Getting Started with Technovation
"The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them."
–Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and President of Liberia
Why you should code
Congratulations on joining Technovation! Are you ready to learn how you can change the world with code? Through Technovation, you'll learn how to design and code your own mobile app, but let's take a minute to talk about what coding is and why you should code. Code is the way that people talk to computers, and make computers do awesome things! Code is everywhere—you probably use things that were made with code multiple times a day without even realizing it. What are some of the things you like that are created with code?
There’s lots of fun things to do with code, but did you know that you can also help people with code? Here are some examples:
"It was almost like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, I suddenly felt that I could have super powers through coding, it was magical! I started to realize that coding can really change the world, whether it’s a tool, an education app or a health tracking device. All of them have the potential to change people’s lives."
–Emma Yang, 2015 Technovation Finalist
Women inventors and coders
Did you know what women throughout history have contributed a lot more to science than most people realize?
You’ve may have heard of the accomplishments of men like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. But did you know that the history of computer science has also been filled with women coders? Most of these women were hardly recognized for their contributions during their lifetimes, but have been influential over time and have made a deep impact on computer science. Here are some of the women below:
Ada was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She lived a very long time ago in the 1850s. Ada is often credited as being the first programmer ever because she wrote the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. She also developed a vision of computers to go beyond calculating and be used as a collaborative tool with her idea of "poetical science”. Today, we definitely use computers in ways that Ada envisioned! Ada paved the way for inventions that people enjoy all around the world.
Grace was the first person to compile, or translate, computer code into another language. Computer code looks like this: 00011001111000. It is not easily understood by humans. Grace translated it in something we can understand like this: “print ‘hello world’”. Her inventions have allowed for the evolution of programming languages that are easy to use just like the one you will be learning in Technovation!
Adele was a computer scientist at Xerox PARC in the 1960s and helped create a programming language called Smalltalk. Many of the concepts developed by Adele and her team became the basis for graphically based user interfaces. You use a graphically based user interface every time you use a phone or a computer. It means you can click on icons and see pictures and buttons. Computers used to be command line based systems, and programmers had to type everything in line by line to communicate with these machines. Graphically based interfaces dramatically changed the way people use computers and are the reason so many people around the world can use phones and computers today.
Learn more about Adele Goldberg here
"I have coded before, but never coded a real product that others could use".
–Technovation Alumna (2016)
As a coder you can make a difference! From addressing issues of water shortage and garbage disposal in your community to connecting youth to interesting volunteer opportunities and helping people with disabilities, you can use technology to address any problem in your community. You can learn how to dream, think, plan, create and build something that can make the world better in your community or region. And you will not be doing it alone! You’ll get the tools, training and mentors to help you make it happen. And of course you’ll have your teammates!
Technovation is the largest global technology entrepreneurship program for girls—reaching 10,000 girls in 78 countries over the past 6 years.
- 10,000 girls have participated in Technovation from over 78 countries
- Over 1,700 mobile apps have been created by Technovation participants
- Over 2,400 professional women have built a global network of support for Technovation girls as their coaches, mentors, and regional ambassadors
Here’s what you’ll learn while changing a part of the world:
You'll learn how to make a mobile app and test it on your phone.
You’ll learn how to build a business by developing a business plan and marketing your app.
You'll learn how work to together with a team to make it all happen.
You'll learn to bring your ideas to life and present your solution in front of an audience.
So how do you want to use code to change the world? Here are some questions to think about to get you started!
- If you could use code to create anything, what would you create?
- What is a problem in your community that you would like to address?
Try to come up with a specific idea for an app! Check out these examples from past Technovation seasons for more inspiration!
Apps to fight hunger
Apps to stop violence
Make a change!
Are you ready to learn how to code and to make a difference in your community? Get started with the Technovation curriculum.
What to do next:
- Get started building your team! Log into my.technovationchallenge.org. The Technovation Build a Team unit walks through all the steps to creating your team.