Kiama kids prepare for Tech Girls challenge

Six budding entrepreneurs from Kiama Public School are putting themselves to the test by taking part in the Tech Girls Superhero challenge.

Teacher librarian Robyn Etherton believes it is the first time students from the area have taken part in the Tech Girls Movement initiative.

“Students make up teams and they enter a competition to design an app which will provide a service to the community or school,” she said.

“Hopefully they will have fun and learn a lot along the way.”

Mentor and coach Lauren Purcell said it was a good introduction for students to coding.

“They’re using a program called MIT App Inventor and it’s a bit like building a puzzle, they can drag the pieces they need to program all the features and components of their app,” Mrs Purcell said. 

“It’s not just trying to manipulate their mind around the very complex coding language, it’s colourful and really appeals to students.” 

Matilda Povea-Purcell and Sophie Stewart.

Matilda Povea-Purcell and Sophie Stewart.

Mrs Purcell said the challenge also helped young girls develop entrepreneurial skills.  

“Not only are they building the app, they’re designing a business plan and at the end of the day they pitch their idea for the app to a judging panel, who will then rank them,” she said.

“Hopefully they will do well.”

The six girls have been divided in two groups for the challenge.

“The year-six girls are building an anti-bullying app, which will provide information support networks for people who are going through bullying, particularly primary school age kids,” Mrs Purcell said.

“They’re building a button into that a system which users can push to send a message to a welfare team at the school.

“The younger girls are building an app specific to Kiama, called Kiama Kids Care, which will encourage random acts of kindness, get local businesses to provide prizes, encourage kids to take part and make Kiama a better place.”

Year- six student Sophie Yates is excited to be taking part in the Tech Girls Superhero challenge.

“I think it’s really awesome that we get to create an app that we believe is going to help someone or lots of people,” she said

“It’s lots of fun creating the app and looking into coding.”

Kiama MP Gareth Ward visited the students on Wednesday to chat with them about the competition.

Mica Heslop was delighted when Mr Ward announced he would take them to Parliament and meet the minister if they developed the apps.

““I was really excited, it will be awesome,” she said.

“It’s just been really fun, with technology it’s always fun to learn something new and it will be good for us in the future.” 

Nicola Porritt and Daisy Laird.

Nicola Porritt and Daisy Laird.

Mr Ward said he was thrilled and impressed with what was happening at Kiama Public School.

“All of these girls can be very proud of the fact they are trailblazers here at Kiama Public School,” he said.

“These days, technology is so nimble, mobile, and dynamic, that it’s important it is in our schools and that there are opportunities for young people to experience what they can achieve.

“Today is a real tangible example of students been given opportunities to reach their full potential by expanding into areas that you and I would have never had.”

Mr Ward said we live in a time of great change.

“Understanding how to influence that change can start at primary school,” he said.

“Can you imagine what these girls will be able to achieve?

“We could have a founder here of something which doesn’t exist yet, and it’s the education they’re receiving at Kiama Public School that will give them that opportunity – that is not only brilliant, but exciting.”