The entire Technovation team in Paul Marques' room. Photo submitted by Paul Marques.
Technovation is a program for girls in technology here at Malden High School, run by advisor Paul Marques. In this program, the girls can work alone or form groups to make an app that can help solve an issue in their community. The five girls in this year's Technovation are juniors Yuliya Smilyanova, Biruki Tsige, Helen Eshetu, Nicole Chen, and senior Samrawit Eshetu.
Junior Yuliya Smilyanova, a member of the Technovation team, shared that “for [their] app [they] wanted to help and bring the Malden community together and [that] is why [they] created a community bulletin board or CBD for short.” She went on to say that “during brainstorming [they] saw that a lot of Malden kids [wanted] to have job opportunities. But “there is a lot of information around, like the elections that not a lot of people know about, and through the app, [they] can see what is going on with the community.”
Smilyanova continued by stating that “[when using the app] people can post things that are happening [in the community] for other people to see.” She also said that “people can also post job openings with information about it, so that people are able to see what is happening around their community.”
The app, as Smilyanova shared, is also designed with “different categories [that people can view] like 'News', 'School', 'Job Internship', 'Entertainment', and 'Explore Your City'.” Member Birukti Tsgie programmed Malden Square into the app and other places around Malden like New York Pizza in which gives its users information about that specific place.
The team used app inventor to create their app and “wanted it to be a feed like how Instagram and Facebook are, but app inventor had its limitations.” She emphasized how “[they] were able to create most of it like the login page, the different categories, and the explore your city feature”, but the feature to post is not quite available yet.
In the “Explore Your City” feature of the app, the user is able to click on a business or city landmark and they are able to see pictures of the place. There is also a button that tells the user a description that can be read out loud describing the place and location.
Smilyanova said that “[they] want to continue working on the app for next year and [they] want to use a different program to create the app like Android Studios.” With a different program like Android Studios, they feel like they “can improve it and actually get it to work like what [they] want it to do.”
During the Technovation Showcase there were four teams, including the Technovation team which consisted of several judges that walked around and asked them what their apps were about. The Technovation Showcase was located at Wentworth Institute of Technology.
Smilyanova said that “Mr. Marques and students from computer science had also helped [them] with making the app.” She said that “they had helped [them] with feedback and what [they] should include.” Leading up to the summer, the team is looking forward to “[playing] around with Android Studios and looking up tutorials” in order to improve their app for users. “When the school year comes back around again [they] want to start creating the app” and look forward to having a fully functional app.
Smilyanova was introduced to the app during her freshman year but she never got the chance to do it. She said “this year [she] though that [she] could give it a try and [she] really liked it and [she] wants to continue it next year.”
Smilyanova said that “[she] feels like there are not enough girls that know what Technovation is and wants to get more girls aware about it.” She said that “these girls can work together in this project in trying to solve a problem.”
Technovation is something that allows girls to work on technology that can help solve problems in the world or in their community. Any girl from any grade can join the technovation team and help solve problems with apps and help people in their community.