08/15/2020 Designing Mobile Apps Virtual TechShop Recap

Written by volunteer writer Alison Perch

Techshop  introduction slide

Leading a TechShop requires a combination of preparedness and spontaneity. Prithika Hariharan, who led a Designing Mobile Apps virtual TechShop on August 15, learned the value of going with the flow and adapting lessons based on students’ preferences.

In this TechShop, girls selected an app idea, developed a prototype using Marvel (a collaborative design platform), and presented their final products. As part of a software engineering internship over the summer, Prithika was introduced to a tool called Figma to develop prototypes and mock-ups.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the designing process and putting myself in the users’ shoes, which is why I immediately jumped on this opportunity to lead this particular workshop,” Prithika explains.

Though Prithika had never taught this topic before, she enjoyed getting to know her students and teaching them about Marvel.

Prithika also allowed time for open Q&A, so students could ask her questions about technology, university, and her experiences. She was impressed by the girls’ passion for tech at such a young age as well as their inquisitive nature.

“Each of the girls were so curious about coding and building apps, and they asked some really interesting questions pertaining to my major and what I’d done to get to where I was. And because of that, we were able to steer the conversation in a direction I hadn’t foreseen, and it was awesome!” she explains.

While Prithika was well-prepared to run the TechShop, she encountered some unexpected challenges. She had difficulty creating Zoom breakout rooms, though she adapted by switching to Google Meet. Prithika recommends that volunteers test all the technologies they plan on using a day or two in advance. She also wished she allowed more time for Q&A and troubleshooting on the day of the TechShop.

tablet with mobile app prototype

Despite all her careful planning, Prithika enjoyed the spontaneous moments of her TechShop the most.

“The girls and I had the most fun when I let them drive the conversation and went with the flow as opposed to solely sticking to the agenda provided. So, let loose, let the girls drive a good portion of the conversations and go in prepared!” Prithika advises.

Prithika enjoys sharing her love of tech with others, especially underrepresented groups. She also likes analyzing the tech products she uses on a daily basis and looking for ways to make improvements.

“Technology has definitely made it very easy for me to keep in touch with the people that matter most to me, and I want to use technology for the greater good as well. I want to be able to create products and drive the creation of tech that can have a meaningful impact on people, regardless of the size,” Prithika explains.

Prithika found it rewarding to share her knowledge and passion for tech with middle school girls.

“I absolutely loved working with TechGirlz and meeting the girls through the workshop. I am so glad I was able to positively impact the girls and teach them something new, and I look forward to doing more of these in the future!” she says.

You can lead a TechShop, too! Get started today.