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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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Technovation girls work on Android app

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IMG_3034Female programmers at PHS are rarer than shiny Pokémon. However, one can find the proud few in the Technovation club. The girls of Technovation are programming their own cell phone app.

In the Technovation club, members are trying to create an Android app that can help solve a problem in the community. This project is part of the Technovation challenge sponsored by UC Berkeley where they are encouraging girls to take more part in the fields of technology and computer science.

Assistant advisor to the club, computers teacher Nathan Mattix said Technovation was formed because nationwide, girls have opted out of computer classes. He said many people see this as a real problem because technology is increasing in importance and there are too few people going into this field.

However, the reason the group was formed at PHS was because a group of girls asked for it, he said.

“We took a field trip to UC Berkeley and they made a short presentation about Technovation,” Mattix said. “Afterwards, almost all, perhaps all, of the girls asked me if we could form a club here at PHS.”

Junior Chloe Jiang said if their apps win the challenge, scholarships will be awarded for the winning teams and they will have an app mobilized for the market.

“What I personally hope to accomplish is to inspire girls to have an interest in coding,” Mattix said. “For me, the prize is simply having girls engaged in a field that they normally have not even tried.

Mattix said they are off to a late start this year, as this is their first year. So far, the Technovation club has divided into three teams and some of the girls have started working.

Jiang said they meet up outside of school to discuss ideas and plans on how they want to make the app work, and then collaborate with an app coder to help them program the app.

Sophomore Tiffany Zhou said they also worked thorugh lunches to discuss the development of their app.

“In the beginning we all had a hard time communicating with each other, so I hope by the end we learn how to communicate more,” Zhou said.

Jiang said she thinks everyone in the club works well with each other.

“We’ve gotten more familiar with each other since the club started,” Jiang said. “It’s a nice bonding experience.”

Jiang said the process is very tedious, requiring each member to make time to devote themselves for the project.

“It’s still the beginning stages of the Technovation challenge, but so far I’ve learned that it takes a lot of responsibility and planning just to even create one app,” Jiang said.

Jiang said she joined the Technovation challenge because it seemed like a fun experience.

“It’s an opportunity for me to get a taste of what app making is like,” Jiang said. “I wanted to get a feel of the process. I also already have a great interest in the technology field.”

Mattix said that they have a terrific group of girl programmers at PHS.

“Even though we only have a small group of girls interested in computer programming right now, what they lack in number they make up for in enthusiasm and skill level,” Mattix said.

Mattix said he expects their interest will be contagious and they might change the dynamics of computer education at PHS.

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