A New Digital Era

Reflections on the contents and conversations from weeks 3 and 4; A New Digital Era

I’m a tutor on the EmployID MOOC “The Changing World of Work” on the EMMA platform which is still has a few weeks left to run and is still available to join via the link above! I’ve mostly been the lead techie but really enjoyed being joint lead – tutor with the wonderful Dr Deirdre Hughes on the New Digital Era content. Here is my reflective blog post…

A new digital era – the fourth industrial revolution.

As the next lesson (LMI) opens up on EmployID’s Changing World of Work MOOC I’m taking some time to reflect on the contents and comments on weeks 3 and 4; A New Digital Era.

The video on the fourth industrial revolution got everyone’s attention and kick started the discussion. I have watched it many times now and this is the stand out quote for me;

“We need a shift towards a new system that will allow us to meet the basic needs of every human on the planet, that will live within planetary means, that will be fairer and that will be focussed as it’s key goal, not on growth per se, but on maximising human well-being. And history tells us that a value shift is triggered by creation of a new story about how we want to live.” Stewart Wallace, New Economics Foundation UK

The ensuing conversation covered the optimistic and exciting ideas of transforming cities to make them more efficient – SMART cities. But there was also a lot of concern about those who may get left behind. What about rural areas? Why aren’t we talking about SMART villages? As work tends towards dispersed teams, flexible hours and self employed workers in home-offices it should be possible for rural communities to access the high tech developments of the future too.

Excitement about the possibilities of the future was tempered with a worry that the reality may bring wider societal divisions. A key issue now and in the future is that people don’t and won’t have the digital skills to access and engage with the fast changing world.

Privacy in future will become a bigger concern. Big Brother is already watching us. If future technology will be able to read our thoughts and emotions what will it be used for? Will we be able to opt out?

The Future of Work and Skills

“Within the next two decades, 90 per cent of jobs will require some digital proficiency, yet 23 percent of adults lack basic digital skills. This is a barrier to people fulfilling their potential and to a more productive workforce.” (House of Commons, London: Science and Technology Committee (2016) ‘Digital Skills Crisis’)

Digital is not just skills but also a mindset, old habits, like reaching for a pen and paper, die hard. Lack of confidence can be a barrier to keeping up with the changes and massive changes in the way we work have already been witnessed in the past couple of years.

There is a lot of concern that the fast paced changes in technology create an even bigger skills gap. It is harder to keep up to speed if you are out of work without access to staff training, CPD courses or the new systems in use. Yet individuals must become responsible for recognising their own skills gaps and for their own continuing professional development.

If you don’t constantly up-skill you can’t compete in the labour market

Ability to use new technologies needs to be embedded throughout the system from early years education but this means that the teachers have to also have tech skills.

Digital Jobs, Digital Workforce

We tried to imagine what the jobs of the future might be and discussed automation – if your job can be automated, it will be,  so how do you become future proof?

Some future jobs might be in the form of de-digitising retreats and low tech leisure time whilst others will be high tech, designing SMART architecture, digital personal trainers, sustainable cityscape developers and vertical farmers.

Digital Jobseekers, Digital Employers

With so much of recruitment happening online it is vital for jobseekers and employers to have a digital presence but whilst people are clear about which content is personal and which ispr ofessional, there are always crossovers between platforms. Something like LinkedIn is clearly for professional networking whereas most of Facebook is for friends and family. However some Facebook tools are very useful for networking, skills sharing, and disseminating information; the groups and events functions in particular. Having the digital skills to be able to keep certain things to certain audiences is paramount.

Lots of information is stored digitally and we have a responsibility to keep our own and each other’s information safe, whether it is clients on a work system or friends on Facebook.

Feminist Maker Spaces

A post I wrote for the Taccle3 project output on STEM attitudes and encouraging girls and young women to engage in STEM…

I recently came across the article The Rise of Feminist Hacker Spaces and How to Make Your Own which describes the history and creation of Double Union hacker space in San Fransisco.  A hacker space is another term for a maker space, an environment in which people are encouraged to be creative and to make something from first principles, to build something from its most basic components. That something could be as ambitious as an all singing all dancing robot or it could be an item of clothing.

It got me thinking that there must be other groups doing great things for inclusivity, so I went searching for some. First I found Mz Baltazar’s Lab, and then an article about the rise of feminist hackerspaces in the US published by The Journal of Peer Production. The article explains the phenomenon in more depth than I ever could and is worth a read if you’ve got the time.

Here at Taccle we’re not expecting teachers to go out and start a maker-space, you’ve got enough on your hands as it is, but you may find inspiration for yourself, your groups and classes in the great projects below.  At the end of this blog post we have added links to some online resources to help keep your practice inclusive.

Mz Baltazar’s Lab – Austria

This intersectional feminist makerspace is an inclusive and accessible way for everyone to get involved with making and computing.


Hacker Moms – San Francisco

“We give mothers of every gender the time and space to explore DIY craft and design, hacker/maker culture, community workshops, entrepreneurship and all manner of creative expression — with on-site childcare. Our HackerSprouts program teaches children the creative process through educational childcare and STEAM-based workshops. HackerMoms creates families that build together.”


Prototype – Pittsburgh

“Prototypers have access to shared tools, space, events, knowledge, and support. All genders and disciplines are welcome to join. ”


Liberating ourselves locally

“Liberating Ourselves Locally (LOL) is a people of color -led, social justice Maker Space in East Oakland. Led by a gender-diverse, majority queer and trans crew of hackers, healers, artists and activists of color,

LOL makes space and resources for community to come learn, play, experiment, and build skills while working on projects they love, for self-determination and community power”


Dragon Hall Tech Hub – London

Photo: www.taccle3.eu

This group is all about “Bridging the Digital Divide” bringing new technologies, coding clubs and opportunities to those who would not usually be able to access them, the focus here is on including marginalised groups including: learning disability; homelessness; mental health; LGBT, BME and young women.

“Dragon Hall has a strong track record of engaging the most vulnerable, disenfranchised children and young people in society, providing activities that promote inclusion, social justice and enable them to realise their potential”


Inclusive resources

There are a lot of great projects going on around Europe with the intention of teaching young people to code, to think logically, to make and create. There are a couple of well known schemes you can easily get involved with by signing up online such as Coder Dojo and Code Club.  There’s also Girls Who Code.

If you’re not ready or able to sign up for a club there are other freely available resources;

https://imagirlwhocodes.com/ This blog is written by girls and young women who are learning code and want to share their experiences and hopefully inspire other girls

https://www.madewithcode.com/ encourages learning through projects such as designing an emoji and mixing music. Other fun projects are showcased here including making games in Scratch. (The sew-electric projects look great but require additional materials)

Google’s CS First has some 1 hour activities and some longer projects designed to introduce Computer Science https://www.cs-first.com/materials

Lesson Plans

For lesson plans click on ‘Ideas and Resources’ on the Taccle3 Portal page or use the links below…

Taccle3 English language site

Taccle3 Welsh language site

Taccle3 Dutch site

Taccle3 Finnish site

Taccle3 Estonian site

Taccle3 German site

Taccle3 Spanish site


On October 6th 2017 we are organising the Taccle3 project’s final conference in the Flemish Parliament in Brussels.

If you:
• Want to learn more about ‘computational thinking’ and the link with coding,
• Listen to some motivational speakers
• Participate in hands-on workshops full of practical class room approaches
… then mark the date in your calendar now!

Thanks to the EU’s Erasmus+ programme we are able to offer this conference free of charge including lunch.

The conference language is English but some workshops will be offered in Dutch. A formal invitation will become available shortly with details of speakers and workshops and with reservation instructions. If you want to receive a personal invitation for the conference and a limited amount of updates on the project then leave us your contact details via this form: https://goo.gl/forms/Dqsdn3d63u5cZX423

Taccle3 Coding is an Erasmus+ funded project coordinated by GO! The aim of the project consortium is to empower primary teachers to introduce ‘computational thinking’ and coding in their class room practice.

The project website www.taccle3.eu provides a lot of materials and resources for classroom teachers. The Ideas and Resources tab takes you to resources, reviews and lesson plans in six different languages.

For more information contact: jens.vermeersch@g-o.be and jenhughes@me.com

Digital revolution

I’m putting the finishing touches on the content for the 3rd week of the Changing World of Work MOOC by the EmployID project and hosted on the EMMA platform. You can sign up here. Infographic created with Canva

4th revolution.png

 Creative Commons Licence4th industrial revolution infographic by Angela Rees is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://angelarees.wordpress.com.

Free course on The Changing World of Work

Do you want to be prepared for the challenges of the changing labour market?

Do you want to better understand and apply skills related to emotional awareness, active listening, reflection, coaching skills, peer coaching and powerful questioning?

Do you want to explore tools for handling Labour Market Information (LMI) and the digital agenda?

This course has been devised as part of the European EmployID project, for Public Employment Services (PES) practitioners and careers professionals. Our 5 lessons will run over a period of 6 weeks with an estimated workload of 3.5 hours per week; the total workload is expected to be 17.5 hours.

The course starts on March 28th but enrolment is open now.

Sign up here https://platform.europeanmoocs.eu/course_the_changing_world_of_work_ 

Work Place Learning Space

Graham asked me to do something fun which is unusual because *everyday* is fun at Pontydysgu. He asked for five photographs around learning spaces so I tried to capture the five most important aspects of my work based learning.

My deskfullsizerender-5

Complete with coffee, piles of unsorted paperwork, family photos, sharpies, MacBook, interweb, and most importantly a notepad for scribbles and doodles and lists and ideas which need to be instantly recorded, flowing straight out of my brain onto the paper without ever having to wait for the spinning beachball.


My alternative desk


I do my best writing curled up on the sofa in the evenings. I think it’s because it doesn’t feel like work and there are no distractions.

Outdoor thinking space


Some days a change of scenery and some exercise is the absolute best way to process information, make decisions, put things in the right order. On other days this would be a picture of the gym, but today is a lovely sunny day in Wales.

Mind expansion


Read fiction, read non-fiction, read about what I’m working on, read about something so far removed from what I’m working on that I have no idea how I found it, read out loud, read poetry, read picture books, reading makes things make sense.



Graham stared with a cool black and white office picture so here’s mine. Music to work to, music to switch off from work to.

What can Open Data do for public services?

Good Practice Exchange at The Wales Audit Office

The Wales Audit Office is holding a Google Hangout on Open Data. It will look at how Open Data can help public services to deliver joined up, transparent and effective public services. In this blogpost, Dyfrig Williams looks at why the Good Practice Exchange is interested in the topic.

Last year the Effective Services for Vulnerable Groups team at the Welsh Government approached us about the possibility of doing some work around highlighting good practice around effective data sharing. When we held a scoping meeting, we found ourselves being drawn into two slightly different discussions – one on sharing personal data, and another on the merits of Open Data. To do justice to both, we decided to hold two separate events. The event on personal data really helped bust some myths around data protection, especially where the Assistant Information Commissioner for Wales got to grips with the issues that public services…

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