Somerset Times

Tech Girl Ambassadors at Somerset College

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 10, Term Three, 2017

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Somerset College’s Blue Screen team have now been named as Tech Girls are Superheroes 2018 Ambassadors, aligning perfectly with how they represent the College. The team were one of three finalists at the Tech Girls are Superheroes 2017 QLD/National Showcase event, recently held at The Cube, QUT.

The Blue Screen team members - Valerie Fang, Rhiannon Lloyd, Azaria Barr-Hamilton and Cassidy Fifield - one 404 Not Found team member Eliza Folliot, a group of parents and their coach, Mrs Elke Schneider attended the showcase event with much excitement. The audience was inspired by fantastic female presenters including Jenine Beekhuyzen, Tech Girls Movement Founder and CEO of Adroit Research, Leeanne Enoch the State Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, Moe Winn an Associate Professor at QUT, Robyn Elliott the CIO of Fairfax Media and Orla Fourie from Innovation Labs at Suncorp Group.

After missing out on a win (see them being announced as finalists here), the Blue Screen team are already thinking about how they can improve in next year's competition.

Somerset Tech Girls are role models for all students, showing young people females can be entrepreneurs, who very capable of creating apps and working with Digital Technologies. You cannot be what you cannot see!

By participating in the Tech Girls are Superheroes competitions we are now ensuring that our young girls see other girls having fun, collaborating within teams, creating with Digital Technologies and enjoying becoming entrepreneurs.

The team C Sharp, with their Go Fish app idea, recently received the Tech Girls are Superheroes 2017 UN Education Award. The Go Fish app is a fun, interactive game-based app idea. Team C Sharp focused their startup app on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Environment theme. Their app's purpose was to build awareness about the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef and this was done through an augmented reality game where the player catches fish while also learning about the reef.

This competition is NOT just about creating an app.

There is so much more to this competition than ‘coding’. Each team is coached as if they are a startup business. Below is a list of tasks each team completes, much of which is documented in their comprehensive Business Plans.

• Identify and understand their target audience through surveys and interviews.

• Analyse target market surveys, interviews and research, and then consider the startup's product viability in the current/future market. Conduct basic statistical analysis, identify data trends and develop effective graphs/charts to represent the data.

• Consider whether the startup should be defined as For Profit or Social Enterprise. I teach students about social enterprises and how they are an increasing business model.

• Identify, contact, negotiate and formalise potential partnerships with existing organisations.

• Conduct comparative market analysis. It is important app ideas are useful or have an interesting difference to similar apps on the market. Analysing the market may also help the teams consider more innovative ways to improve their app.

• Wireframe the app. This is where the team designs the skeleton or blueprint of how their app will look. This allows developers to organise elements on app screens, consider app element placement and the ease of functionality. The wireframe process is iterative; teams initially sketch out wireframes on a whiteboard, they may not like how the screen looks or they realise a certain design is difficult to setup in the development stage, they then tweak/edit the wireframe.

• Learn to program. Most students use MIT App Inventor but the Blue Screen team learned to use xCode (Apple Mac). It's pretty magical when 14 to 16 year old students decide on their own to learn a text-based programming language for the competition.

• Prototype the app. Repeatedly test the functionality of the app, tweak the code, test the functionality of the app again, test for the effectiveness of the User Interface (UI) and the User Experience (UX), tweak/add code, change app screen layout etc., and repeat!

• Prepare a pitch video. Take video of skits, presentations and ensure each team member is included. Mash-up the video, images, text and music, to create a professional pitch video that will highlight the purpose and function of the app.

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