#techmums graduation

Our newest group of #techmums graduated recently. They are such a wonderful group of mums and we have really enjoyed teaching them 🙂

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All our #techmums learn app design, web design, social media and much more on our program. Giving them skills that they can use in their everyday lives and knowledge of how tech is changing our world.

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Congratulations to all of our graduating #techmums, we are so proud of you.

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#techmums featured in Bishop Challoner newsletter

We are delighted that #techmums hasbeen featured in the Bishop Challoner girls’ school newsletter.

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Comment from #techmum AnneMarie Shields about our program

“It has refreshed some of my skills, and taught me new things”

We love our #techmums, they rock!

Thank you to Bishop Challoner girls’ school for all their fabulous support.

From Tower Hamlets to the House of Lords…

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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…..

What’s the use of social media? – Guest blogpost

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“What’s the use of social media?” That wasn’t a sarcastic question, that I pondered this morning, it was a real one. Sue (@Dr_Black) had sent a message from her sickbed asking if any of her friends would be able to run her social media class that morning, in East London, to local mums wanting to improve their tech skills.

Given that I live 20 minutes walk from the venue (Bishop Challoner Catholic School on Commercial Road), I thought about saying yes, as I sipped my coffee, but not before I asked myself “what’s the use of social media?” and “what’s the use of social media to this group of East End mums?” Clearly, there are numerous answers to the first question and I could only guess at how these women might answer the second. But what did strike me, a few minutes after saying: “yes, I’ll do it, Sue”, is that they are all already clued up on social networks. These women make all sorts of magic happen in their homes, at work and in their local community because, by enlarge, that’s what women all over the world do – they keep it all going.

With such short notice, I started the class with this in mind and gave the example of how my siblings and I had bought my mum a computer and got her on Facebook (she’s in her 80s). We all thought, ignorantly, that mum would struggle to grasp social media. How daft of us; mum had grown up in Liverpool in the 1930s, one of a large Irish family. She’d watched her mum make things work by negotiating, bartering, helping, charming, sharing and discovering all she needed through her daily chats across the back yard washing lines, or in the street, the church or at the corner shop. So had my mum when she brought up me and my four siblings and so were all of these women – on a daily basis. Mum grasped social media, it was innate and all of the women in front of me grasped it too.

We moved on to how they might use social media to gather more voices to join their causes, or help in their community. Most used Facebook a little and one had tried Twitter. Ann Marie (one of the mums) brought up the breast cancer awareness drive on Facebook and how women were taking make-up free ‘selfies’ to promote the cause. Suddenly the room buzzed with ideas of other causes and how using social media might help them bring issues and ideas to the fore.

While I talked with the women, we had Sue’s Twitter account projected on a wall at the front of the classroom. Everyone laughed at how Sue was “at home sick” yet still busy Tweeting away with everyone, including me and also Alison Moyet. I pointed out that I had no doubt that Sue would manage to tweet from her own coffin. Having all met Sue, they promptly agreed. [You all know me too well 😉 – Sue]

We all played a little, taking an Ellen DeGeneres Oscar selfie and Tweeting it. The power of this network was quickly revealed when the image was re-Tweeted eight or so times in under a minute, to an audience exceeding thousands.

The concept of social media was straightforward to everyone in the room, the only thing they really lacked was some of the language and a little of the working detail; what’s that sign (hashtag), how is it used, what are characters, what’s a direct message and so on.

The hour was too short and probably taught me much more than it taught the participants: more often than not, the barrier to entry is feeling that we don’t understand, when in actual fact we do, it’s just that the language is a little different.

Vic Roberts is a business consultant and @vertical_cat on Twitter

Mary’s trains her first #techmums class

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Team #techmums: Sue, Mary and Emma outside Bishop Challoner Girls School this morning

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Hi, I’m Mary,

Today was my first delivery of the #techmums course to 13 mums.

What a great morning! I have to say that I went in not really knowing what to expect. The mums arrived looking a bit apprehensive, and I am guessing they were feeling much the same way as me.

We needn’t have worried. As the tea and coffee was poured everyone started to relax. Sue gave an uplifting intro and we were off setting up Google accounts.

It was good to see how keen everyone was to get started. By the end of the session the atmosphere was buzzing. No matter what their level each mum had accomplished something and learnt something new. The smiles and shouts of “see you next week” as the mums were leaving was good to see.

Bring on the next module.