09/17/2014 10:58 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Lots of Talk About Girls in Tech: Where Are the Results?

2014 is shaping up to be the Year of Code -- everyone is talking about the importance of computer science education.

We've recently seen lots of coverage about the lack of women in tech, from Google's Made with Code initiative that spurred industry giants to share their diversity data, to the recent spate of nonprofits addressing this lack of diversity.

The problem is definitely very big and pressing and everyone is talking about it. But no one is really talking about what is working.

We have been running Technovation for more than 5 years now and have developed a model through a single minded devotion to program implementation and iteration. The model has now scaled globally (map of teams from 2014 below), has had proven longitudinal impact - and has created technology solutions of real-world relevance and potential.

What worked for us was to develop a curriculum that incorporated the five principles of motivating self-regulated learners. These principles were developed by educational psychologist Pintrich and are essentially the basis of good games or constructivism:
  • Self-efficacy - you feel capable of being successful at a task/lesson
  • Task value - you see the relevance of the task/lesson to your life
  • Choice - you have choice in activities so that you are invested in them
  • Attributions- activities should provide early successes so that you can overcome any prior negative attributions
  • Knowledge - lessons should scaffold concepts so that you have the understanding needed to participate fully

To the above list, we added technology as a means to scale and maintain quality.

This gallery of ALL the mobile apps and business plans developed by the Technovation teams of 2014 (362 in total) shows the richness and diversity of what our twelve-week curriculum produces. The curriculum empowers girls who never thought of themselves as programmers or entrepreneurs -- to identify a pressing problem and program an innovative, tech solution.
This gallery is the first of its kind - a completely unique collection of tech solutions created by young girls, for the world as they experience it.
Here are a few apps that show how girls can change the world when given the opportunity.

Field tripper created by one of our middle school teams, reduces paperwork for parents and teachers. Teachers can create permission slips, share them, and receive parents' signatures in real-time. The bus tracking feature allows parents to avoid waiting for a late bus, and the trip itinerary feature provides students with access to the trip itinerary at all times.

This high school team of girls created TimeOut that helps athletes collect baseline data to track possible concussions. Their app requires athletes to consistently take a baseline test every two weeks during season and gathers data from those assessments. The information is then stored in a database which coaches can access. In the event of a head injury, TimeOut also provides users with an on-site version of a concussion test, the results of which are then compared to the baseline assessments, providing an athlete with a rudimentary diagnosis and information for a doctor to then analyze.

Girls from Dharavi, Mumbai, one of the world's largest slums, programmed an app to give safety to girls and women anywhere at any time of day or night. It helps the user connect with their parents and loved ones through features like call, sms, locate me with one click. An emergency siren helps alert others nearby to come to the user's aid.

This team from Moldova programmed an app to help users find wells with clean water. None of the water in their community is potable. Their app provides a map which shows the locations of all the wells in the area. Each well has been either tested by the team for chemicals, micro-organisms, and heavy metals; or reviewed by a user based on the appearance, smell, and taste of the water.

Always. Like a Girl.