The Chicago civic tech community offers a space where innovative solutions to local issues can be created. In the Fall of 2016, Mikva Challenge and Mumkin Studio will help young people contribute and be a part of Chicago’s civic tech community.
Four Chicago Public High School students will be hired as Civic Tech Interns. In this role they will:
- Work at Chi Hack Night and plug into a community working on local issues with tech.
- Learn to design, implement, and evaluate user experience for Edumap, a computer science curriculum tool for CPS schools
- Get paid for the value they bring to civic tech problem solving.
The program is sponsored by a Spark grant from Mozilla Hive Chicago. Teen civic tech interns will be tasked with finding out what tweaks and toggles will benefit the app development process. They will also use their own networks to find interviewees, collect at least 20 interviews from users in situ, and put together a design brief to outline changes and new functionality.
“This is exciting because we’re figuring out how to teach user experience research as a core civic process to teens,” says Eve Tulbert from Mumkin Studio, program teacher and Teach Tech Task Force member. “If we can teach teens to use UX research to improve tech, we can also help them to apply those skills to government systems and services–even their own school experience.”
The youth interns will get their hands dirty with the work of UX research, applying basic strategies for usability testing in the field. They will also learn tools from participatory action research in order to re-think the systems that civic tech seeks to improve.
“Civic tech projects are an exciting way to tackle community issues,” says Lisa Kim, Youth Commission Director at Mikva Challenge and program co-teacher. “it’s important for young Chicagoans to be active authors in this process, because tech that’s meant to serve youth should also be made by youth!”