Technovation GirlsBC Showcase: BCIT students mentoring the next generation of changemakers

After a busy four months, the Technovation GirlsBC projects are ready for viewing. We caught up with BCIT project lead Erika Ram last month to learn more about this BCIT Computing community outreach activity.

Every year, Technovation inspires and empowers girls to build and leverage technology to positively impact their communities. With the support of volunteer mentors, young women aged 10-18 work in teams to code mobile apps that address real-world problems they’ve identified.

Through the winter and early spring, teams ideated a concept, created a pitch video and business plan, developed and tested their app, and finally made a demo video. From education on teen mental health issues to personal safety, the apps take on many community issues and challenges.

Teamwork propels SteadyTrack

Five grade ten students in Port Coquitlam, Maile, Regan, Stella, Anna, and Natalie, identified a gap in their own lives. They saw busy students struggling to gather relevant activity history for post-secondary, scholarship, and job applications. Their app, SteadyTrack, helps high schoolers keep track of experiences and accomplishments. Users can easily save details needed for future reference, as well as use search functions to access their data for various purposes.

The team emphasizes how much they enjoyed the teamwork and collaboration elements needed to build a product. They also described developing and using a wide range of skills through participating in Technovation:

  • “the creative aspects and problem solving taught us a lot”
  • “on the coding side we had to learn a lot of patience and perseverance”
  • “we explored so many different databases and what API’s are”
  • ” on the business and marketing side, we learned how to reach out and communicate with members of our community”
  • “we have a stronger understanding of how to build up a business plan”
  • “overall as a team, we learned how to deal with conflict and communicate effectively”

Student becomes teacher

young women writes on a whiteboard
SteadyTrack team planning app development

BCIT student Maria Davis mentored the team, meeting with them once a week via Zoom to keep the project on track and help with challenges.

“I think Technovation and project-based coding competitions are some of the best ways to learn how to code, how to work with others, how to work under pressure, and to start thinking like an entrepreneur,” explains Maria. “I’ve learned a lot from my experiences in hackathons and in project courses at BCIT, and it’s also so fun to make something from scratch.”

Maria says the mentoring role was a meaningful experience for her too: “I loved sharing with the team what I’ve learned. It made me realize how much I had progressed as a computing student since starting at BCIT a year and a half ago. Lots of people have helped me throughout my career in computing and it feels great to pay it forward!”

“I’ve learned a lot from my experiences in hackathons and in project courses at BCIT, and it’s also so fun to make something from scratch.” – Maria Davis, Computer Systems Technology student

The public can check out the app showcase and vote for their favourite in the regional competition until May 7. Each team also has the opportunity to participate in the North America-wide competition.  Finally, twelve finalists worldwide will be selected to receive finalist awards and complete at the global World Summit event.

Check out SteadyTrack’s demo video:

BCIT’s involvement in Technovation Girls has been supported by a donation from TD Bank, for which we are grateful. 

Feature photo: Technovation activities timeline (Credit: Technovation Girls)

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