. It helps children learnabout the constellations in an engaging and fun way. In between were nine other teams that had designed a wide varietyof Android apps, from the NapApp, that helps students managetheir daily schedule so they get enough sleep, all while teachingabout the science of sleep, to Cram Jam, a video-sharing mobileapp that uses teacher-created videos to teach subjects.
The creations were the result of an innovative non-profit program called Technovation Challenge which is trying to bring more women and more diversity into thetechnology field by exposing young girls to the industry. During a10-week program, the girls learn computer programming, come up withan idea for an app, research the competition, develop a businessplan and learn about high-tech entrepreneurship. The program, which was started in 2010 by the Los Angeles-basedscience education non-profit, Iridescent , is broadly supported by some of the country s most successfultech companies. Sponsors include Google, Microsoft, Zynga, BerkeleyLab, Ask.com, Disney, Salesforce.com, and many more.
The biggest problem we are trying to solve at TechnovationChallenge is one of confidence, said AnnaLise Hoopes, thedirector of educational and corporate partnerships at Iridescent. Women tend to leave the STEM (Science, technology, engineeringand mathematics) world because of a lack of self-confidence. Wewant to give the girls a taste of the rewards of innovation so theycan go on to build something later on. Continue reading ….
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