Technovation Challenge encourages a suite of transferable skills in our students that reach beyond a traditional, classroom-based computer science curriculum. The curriculum has the direct, hands-on application of creating a personally relevant mobile app instead of taking a programming test in a classroom. The interdisciplinary focus on applied computer science and business encourages girls to work as part of a team to create an original and relevant product. The Pitch events challenge the girls further by asking them to communicate their ideas, process, and final product to an audience and panel of experts.

Our curriculum utilizes App Inventor, a blocks-based language that is ideal for beginners because it is a visual (rather than textual) interface, which demonstrates programming concepts in a very intuitive and straightforward way. App Inventor is used by high-level universities such as MITUSF, and Wellesley, as well as other youth-oriented app development programs such as Apps for Good.

Video of Prof. Hal Abelson from MIT talking about App Inventor.

In addition to programming, the Technovation curriculum also teaches students the basic fundamentals of entrepreneurship through a philosophy known as Lean. The Lean methodology is taught by 9 of the top 10 U.S. business schools and recommended by Sheryl Sandberg. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, was a guest speaker in the 2012 Technovation program (see video below).