[This post was originally published on the Techmums blog.]
I just got back from two amazing days at Google Campus – learning 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” who’s become a bit of a household name after saving Bletchley Park from demolition 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.