Media in Action

Exciting things are always happening at Pontydysgu but this one I’m particularly looking forward to. From January 2018 I will be working with, COFAC in Portugal, Cooperativa Nuova Dimensione in Italy, Grupo Comunicar Andalusia and KIC Malta on a Media Literacy for all pilot project funded by DG Connect

Media in Action is a project in educator training in media literacy and storytelling. 

The project aims to work directly with educators such as youth and community group leaders, teachers, trainee teachers, teaching assistants, librarians and others involved with education for children aged 6-18. We will work at two levels: the educators and through them targeting young people in their communities. 

We will provide training and support materials and workshops to enable educators to set up a media centre within their organisation aimed at increasing the critical thinking towards the media among citizens. Through this media centre we can create conditions for participants to better understand how media and news media work and also, through that, stimulating each group or class to be able to produce multi-media such as blogs, videos and podcasts in order to tell their stories. The centres will be linked by a media hub – one website where you can find and interact with content from groups all over Europe. Everything the participants learn along the way in terms of skills in journalism, media literacy, critical thinking, presentation, understanding texts, technical and digital skills will be recognised by awarding open badges. The materials will be differentiated to help remove some of the barriers to participation typically encountered. By utilising a range of multimedia tools we aim to make it easier for everyone involved to access the project.

We intend to work with 70 educators across Europe directly through workshops and focussed teaching and learning events. Each of these educators will be in regular contact with many young people in their institutions but we estimate that another 560  participants will be impacted as a result of those educators.

The resulting open access resources and the online course will be freely and publicly available. We hope to attract more educators to our online community of practice via these resources and for every educator we recruit we expect another 8 young people to be impacted.

 

Expected results include:

The Media in Action Hub, a one-stop shop with access to;

An online course for educators in Media Literacy and Storytelling;

Teaching and learning materials;

A repository of lesson plans and resources;

An online community;

A showcase of stories from end users.

 

Media literacy is an essential skill for any generation to master. Becoming media literate means young people build communication skills, and also become equipped with the tools to interpret, to understand, to critically question and to interact with media. The ability to create your own media is empowering and outlets such as a blog or a podcast give a platform for young people to tell their personal story so as to build a place in culture and society. In this particular aspect, we intend to take advantage of digital storytelling inspired in journalistic techniques, as educational tools.

The project embraces a holistic methodology building products from the ground up, reflecting learning in a flexible curriculum rather than outlining a rigid learning path from the outset, recognising the learning which occurs rather than prescribing what can be learned. Providing a platform from which unheard stories can be told and supporting and facilitating the process.  

There are many project outcomes which are useful tools and resources for educators but the most important outcome will be the positive effects that the project has on the young people who participate. Not only will they gain a wide range of skills but they will benefit from the social and individual growth derived from engaging with fulfilling storytelling.

We are keen to work with others so if you have ideas or resources or would just like to stay in touch please contact me @angelarees or leave a comment.

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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.

http://www.mzbaltazarslaboratory.org/about/

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.”

http://mothership.hackermoms.org/

Prototype – Pittsburgh

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

https://prototypepgh.com/

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”

https://oaklandmakerspace.wordpress.com/

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”

http://www.dragonhall.org.uk/innovation/

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

TACCLE3 CODING Conference

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

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_ 

Very Hungry QR Caterpillars

The Taccle  project ran workshops at the National Digital Learning Event for Wales last week. One of the many ideas we presented for embedding ICT across the curriculum was using QR codes to enhance books.

Here’s a link to download ready made codes for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Cut them out and stick them in the book or use them as part of an interactive display.

Make your own QR codes here.

Have fun!

Charts and viral videos aside, this is why I’m voting IN.

I joked about it six months ago, “if Brexit happens I’m out of a job”, happy in the knowledge that Britain is better off in Europe, that Wales is better off in Europe.

I still believe that. For me there are no compelling reasons to leave, the least of which is ‘getting back control of our borders’. We have control.

I’m not scared of immigrants. I’m scared of Fascists.

I’m not scared of refugees. I’m scared of the people who would deny them refuge.

So now I’m wondering, what do I know about the EU that makes me so sure it’s a good thing? What do I know that the other 52% don’t?

The European Commission pay my wages.

They don’t just give me money without a bloody good reason though, applying for funding to pay me around £100 a week requires a detailed plan, an 80 page application form, research, explanations meeting their strict criteria, coordinating a team of partners across Europe, finding the best people, assurances from accountants, weeks of unpaid work… and if the Commission don’t think it’s going to benefit enough other people, people who need it, it’s back to the drawing board.

And if we are successful? We have to work hard and deliver a high quality project, we have to prove that real people are benefiting, we have to provide research and evidence and reports and publications and make the project sustainable even after the money has all been spent and account for every penny and cent or the Commission will take it all back.

Yes that takes bureaucracy. I’m glad it does. It means that money from the EU goes to people who need it.

People like  The Squad in London who worked alongside DragonHall Trust on the RadioActive project where young people with no qualifications, young people at risk of exclusion from society and young people with multiple profound learning disabilities were trained in media skills, given a platform, and empowered to make some cracking Internet Radio. The money from the EU ran out years ago but because of their initial contribution the project is still running in three countries, improving self esteem, increasing employability and giving a voice to people who need to be heard.

People like kids in Rhondda Cynon Taf, one of the poorest areas in Europe (It’s in a convergence region so the per capita gross domestic product(GDP) is less than 75% of the average GDP of the EU-25) who get to experience free tech-workshops, broadening their horizons.

People like teachers, everywhere, who get free CPD training and teaching resources provided through projects like Taccle3 (and then there’s CPD for NHS staff and Construction workers and Public Employment Services and support for people starting new businesses…)

If we leave, do you really think Westminster gives a damn about the at risk people, the people with disabilities or the kids living in poverty. We give money to the EU, the EU re-distributes it where it is needed most. I don’t trust the government to do that.