Announcing the Winners for the 2019 Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero Competition! #techgirls #STEM #entrepreneurship

Primary School

Anger Switch, Citipointe Christian College, Brisbane, Queensland

The app ‘Anger Switch’ is directed at primary aged boys and girls. The aim of the app is to help young children identify when they are angry and help bring peace, in a fun way, to children. ‘Anger Switch’ uses calming colours, such as pale blue and violet and includes a description of anger, a fun maze and happy music to bring a sense of calmness. Our app has an image recogniser that is sure to bring a good laugh to you and your friends! Through ‘Anger Switch’, children will be supported along the way to making new friends. 

Secondary School

Codie, Salesian College, Sunbury, Victoria

The app Codie has been developed with primary school-aged children in mind, as a tool for early intervention in mental health management.  The app is designed to assist in developing positive coping strategies in young people and was made in liaison with the Salesian College Wellbeing Team. Codie is a gender-neutral character who will check in with young people and offer them some space to get some help with developing skills in reflection, breathing/de-escalation and a planner to help with time management.

With only 2 entries from New Zealand in 2019 we were unable to offer a NZ National Prize.


Codie, Salesian College, Sunbury, Victoria

The app Codie has been developed with primary school-aged children in mind, as a tool for early intervention in mental health management.  The app is designed to assist in developing positive coping strategies in young people and was made in liaison with the Salesian College Wellbeing Team. Codie is a gender-neutral character who will check in with young people and offer them some space to get some help with developing skills in reflection, breathing/de-escalation and a planner to help with time management.


HealthSpot, Emmanuel College, Warrnambool, Victoria

The HealthSpot app is designed for adolescents to educate and reduce stigma around mental health and illness. Included are techniques on how to stay mentally healthy, positively deal with stress as well as information around mental illness and local mental health services. Features include meditation and deep breathing. This app, designed for adolescents by an adolescent, is unique and modern.


KC’s Food Aid, Killester College, Springvale, Victoria

KC’s Food Aid is an app designed to allow restaurants and other food providers to donate leftover food to homeless shelters, giving people who are in need a chance to not sleep hungry, while also minimising food wastage. The app connects food providers and volunteers, who can then deliver surplus food to homeless shelters. Providing a unique opportunity for food providers to easily reduce the amount of food that gets thrown away each day. Homeless shelters are then able to distribute the food amongst those in need, not only helping the community but also the environment. The unique value of this app is that it allows people who usually would not work together to connect and help each other out.


TechTutor, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, North Sydney, NSW

TechTutor is a completely free designing tutorial multiplatform app that teaches young people the basics of design. The app gives tips and tutorials that will teach young children an exceptional amount of knowledge for designing. If the user already has a reasonable knowledge of designing then the app can also direct the user to other useful external links that are more advanced. The app will show good tutorials on the basics of design so students can do exceptional work in school and prepare them for their future. Technology is our future so start learning with TechTutor!


Read Smart, Dunoon Public School, Dunoon, New South Wales

Read Smart is an app aimed at primary school students aged 4-8. Everything about the app is designed specifically for kids with dyslexia or reading difficulties, to help them with their phonics. The background is a light colour other than pink and the font is Open Dyslexia3. Each time the button is pressed, the character pops up and says the sound or word. This is designed to help students know how each sound is meant to be heard. The learning path progresses from a single sound to a word and then onto a phrase or sentence.


Fit’n’Fun, Mount Annan Public School, Mount Annan, New South Wales

Fit’n’Fun has been designed to increase children's levels of activity and fitness. The app allows the user to earn stars (dollars). Every time the user finishes a workout on the app they will earn 20 stars. There are various sports drills to choose from to complete a workout. Fit’n’Fun includes a detailed video demonstrating the drill to the user. There are 3 drills for each sport. Sports included are walking, basketball, hockey and soccer. Users can use their stars to upgrade their avatar. The more activity the more stars!


HopIn!, Warners Bay High School, Warners Bay, New South Wales

HopIn! Is a car-pooling app allowing people to register their car trip and let people who are travelling in the same direction hop in, for a contribution towards the driver’s travel expenses. Unlike taxis and Ubers, HopIn! cuts down on carbon emissions by preventing additional cars on the road. HopIn! is for people who care about the environment. HopIn! is helping to save the planet, one ride at a time.


AVO (Awesome Vibes Online), St Joseph’s Catholic College, Lochinvar, New South Wales

AVO (Awesome Vibes Online), is an app providing a medium to educate people about safety online while also acting as a platform for members of the public to report potential online threats to others’ wellbeing. This app is necessary so that parents, teachers and children are 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 impacts on a young individual’s health. The app is also multifaceted as it meets the issue head-on with a variety of education and engaging online tools.


COu - Santa Sabina College Strathfield, Sydney, New South Wales

The app COu aims to educate and promote environmental change. It is targeted towards Australian high school students through the focus on the current climate crisis affecting their future world. The core of the app is the eco-challenge which allows users to track their carbon emissions and aim to lower them individually or in a group comprised of other app users. Users have the opportunity to empathise and understand how people in our neighbouring nation, Kiribati, are affected by our fossil fuel addiction. The overall concept of COu is that any change begins with you, but can grow exponentially when powerful motivation teams with an arsenal of knowledge.


Anger Switch, Citipointe Christian College, Brisbane, Queensland

War Stoppers developed an app ‘Anger Switch’ directed to primary aged boys and girls. The aim of the app is to help young children identify when they are angry and help bring peace, in a fun way, to children. ‘Anger Switch’ uses calming colours, such as pale blue and violet and includes a description of anger, a fun maze and happy music to bring a sense of calmness. Our app has an image recogniser that is sure to bring a good laugh to you and your friends! Through ‘Anger Switch’, children will be supported along the way to making new friends.


#familycommunic8, Golden Beach State School, Golden Beach, Queensland

#familycommunic8 helps divorced or separated families communicate with each other. It is designed to share concerning organisational information to make life less stressful and make it easier for all involved to know what is going on with pick up and drop offs, keeping both families up to date with current information, important events and appointments. #familycommunic8 has a shared calendar that children and parents can easily access.

Games are included to encourage and hopefully mend parent/child relationships. Parents can communicate too, through a note page where a parent can share with the other parent important information about children and making transitions between households run smoothly. Parents and children can talk online plus children can chat to other children who are experiencing similar situations.


Cyberbullying - Back In Control, Windsor State School, Brisbane, Queensland

“Cyber Bullying – Back in Control” is aimed at teenagers (mainly 13-18 year olds) who are being bullied, specifically online, but the app could help in all cases of bullying. It has 6 features including chatting to a counsellor, a calming music section to help you relax, resources and links to counselling services and instructions on how to report a bully. All of these features provide information to empower young teens and gives them strategies to forget what is making them sad and help ignore any rude comments they may have received. Our app centralises all of the necessary and relevant information from the internet, making it easy to use and navigate.


Harvest Cook Create, St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, Corinda, Queensland

'Harvest, Cook, Create' will help small food producers thrive by providing a marketplace that connects them with buyers in their local community. It will allow producers to sell anything from veggies or fruit to homemade gluten-free cookies. Buyers will benefit because they can purchase food that is ethical, locally sourced and unprocessed. Whilst many food producers have an online shop-front, ‘Harvest, Cook, Create’ will be a “one-stop-shop” for producers and consumers.


Right Now Refugee - Cannon Hill Anglican College, Cannon Hill, Queensland

The app ‘Right Now Refugee’ has been designed to ensure that when refugees relocate to a new country, they feel welcome and informed about daily life. The app covers basic information on laws, visas, health, education, transport, housing, asylum support, common greetings, cultural events, financial support and translation support. Our prototype focuses on refugees and immigrants coming from Iraq and moving to Australia. Although, this app could be used by any immigrant specifically from non-English speaking countries to an English-speaking-country. Our app is unique as it brings together many different fields of information that immigrants need in one easy, accessible app.


Confidence Coach, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Ulverstone, Tasmania

Confidence Coach is an app designed to help kids who lack self-confidence. The app features activities designed to build self-confidence.  Activities such as cooking, outdoors/gardening, physical activities and meditation. The app is targeted towards kids, tweens, teens and young adults.


Divorce Support, Woodcroft College, Morphett Vale, South Australia

Divorce Support is an app to support kids with divorced parents.  The app is designed to offer people help with their feelings in relation to their parents’ divorce. The app features a quote of the day to make people feel happy, offers links to support lines, as well as useful articles to ensure the user doesn’t feel alone in their situation.  The app is aimed to support tweens in dealing with what can be a very emotional experience.


Bin It Right, St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School, Karrinyup, Western Australia

Bin It Right aims to solve the problem of improper waste disposal with its unique photo recognition feature. This feature allows users to simply take a photo of the item they are unsure what bin it belongs in. The app then scans the image and indicates whether the item belongs in the green waste, waste or recycling bin. Bin It Right is designed for anybody having trouble determining where to put their rubbish and anyone looking for a quick and convenient solution.


This award is chosen by the TGMF as the app that is believed will make the most impact in the community

Breakthrough, St Clare’s College, Waverley, New South Wales

Breakthrough is an employment education app targeted specifically for teens looking for jobs. Providing education for teenagers that are preparing for a job or who are struggling to manage the workload of having a job, Breakthrough is an innovative and informative solution to the growing job demand for teens. Breakthrough is helping to make teens confident in themselves while also helping them expand their workplace capability. With information like how to create a resume, plan for an interview, manage a payslip and tons more, Breakthrough is the free answer to teenager employment education and is an app made by teens, for teens.

National Winners








STEM + Entrepreneurship = Success #techgirls #STEM

- authored by Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen, Founder & CEO Tech girls movement foundation

The signature Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero (SNTGS) competition and other TGMF initiatives are soundly based on international research into how best to encourage female participation in STEM-related careers and education. The TGMF has administered both pre and post-competition surveys for all participant groups (schoolgirls, mentors and coaches) for the past three years of the competition. The same survey with minor adjustments is administered each year. It consists of open and closed questions, drawn from three sources – an internationally recognised instrument for measuring STEM career interest (Kier et al. 2014), a survey carried out by Technovation, the organisation which provides the curriculum on which the competition is based (Rockman et al Research, Evaluation and Consulting, 2016), and the results of interviews carried out with 8 mentors from the 2015 competition.

In the Australian Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero (SNTGS) competition, school girls form teams and register on the TGMF website via a coach – a teacher or a parent who becomes the contact point for the team. One coach may have multiple teams. Each team is then matched with a female mentor working in STEM who commits to meeting the team virtually, or if co-located in person, for one hour per week for 12 weeks. Teams then brainstorm problems that bug them in their local community, from personal problems such as anxiety, mental health, wellbeing, healthy eating, to broader school issues such as lost property, or family issues such as “grandad can’t read” or wider issues such as sun safety or global warming.

Teams then research how others have tried to solve the problem around the world, and then they design their own solution to the problem through a business plan and a wireframe. Teams as young as 11 are building 50-page business plans. Once they have a wireframe and business plan they build the working prototype through free online software such as AppInventor. Then they develop a 4-minute pitch video to sell their idea, and a 3-minute demo video to exhibit how their app works.


The post-competition surveys aim to evaluate the impact and success for student participants in the Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero competition, specifically:

i. The impact of participation in the competition on girls’ self-perception and career perception in relation to STEM, and of their intentions to pursue further studies and careers in STEM-related fields. The evaluation is based on well-established research in this area.

ii. Students’ perceptions of the curriculum areas. The evaluation did not attempt to measure objective improvements in skills because of wide variations in curriculum, facilities and teacher practices.

iii. Issues, benefits and problems of participating in the competition.

In 2018, the demographics of the 191 respondents were very similar to those from 2017. Most of the girls live in Queensland (90) and New South Wales (50). Of the New Zealand schoolgirls represented in the 2018 survey more live on the South Island (10) as compared to 2017 results where more were from the North Island. Most students attend co-education schools (117) and are currently in grade 6 (48).


Several areas that showed improvement in 2018 were students’ time management, support from mentors and coaches, and satisfaction with teamwork.

Students are asked how much knowledge of coding they had before participating in the competition, most reported less than an adequate amount of knowledge of coding (Figure 1).

fig 1.png

Figure 1 - 2018 Students’ Previous Coding Knowledge

Although the students’ perceptions of their knowledge of coding in 2018 was reported to be similar to 2017, there was a substantial increase in their perceptions that participation in the competition had improved their knowledge of coding (from 58% to 85%).

fig 2.png

Figure 2 - 2018 Students’ Improvements in Coding Knowledge

The Curriculum

In relation to the curriculum, the Revenue lesson continues to be the least popular and students wished there had been more focus on coding, even though their perceived competency in coding increased substantially.

The biggest challenge reported was shortage of time.

The program consists of the following 12 lessons. Lesson 8 and 2 are the most popular and lesson 7 the least popular.

1: Introduction to the curriculum and meet your mentor

2: Defining the Issue

3: Brainstorming Solutions

4: User Centred Design

5: Competitive Analysis

6: Branding and Promotion

7: Potential Revenue

8: Pitch Guidelines

9: Demo Guidelines

10: User Feedback

11: Video Editing

12: Submission!

Student Support

Overall the support from schools, coaches and mentors is perceived as good, or satisfactory, and the students thought they worked well in teams. A small percentage reported that team members dropping out caused problems. Responses to the questions regarding attitudes to STEM showed similar improvement after participation to that of the 2017 survey. Some of the questions regarding career interest showed a small improvement over the 2017 results.

Motivation to participate in the competition

In 2017, 12 girls mentioned that their involvement in the competition was due to it being a part of their school curriculum; this was not mentioned in 2018. The most frequent responses in 2018 were; to learn about coding, to work with friends and solve problems, similar results to those of 2017. More students mentioned being encouraged to participate by friends and/or siblings who had previously participated in the competition.

Benefits gained from participation

Students gained a variety of benefits and experiences from their participation in the competition.

“The benefits that I have gained from participating in this competition have definitely been time management and organisation. Also developing new skills that I can apply to many other things such as my vocabulary, speaking on the spot, persuading, my writing skills and other larger topics I had no idea about, such as potential revenues and other elements within the business plan. Other benefits I have also gained from this competition are qualities such as commitment, trust, teamwork, prioritising and thinking about the bigger picture.”

The students’ motivations and expectations focused mostly on their desire to learn more about coding and to work in teams. In 2018 students were encouraged to participate in the competition through friends and/or siblings who had participated in a previous competition or knew someone who had.


While some respondents stated that they had always been interested in technology and their participation in the competition confirmed this interest (25), some now felt they were more likely to consider a science or technology career than before (22). Importantly, 26 responded that their confidence, awareness, knowledge or interest in technology had increased, but not necessarily relating to a direction in study.

“I believe from the competition our interest in technology is enhanced because of the amount of time and effort we put into using technologies. I believe the competition has made us more confident in starting a new business or designing and developing new ideas from technology. The experience was positive and worthwhile”.

“My mind was open to ideas, but the Tech Girls competition has pointed me in the direction of technology.”

“Tech girl superheroes has taught me that I can do whatever I want in the future ... this competition has influenced my life greatly and I have become a more confident, better person because of it.”