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March 2021  |  Issue 31
Supporting staff and students to achieve their full potential
(Est. 1968) |

Dear CENMAC Community,

This month is Women in History, along with International Women’s day on 8 March 2021. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to shine a light on those women having a significant impact on technology both past and present.   

Little is often known about some of the most inspirational women in history who have played a key role in the advancements in this field. Within the area of assistive technology, we are also working with some brilliant women who are leading the way with innovative technology. Through this month’s newsletter and our blogs, we look forward to sharing resources and information that you can hopefully use in school or engage in discussions around how we can encourage girls into future roles in this area.   

Kathryn Stowell
Head of CENMAC

How to Talk to Robots

'... We live in an era where machines are taught to learn
and act without human intervention and there are
infinite possibilities to their applications.'


Cover of how to talk to robots which is pink with collage images of a flower, butterfly and rosesDo you want to learn more about women in the history of technology? This book gives some interesting overviews and information as well as looking to the future of AI. 

How to Talk to Robots 

‘How to Talk to Robots, is your girls' guide to Artificial Intelligence. Entrepreneur Tabitha Goldstaub welcomes you into the AI world with a warm embrace. She brilliantly breaks down the tech-bro barriers offering a straightforward introduction and makes clear the enormous benefits of understanding AI.' 

(Image ©

Read our blog post with reviews on How to Talk to Robots:


The young and technology

Lillie-Ann and what technology means to her
Interview by Zoe Tillotson

What does technology mean to you?

Technology enables me to do my schoolwork. I wouldn’t be able to write without it. It makes me independent and has allowed me to access my lessons easily during Covid and lockdown.

If technology could do anything, what you like it to do?

If I could wish for anything, I would like a teleporter to take me to Disneyland Paris or just Paris in general because I enjoy learning to speak French at school. I would also like some technological invention of some sort to allow me to walk so that I could learn to dance – ballet in particular – but all kinds of dance.

Cover os theatre show Newsies
What has inspired you recently?

Musicals inspire me. Recently I watched Newsies on Disney Plus and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. I really liked the plot because it’s about a bunch of newspaper boys who go on strike due to unfair working conditions and low pay. I felt bad for them and had empathy and compassion for their situation even though I’ve never really experienced anything like that myself. Also, one of the boys Crutchie is disabled which is cool. The music in it is also really good and it’s got more dancing in it than the French Ballet Academy.


Illustration of two women at a screen

Teaching Assistant Award | March 2021

In our work supporting students with assistive technology, we meet some amazing teaching assistants who we would like to acknowledge. The extra work and the skills of these individuals have a huge impact on their students' learning.


Woman with glasses smilingCongratulations to Jean Murphy
March 2021 Teaching Assistant Award

Jean Murphy of The Elm Green School

I've been working with SEN students for quite a few years now, both primary and secondary. I have to say teenagers are my favourites to work with, hilariously funny and annoyingly stubborn but definitely interesting and rewarding. Having equipment, as tailored as their CENMAC device, makes lessons much more accessible for students and makes a huge difference.  Then, for me, watching their confidence grow is fantastic. 


Blue graphic with text cenmac online training


March - June 2021

Our next training course: 
Online Scribeasy Introduction Session, Wednesday 10 March
Eventbrite Link

During the SEN TES online show this year we were introduced to an exciting online platform for writing. Not only is this platform extremely creative and accessible for many learners it has the potential to engage those who have previously disengaged with the writing process. Amanda Duncan is the founder of Scribeasy - Creative writing, has a background in education and the arts which comes across in this brilliant visual tool. We are eagerly anticipating the use of this site and seeing the progress with learners. Amanda is running a session for us this Wednesday, so sign up to find out more. 

Microsoft Accessibility: Thursday 11 March   |   Eventbrite Link 

Online Clicker 8: Wednesday 12 May  |  Eventbrite Link

DocsPlus Online Training Wednesday 9 June  |  Eventbrite Link

Online Clicker 8 Training Wednesday  16 June  |  Eventbrite Link

Online Clicker Writer Training 30 June |  Eventbrite Link

We are on instagram!
Follow us _CENMAC

On our instagram platform we are sharing a wide range of Assistive Technology in use, plus incorporating awareness days and weeks to showcase how technology is part of our daily lives.

Instagram boxes

Cover of Hidden figures that shows three black women smiling on the coverResources


A must to watch (again if you have seen it) is the movie Hidden Figures. It is based on the lives of a team of female African-American mathematicians, who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. Trailer: Hidden Figures

Podcast host Zuzy Martin-Aly explores the evolution of tech through interviews with people developing solutions that are shaping our future. Podcast Archive - Girls in Tech 

Image of a woman holding a stick and smiling

Paige Hobart, an inspirational speaker who has built a career in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is offering a free, online event on Thursday 18 March focusing on opportunities for women in tech and her own personal story of overcoming barriers along the way. To book a place visit 

Girls in STEM: STEM Programs for Girls - Microsoft CSR 

Why not book coding lessons: One Hour of Code: Minecraft | Microsoft 

Live Event: Learn Live: Women in UK Parliament - Parliament UK Education   

Learn with the Lords: Question Time for International Women's Day - Parliament UK Education  

McLaren Formula 1 – Women Smashing Stereotypes: McLaren women smashing stereotypes - Women in STEM 


Did you know ...

In the UK, 50% of the workforce is female, but only 15% of STEM jobs are done by women. One international non-profit organisation looking to address this imbalance and inequality is Girls Who Code offering free computer science clubs and programmes to girls age 11-18 to inspire and excite.  

Green illustration with science symbols and a face of a woman3D Technology: Valerie Thomas is an American scientist and inventor who patented the illusion transmitter in 1980. After seeing an illusion that involved concave mirrors and light bulbs in a museum, she became curious and wanted to know about how she could apply concave mirrors in her work at NASA.

Her invention, the illusion transmitter grew out of her experimentation with concave mirrors. It can best be described as early 3D technology. Her invention transmits an optical illusion of a 3D image between concave mirrors that looks real on the receiving end. NASA continues to use her technology to this day. 
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