This article examines post-pandemic scenarios that combine an emerging research agenda with three distinct topics relevant to the changing requirements of education systems worldwide: STEM education, mathematical thinking, and data literacy. In addition, how these topics are collectively positioned within the context of the digital environment is discussed. We examine the social usefulness of data literacy as may be embedded within a STEM paradigm and consider it as reaching beyond this paradigm into domains of civics and ethics. We propose that a meaningful strategy on ‘data literacy’ requires complex practical development and a curriculum presence explicitly within the Mathematics content area and across all STEM subjects, while also aligned to skills development typically associated with 21st century education together with emergent skills now associated with the fourth industrial revolution. In a similar way to how computational thinking has emerged as reaching beyond the formalities of computer science, the ‘M’ in STEM in this paper signifies ‘mathematical thinking’ is relevant beyond the discipline of Mathematics.