Michelle Lange, a writer and designer living in Chicago, contributes to the Inspiring Success – Creating IT Futures blog. This article shares with us a recap regarding the first Designing Mobile Apps TechShop in a Box held in Chicago for the Girl Scouts. The full article was originally published October 31, 2017 on the Creating IT Futures blog.
Girl Scouts plan, prototype and practice UX design in an app design workshop by TechGirlz and Creating IT Futures.
Girl Scouts from Gary, Hammond and Merrillville, Indiana, were so into learning about technology that they loaded onto a bus at 7 a.m. on a Saturday and drove all the way to Chicago for an imagination-based approach to app design.
“We’re thinking about things like function, features and flow,” teacher Andrea Davis-Baptiste told the girls after they’d jumped into the workshop, developed by TechGirlz and delivered to the Girl Scouts with funding from Creating IT Futures. Davis-Baptiste is a programming and computer literacy skills teacher who volunteered to run the day’s TechShopz in a Box workshop, Designing Mobile Apps. “What problems does it solve for people and why would someone need or want this app?”
In the technology room of St. Agatha’s News School in Douglas Park, the fourth through eighth grade girls took time to brainstorm, collaborate and consider each other’s ideas.
“We’ve got them prototyping and learning the terminology,” said Georgetta Davis, who mentors and assistant teaches with her daughter, Davis-Baptiste, through Eminent Group Consultants. “It’s also an approach to technology using collaboration and teamwork.”
Through the step-by-step lesson, the Girl Scouts got deep into questions about user personas and what kinds of action buttons would look best. They spent the morning playing, thinking and drawing, and also learned wire framing, paper prototyping and why addressing the user experience (UX) is essential to any good technology design.
TechGirlz is a Philadelphia-based organization that has reached 10,000 girls over the past five years with engaging TechShopz that teach everything from putting a computer together to coding to robotics.
Girls Scouts has its own STEM programming but routinely collaborates with other nonprofits to maximize science and tech learning for its girls. These particular Girl Scouts were part of a special program called Girl Space, which helps fund programming in low-income neighborhoods. The TechGirlz / Girl Space collaboration will involve two groups of Girl Scouts each attending two TechShopz this fall as part of NextUp, an initiative by CompTIA and Creating IT Futures which aims to ignite interest in tech careers among middle-schoolers.