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.