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education

The #techmums course at ACL has completely changed my life!

By | #techmums, 2016, Case Study, education, Essex | No Comments

Blog post by new #techmum Lisa

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Improving my knowledge in computing
I saw the #techmums course advertised on Essex County Council newsletter. I was instantly intrigued to see what it had to offer. I have been a mum for many years with no work experience for a long period of time. This has led me to be lacking confidence in some situations. With the prospect of my youngest child off to start school full time I thought now was the time to think about myself as a person, not just mum. The thought of going back to work is very daunting. I was hoping to improve my knowledge of computing to help me have better job prospects and to be able to achieve something for myself.

I’m left wanting to learn more…
Technology is constantly changing and with that in mind I felt that I had been left behind.  My initial idea was to try and recap on my computing skills and hopefully learn some new ones. I did not want to commit myself to a long course as I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. This course is just what I needed to be able to go over basic computer skills and be able to try new ones. I never thought I would have the opportunity to do web design, app design, coding and programming. With the children now learning coding at school I felt completely out of my depth and unable to help with homework. Just by having a taste of this on the course I am so grateful to have an insight and has left me wanting to learn more about it.

A massive step
I was so anxious about going back into a classroom to learn. It is a massive step to put yourself out there and try something new and different. After the first lesson I was put at ease. The atmosphere was very relaxed with everybody wanting to learn for their own personal reasons. The class wasn’t that large which was a huge benefit for all the mums. This helped as everyone was learning at different levels. We were all able to have time with the 1 of the 2 tutors if we were stuck on anything.

A positive learning experience
The tutors were fantastic. Simon and Karen were very helpful and informative. They also had so much patience. Nothing was too much to ask. I had to leave every lesson early to be able to pick up my son. This was never an issue. I was talked through what the rest of the lesson was going to involve and with the class handouts I did not feel like I was missing out. I always had the option to email them if I was unsure of anything.

Anything is possible
My learning experience at ACL has certainly been a positive one. The staff and tutors were all friendly and enthusiastic. They really wanted to see me succeed on my learning journey. The #techmums course at ACL has completely changed my life! It has given me the confidence and drive to show myself and others that anything is possible. It has been such a personal achievement that has now given me such a boost when it comes to being Tech savvy.

I learnt a lot about myself
Over the 6 weeks I learnt a lot about myself. I have never been career driven or had life goals that I wanted to achieve. But after doing this course I have found I would like to carry on learning. I took a massive leap and done a maths assessment and have enrolled to resit my Maths GCSE. Something I did not achieve while at school. I now believe this is my time to study.

I’ve now been offered a job!
I also wanted to try and get myself back out there and look for work and help my family. I was so worried to put myself out there at the thought of being rejected.  I was able to write a positive letter which led to me having an interview and being offered the job!!!

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Team #techmums graduation selfie 🙂

I have found after finishing it has left me wanting to learn more especially in web design, coding and programming.

A huge highlight of this course was being able to meet  Dr Sue Black. Listening to her journey as a mum first and foremost, and being able to achieve such amazing goals in tech is astonishing. Sue is such an inspirational woman who has and will show so many other mums you can really achieve. I feel so lucky to be part of this.

I am a #techmum

East Side Storys – teaching tech to mums in Stepney

By | #techmums, education, savvify, schools, tower hamlets | No Comments

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Guest post from #techmums trainer Jemima Gibbons

After three days pretty much non-stop rain it was a nice surprise to wake up yesterday morning with sunshine streaming through the window – and the early commute across London to Stepney Green suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

Yesterday morning was my first ever #techmums training course: I’d been teamed up with fellow #techmum Judith Scammell to run a one-off session on social media and online security at Stepney Green Maths & Computing College, East London.

I had many burning questions: What would the mums be like? How difficult would it be to get them talking? How would we run the session without full social media access? Would anyone actually turn up? What sort of place was Stepney Green Maths & Computing College? Did they really name it Ben Johnson Road after the disgraced Canadian athlete and…most importantly…can you buy a decent skinny latte that side of Hoxton?

Luckily, all my fears were laid to rest as soon as Judith and I met the friendly, smiling Ayesha (IT manager) and the fifteen mums who’d signed up for the session. The mums were keen, sharp and full of questions. Most of them had one or more teenage children and were familiar with new technology. One of the mums even told us about a new app, Telegram Messenger, which we’d never heard of (so thanks for the tip)!

As we’d expected, the mums’ main concerns were around online security – especially dodgy pop-ups, and children viewing material they shouldn’t be. This was just what Judith and I had imagined – and in fact we were a little worried about starting the session with an evangelical talk about the wonders of social media.

But the mums also talked about how they loved to share photos and reconnect with old friends on Facebook. And they seemed genuinely inspired and excited by the social media stories we told – from Lauren Luke becoming a hit on YouTube and setting up her own make-up empire, to Sue Black saving Bletchley Park through a humble Twitter campaign.

All in all, it was a great way to spend two hours. I’m off to check my Twitter – who knows, I may have a tweet from one of the Stepney Green mums! That was their homework – mine is to download the Telegram Messenger app (obv).

We won!! #techmums win Nominet Award 2014

By | #techmums, education, savvify, schools, tower hamlets, Uncategorized, women in tech | No Comments

Last night was incredible! #techmums won the Best “online skills and training” Award at the Nominet Internet Awards

It was so lovely to win our award and what made the evening even more awesome was that our fellow BGV alumni WriteLaTeX won an award too. Great hosting by superstar BBC Click presenter Kate Russell as always.

#techmums Sue, Mary and Jemima picked up the award at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden and loved dressing up as James Bond 🙂

Check our our pics! Congrats to all the fab winners and thanks very much Nominet for our award and a fabulous evening.

#techmums: licensed to skill!

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From Tower Hamlets to the House of Lords…

By | #techmums, education, schools, tower hamlets, women in tech | One Comment

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Today was a busy #techmums day, and a day of contradictions. Mary and I ran our week 5 #techmums class with Bishop Challoner school mums in Tower Hamlets in the morning. We were happy to see our fab mums, but sad because it was the last class for this wonderful group. I’m going to miss seeing them every week.

#techmums graduation

#techmums graduation

After graduation with certificates and “I’m a #techmum” tshirts Mary and I went off to talk to a primary school down the road about running #techmums there. They were keen 🙂

Then it was back into London and a walk from Waterloo to the House of Lords where I had a really great chat with our fab patron Baroness Martha Lane Fox about #techmums, women in tech and Bletchley Park.

Such a massive contrast from morning to afternoon. The morning spent with mums in Tower Hamlets where the average life expectancy for a woman is the lowest in the UK at just 54. The afternoon spent at the House of Lords in Westminster an area where I’m sure the life expectancy is much higher.

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Very different, but with a common thread, women, tech and empowerment.

Technology, and social media in particular is bringing about a revolution for women. The amount of empowerment that I see being talked about and happening around me is very life affirming. From Beyonce’s wonderful songs, to Everywoman and Stemette’s to EverydaySexism, #techmums, Big Swinging Ovaries and Ada’s list, women are being empowered all around us. I can feel the buzz, can you?

We still have a very long way to go, but we are on the way. Women are connecting together to help each other, the ripples are quite small at the moment, but they will grow bigger and bigger until, in the not too distant future we will see some massive changes occurring.

I’m so excited about how technology is changing our world, and this is just the beginning…..

The revolution will not be televised….but it will be brought to you by #techmums

By | #techmums, education, savvify, schools, tower hamlets, Uncategorized, women in tech | 4 Comments

Techmums T3

Guest blog post from Jemima Gibbons, Social Media Strategist.

I just got back from two amazing days at Google Campus – training to be a #Techmums trainer.

In case you haven’t heard or read about it yet, #Techmums is a new initiative from Dr Sue Black (the mum of 4, computer scientist and self-proclaimed “cheeky geek” whose become a bit of a household name after campaigning to save Bletchley Park a couple of years ago).

Sue wanted to do something to help change the image of computer science in the UK, and she decided to start with mums – because they’re key to children’s safe and savvy use of technology, but all too often know little about computing.

After running a successful pilot in Tower Hamlets last summer, Sue and her team raised enough funding to roll out the #Techmums programme to other schools in the South East.

To deliver the programme – which consists of five x two hour modules taught over five weeks – at schools around Greater London and beyond, Techmums has recruited a new team of trainers: this week’s training course was the first opportunity for us all to get together.

It was great to spend time with a group of women (and one man) all passionate about technology but bringing different skills to the table: our group included a university lecturer, librarian, IT teacher, web designer, social media consultant, digital marketer, analytics expert, soft skills trainer and even a fine artist.

There was very little ‘chalk and talk’ (or power up and point?) during the two days – instead, most of our time was spent going through the module content in small teams, then getting back together, sharing ideas and brainstorming ways to make the programme even better.

The five modules (covering everything from setting up an email address through social media to coding your own phone app) are essentially practical and designed to build confidence. Sue wants mums to feel empowered – to finish the course with a sense of  “Yes – I can do it!” as much as gain new technical skills.

The strong, unifying thread throughout our training was the importance of the #techmums ethos – it’s all about positivity and enablement. That means cutting back on jargon and encouraging even the smallest step forward.

I’m excited about getting out into schools and connecting with the people who sign up for #techmums. I’m really looking forward to hearing their stories and spreading the word about what a fabulous life-changer technology can be.