36 hours in Portland told me two things: that the Ace Hotel is the most hipstery place in Portland (even inspiring a Portlandia spoof!) and that we have a real chance at getting more girls into technology.
Last week, AppCamp4Girls invited me up to Portland to give feedback on the finished apps that came out of their beta camp. AppCamp4Girls takes girls age 12-14 and helps them spend a week learning how to make iPhone apps. During camp, the girls break into teams and cover brainstorming, storyboarding, design, and marketing. Project leaders then show the girls how the apps are built in Xcode and also help them dig into the code themselves.
Girls in last week’s beta camp made quiz apps — the kind that tell you what kind of Greek god you are or what kind of breakfast food you preferred. The girls came up with strategies around monetization and pricing and had genius ideas for more complex apps. For many of them, this was their first experience building anything technical.
Middle school is the perfect time to get girls interested in technology. They’re smart and curious and haven’t been completely convinced that math, science and technology is something that they can’t do.
One of the girls described another tech camp she went to as ‘very boy-heavy’. Girls need a space where their ideas are important…even if that idea is just a fashion app.
In true entrepreneurial fashion, Jean MacDonald and her team are taking an iterative approach, launching with a small alpha camp in March, the beta camp last week, leading up to a full app camp in August.
App camp isn’t just about teaching girls how to build apps. It gives them a community of women who serve as inspiration — female iOS developers to teach them code, supportive designers and technologists, and experienced women entrepreneurs to give them feedback on demo day.
AppCamp4Girls is still raising money, so please donate to get more girls interested in mobile app development.
Here’s to making the tech industry a little less ‘boy-heavy’.