St Joseph’s Lochinvar Virtual Academy student’s winners in Tech Girls Competition

Four students from St Joseph’s Catholic College, Lochinvar have been successful in winning the NSW Secondary School Regional division in the 2019 Tech Girls Movement Competition.

Known as the ‘A Team’, Layne Wilks, Emily Pockett, Isabel O’Brien and Violet O’Brien, who are in Year 8 and part of the Virtual Academy program, wanted to incorporate the competition, which is all about giving girls access to technology and programs to build their skills and confidence, into their current learning.

Working maturely and consistently on their app design over semester one of the program, the group had to collaborate as a team, engage with their coach for fortnightly video conferences, take on board feedback from a variety of sources, organise their school commitments alongside their Tech Girls activities and negotiate their learning with their class teachers and Gifted Education Mentor, Kate Hart.

The girls also navigated tricky time zones to engage with Tech Girls mentor, Rachael Richards, the Global Head of Manager Capability at Salesforce in San Francisco.

Their conversations with Rachael involved learning more about what is involved with real-world app start up scenarios such as raising revenue and users, purpose and audience, budgeting, advertising and creating a credible business image.

Rachael was an incredible help to the girls in providing a real life perspective on creating and managing an app.

Their final app, ‘Avo’ (Awesome Vibes Online), provides a medium to educate people about safety online while also acting as a platform for people to report potential online threats to others’ wellbeing.

This app allows parents and teachers to be aware of the online threats that exist for their children and students such as cyberbullying, inappropriate sexual and violent content, grooming and unsafe viral social media trends.

The app also uses data analysis to raise awareness of these threats before they cause harm.

Avo is unique because it is preventative, stopping the threat before it influences a young individual’s health, whereas most other apps about online safety are reactionary or are only one aspect of the many uses of the app. 

The submission involved putting together an app name and logo, a viable business plan, a pitch video, a tutorial video, as well as a wireframe and app prototype.

A big thank you must go to the principal of St Joseph’s, Trish Hales and Assistant Principal of Curriculum, Liz Stokes, for supporting the A Team’s involvement in the Virtual Academy and Tech Girls Movement.

The girls have received feedback on their app and have been given the opportunity to submit it to Technovation Girls, which is a global competition.

The team found the competition to be a ‘valuable and enjoyable experience’ and an opportunity to learn ‘lots about the world of coding, business, advertising, pitching and entrepreneurship’.

Congratulations A Team for your incredible app!

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