TechGirlz celebrated a milestone this October: the first workshop powered by TechGirlz free content was held in Chicago. After leading a series of workshops at their headquarters in Philadelphia, Comcast organized a workshop for Chicago Ideas Week, the city where their prototype retail store Studio XFINITY launched this past May. With the help of TechGirlz Community Outreach Manager, Sarah Johnson, five staff members from the Studio XFINITY store led the Designing Mobile Apps workshop for teenage girls from two local nonprofits, supported by Comcast: Little Black Pearl and Mujeres Latinas en Acción. Altogether, the attendees represented diverse geographical and ethnic Chicago populations, as well as a range of interests from arts and culture to leadership and community advocacy, highlighting the fact that technology education is relevant to all disciplines.
At the 90-minute workshop, the girls worked in small groups to come up with an idea for a mobile app and create a digital prototype. They worked through the design process, covering topics such as user journeys and design principles, while they defined the app features and drew the prototype. App ideas the girls came up with included a discount coupon service, a hair style and product guide for different hair types, a group scheduling and planning tool, and a social gaming platform that pits boys against girls. In spite of a mid-workshop rainstorm at the outdoor venue, the groups managed to define a full set of features for each app and to draw the associated screens which were then converted to a digital, interactive prototype using the Prototyping on Paper app.
Although the workshop lasted only 90 minutes, Comcast hopes to continue to engage girls with technology at their Studio XFINITY store in Lincoln Park. They would like to continue to lead the Designing Mobile Apps workshop as a means to not only introduce kids to technology using the newest devices and expertise of their staff but also as a way to connect the local community to the technological possibilities that Studio XFINITY offers. TechGirlz looks forward to supporting Comcast and the community in Chicago as they explore the creative possibilities that technology provides, encouraging more girls to engage with technology. As we have learned in Philadelphia, the demand of girls to learn about tech through hands-on workshops is high – so high that we can’t meet it alone. Our workshop plans are free as is our support so let’s step up together and change the face of tech!