Empowering Tomorrow’s Innovators: Inspiring Change Through Student-Led Software Development Workshops

Embarking on the journey of addressing societal issues through technical solutions is not just a university-level experience; it’s a mindset we should instill in students from an early age. Recognizing this, we brought the innovative concept of “Inspire” to two schools in Victoria, aiming to showcase the incredible possibilities that computer science and software development offer.

In the workshop “Computing & Sustainability,” approximately 60 students engaged weekly in teams of 3 to 4 from September to December 2023, navigating the entire software development process. Guided by the methodology of design thinking, students progressed through phases such as empathizing, problem definition, ideation, and prototyping, ultimately developing their own apps using the MIT App Inventor. All of this was done against the backdrop of exploring how software can address sustainability challenges in our community and globally.

The creativity unleashed by the students is truly inspiring, with apps designed to enhance safety for women and kids in public spaces, facilitate student volunteering for ocean cleanups, simplify volunteering processes for busy young individuals, aid those facing poverty in Downtown Victoria, support criminal record rehabilitation, educate hospitalized children about health and environmental awareness, power classrooms with solar panels, and even teach kids about recycling through an engaging game.

Beyond achieving creative and technical learning objectives, students also gained crucial teamwork skills. They learned how to collaboratively develop and implement ideas, dispelling potential stereotypes about computer science as an individual pursuit. Through this hands-on experience, students were holistically nurtured, potentially enhancing their sense of self-efficacy.

These workshops not only equip students with technical skills but also instill in them the belief that they can be active contributors to positive societal change through the transformative power of technology. By fostering a collaborative and innovative mindset, we’re shaping the next generation of tech-savvy problem solvers and societal change-makers.