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Girls Adventures in Math, Engineering, and Science (GAMES)

Girls Adventures in Math, Engineering, and Science (GAMES)

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Program Summary

“Girls Adventures in Math, Engineering, and Science (GAMES): App Development Camp” is seeking partial funding of participant expenses, including funding for follow-up outreach events, as part of a one-week residential camp at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. App Development 2013 is available to twenty campers. GAMES encourages high school girls to express themselves creatively through computing and mathematics. During App Development Camp, participants will design and build Android applications and participate in group problem solving tasks as they learn computer science concepts.

In addition to app development, camp will include demonstrations, guest presentations, hands-on activities, and networking opportunities with women in related technical fields. Each camper will receive a Nexus 7 tablet for testing apps, a developer license for distributing apps, programming skills, design techniques, and an online community for sharing opportunities and encouragement. Participants will develop apps using new digital tools and programs, such as AppInventor.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 25% of professional computing occupations in the 2011 U.S. workforce were held by women. A primary goal of GAMES Camp is to connect high school age girls with similar interests. Another goal is to provide opportunities for the campers to meet successful women who have technical careers. Peer-learning will be encouraged through an openly-networked Internet Relay Chat channel. A Facebook community offers interaction and support, while real-time, online commenting during activities allows campers to participate in fluid discussions with peers and instructors through sharing and giving feedback.

After Camp a participant may compete for funding to support her own outreach efforts to teach app development. A camper who receives this award will volunteer to lead an app development session with others in her school or as part of a program arranged by a local community organization.


Participants will use the Nexus 7 tablet’s camera to video blog about their experience. At the end of every day, they will interview their partner on camera regarding progress on their app. In addition, when they hit a problem, they will formalize their thought process by explaining their problem to the camera before raising their hand for help. Once the problem is resolved, they will explain the solution in an interview. The video blog will be a journalistic report of their week at Camp.

Using MIT’s AppInventor software, participants will create apps for the Nexus 7 tablets in a hackathon style. Two-person teams will work intensively on a project, designing and creating their own Android apps. At the end of the week, apps will be distributed on the Play Store, which is available to the public. Through the program, participants will have the creative and technical experience of developing an app from an idea to a fully-featured end product.
Raspberry Pi arduino devices will be used to explore Cyber Security and learn about connecting safely to the Internet. In one exercise, participants will receive an email from a fictitious person containing a photoshopped image. Using the Raspberry Pi’s, participants will learn how to determine the origination location of the email, and how to determine that the image was photoshopped. This experience will empower participants through knowledge, help them confront cyberbullying, and learn to communicate responsibly through the Internet. Cybersecurity activities actively support online privacy, while empowering participants to handle toxic online interactions.

In testing labs, participants will evaluate several new apps each day on their Nexus 7 tablet. They will evaluate the app’s design decisions and describe how the app could have been made more effective.

We will foster an ongoing, online relationship between counselors, leaders, and participants through Facebook and Internet Relay Chat (IRC). An IRC channel will be provided via the Nexus 7 tablets for the participants to communicate during the week and ask questions during group work times to practice online communication skills. A more permanent relationship will be maintained via a Facebook group, allowing the participants to form an ongoing community, and inform each other of important and relevant opportunities. Guest speakers at GAMES Camp help create a shared-purpose between adults and students, through their common interest in technology.

A large aspect of GAMES camp is leadership experience. Therefore, at the end of camp, participants will have the opportunity to compete for funding and volunteer to take their newly-acquired knowledge back to their own communities and share it with others. This funding will be used to purchase developer licenses for attendees at GAMES participants’ programs, room rentals, and other necessary materials.

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