Started in December 2018, I volunteered to participate in a mentor training for Technovation. Technovation is a competition that purpose to embrace women in technology and business. So girls around the world would form a team and collaborator together to implement a mobile application and a business model to solve problems in their community. To be honest, I think this is a tremendous opportunity for young girls to demonstrate their greatest ability to the world where historically has been buried down to the ground. That is the reason why I participate as a mentor even though I am a male. One take away from the training is how to be a mature mentor where we not just giving the students an answer rather guiding them through the process.
At the beginning of January 2019, I was officially become a mentor; I felt really proud to be one of the millions who are fighting against the discrimination of women. I was mentoring second cohort students from Liger. Technically, I was a technical mentor (working on developing an application with my students), however, I sometime helping the team on the business model.
The platform that we were using to code the application is Thunkable cross platform. This version of Thunkable allows our team to work with both Android and IOS operating systems. Thunkable uses code block and drag and drop tools; this version is very important to my students to learn the process of creating an application. There were few limits to the platform, although, we still able to find solutions to solve — one of it was related to the database. Here are other platform we were using:
Coding platform: Thunkable X
Database: Google Firebase (Realtime Database)
User Interface: implement from scratch
Being a mentor for 12 weeks (9 hours a week) with the second-cohort, I feel a lot closer to them. We had a lot of fun: we laugh, joked, cried, frustrated, cheered, hopeless, rushed, determine, etc. The first two weeks of mentoring was like riding on bumpy road due to my lack of experience in teaching and the high technical term related to coding. Although, I started to teach them using drawing and visualization of how to append the database with the application. Moreover, my other strategy is to code on the simple side of the app fist which is the UI.
After the 12 weeks mentoring, the team got select to pitch their idea to judges in the national pitch. Before they got selected, they competed with several hardworking teams around Phnom Penh. On the national pitch competition, the team was on fire; they were the initial team to present, and these 13-14 year-old girls rocked the whole conference. The presentation was loud and clear, the information that were given has all what judges needed, the timing of the presentation ended right before the bell ring, and they answer the questions confidently. With theses reason, the team should fit for first place and they did got first place. I am very proud of the team, their hard work paid it forward. I am also very proud to be their mentor, every time I’m in the class, I’m always simile because of them. I am looking forward to hear great news from the team to get another selection from the global Technovaiton Competition.