Technovation is an international program that teaches mobile app development, entrepreneurship, and community engagement to girls aged 10 to 18 around the world. Each year between December and May, MassTLC’s Education Foundation hosts the MA and RI regional competition round. In 2018, nearly 300 girls participated and over 140 pitched at our regional showcase. Six local teams even advanced to the international semi-finals this year.
What happens when the local competition ends? A lot! Even when the workshops stop and the teams disband until next year, those of us on the team at MassTLC and Technovation are constantly meeting and thinking about how to make things better.
As a Regional Ambassador for Technovation, I am a member of an international tribe of amazing people who work exceptionally hard for the benefit of the girls in their regions year round. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel out to San Jose, California, with other regional ambassadors from all over the world to attend workshops, discuss the future, and even watch the final World Pitch.
Our workshop day happened Tuesday, August 6th, with the pitches happening Wednesday evening, and the celebration and awards on Thursday night. Since there were so many of us from all different backgrounds, we began with some fun icebreakers (I was excited to share my “most memorable moment,” which was learning that Massachusetts had two teams in the World Pitch in 2015!).
Once we had introduced ourselves, we went to work reviewing our accomplishments of the prior season with stats. One thing that really stood out to me was that, across the globe, still only about half the teams have an active mentor – something that lines up with my experience running Technovation in MA. This is something that we definitely want to work on here next year. Overall, the numbers are good, but of course, there are always things that we can do to improve.
Later, all of us RAs were asked to share our challenges and best practices for each of four categories, Fundraising, Event Management, Program Support, and Student Safety/Data Security. This activity especially made me realize that the MA and other US-based regions are very lucky; in other parts of the world, there is no automatic background checking of mentors like there is here. For this reason, safety became the number one topic of the group discussion. Other topics of focus in this workshop session included alumni, teacher resources, parent engagement, and student retention.
We also discussed some big changes to the curriculum – things that I can’t reveal yet, but stay tuned! We will post an update on the MassTLC blog once we get the final details. As far as the website goes, onboarding will be much easier and more straightforward than in the past.
The day ended with two regional ambassador led sessions and, finally, with an engaging keynote address from the CEO and Founder of Iridescent and Technovation, Tara Chklovski.
My biggest takeaways from the day?
- Almost all regions have an underserved population, whether it’s rural, inner city, or immigrant, and most of these communities experience similar challenges.
- The true focus of Technovation is not the apps or the competition, but rather, in the building the girls themselves. Building self-confidence, self-efficacy, and career options are the priority, everywhere in the world.
Technovation truly is an incredible community, working on big things. I am so happy to be a part of it and to be able to share the Technovation mission locally with the young women of MA and RI each year.
Registration for Technovation 2019 opens on October 1. We are always looking for new teams, volunteers, mentors, and supporters – we hope you’ll join us this year! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.