Wired – essential reading for D&T Departments


I’ve been a fan of Wired for some years now. It strikes me that all D&T teachers need to keep up to date with new and emerging ‘tech’ as part of on going regular professional development and a monthly meeting where a department ‘flicks through’ the latest issue of Wired seems a useful, painless and interesting way of doing this. The results should be a listing of items that will intrigue students and help keep the department ‘modern’. It’s a straight forward matter to use the items for either a hard copy display – simply tear out relevant pages and mount in the department foyer, or an electronic display – simply photograph relevant pages and produce a PowerPoint display for the VLE. Of course if you have a bit more time you can extract various items and provide a commentary. If it’s on the VLE then it can feature as the basis for homework exercises. So what did the November 2015 edition yield?

Page 21 – the use of 96 million small black plastic balls on the Los Angeles Reservoir to halt the growth of algae and stop evaporation.

Page 22 – fascinating application of biomimicry in the use of bacteria to grow calcium carbonate shells which are infused into sand to produce building bricks – no heating in a kiln required and the resulting bricks might be able to absorb pollution or glow in the dark or change colour when wet. Check out www.biomason.com

Page 27 – Open Bionics produces low cost individualized 3D printed prosthetic hands, from sac to fitting in less than a week. Check out www.openbionics.com

Page 39 – bio inspired drones that will be able to switch between swimming, walking and flying – just like many birds. Check out www.imperial.ac.uk/aerialrobotics

Page 53 – the Jellyfish Barge which uses solar energy to grow crops hydroponically. Check out www.pnat.net

Page 55/6 – neat overview of carbon capture storage

Page 78 – the impact of robotics on employment, interesting piece by Martin Ford author of The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the threat of Mass Unemployment

Page 206/7 – Overview guide on making your own drone

Page 133 – the argument for self driving vehicles being safer than those driven by humans

That’s what tickled my fancy but your department might well find other features more to your taste. It’s up to you.

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2 thoughts on “Wired – essential reading for D&T Departments

  1. Like you David I love gadgets and try to keep up with the latest developments. Do you think there is a problem with sites like Wired and Click that they focus mainly on the positive side of tech? I just had a horrible thought, maybe I’m becoming a Luddite!

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    • YOU, tim, a Luddite – never! I think Wired deals with more than just gadgets but in the main it does have a more than positive approach to technology and for this it could be criticised. Note however that the piece on robotics was very much a warning as to the effects on employment. But as teachers we can, and in my view should, teach our pupils to critique this stance. But the first step is to identify the articles.

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