[Update 15-15-17: the first newsletter has been posted. If you haven’t already signed up for it, you can view it (and choose to subscribe) here.]
Early next week I’ll be launching a newsletter focussed on Disruptive Technologies and D&T. What I want to do here is explain a little bit why I’m starting this and the kind of content that it will contain.
The first edition of the newsletter will be published next week – some of what follows is sampled from it.
You can sign up for the newsletter on the newsletter’s sign up page.
David Barlex and I have been working on a project that focuses on making a range of Disruptive Technologies (DTs) accessible for classroom use and discussion. The DTs we have chosen to emphasise are:
- Additive manufacturing
- Artificial intelligence
- Augmented reality
- Big data
- Internet of things
- Programmable matter
- Synthetic biology
We think these technologies provide a really powerful context to help pupils learn about technological perspective (this idea is developed in our recent Working Paper Big Ideas for D&T), while at the same time introducing pupils to technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on their adult lives. The DTs we have chosen are at very different levels of development with, for example, additive manufacturing being something that many (most? all?) schools have at least some access to. In contrast, synthetic biology is advancing surprisingly rapidly as a technology in industry but has, so far, made minimal impact in schools and programmable matter remains largely a R&D project in some universities and other research institutes.
We also realise that there are other technologies ‘out there’ that have the potential to be disruptive and, also, that it is possible that some of our nominated DTs may turn out to be more of a disruptive whimper than a bang. That’s future-gazing for you.
This is an ‘in our free time’ project so inevitably develops more slowly than we would like.
However, I read a lot. (Well, David and I both read a lot – but I should probably emphasise that I take responsibility for what appears in this newsletter.) And I’d like to share the fruits of this reading with colleagues in D&T because I realise that not all have the luxury of time that I do to wade through quite a lot of content to find the useful and interesting nuggets.
This is probably my age talking, but Twitter seems to me to be too ephemeral for stuff that might actually be useful (if you’re lucky enough to see it fly by you probably won’t find it again when you need it…). And I don’t want to clog up the blog on our website with this kind of stuff. So, I’m trying out a newsletter for size; it will take at least six months for me to decide whether it is a success or not – and I’ll measure that by how many folk have signed up to it.
I’ve deliberately called this ‘The Disruptive technologies and D&T’ newsletter rather than ‘The Disruptive technologies in D&T’ newsletter as this gives me a bit of elbow room to wander over wider issues related to D&T education. Mostly it will contain links to recently published material on-line with a degree of commentary on each item. I’ll make no attempt to cover every DT every time. And I’ll also mentions books that I’ve read that seem to me to be useful, relevant or interesting. Sometimes they’ll be all three.
My aim is to produce a reasonably (but not too) frequent edition with enough content to be interesting but not overwhelming. I’m thinking that perhaps 3-4 issues a month, during term-time, might be about right, with a slower rate of publication in school holidays. I will rely on feedback from you to tell me whether both the frequency and length are reasonably manageable.
If you think that such a newsletter might be useful, please both sign up to receive it and forward this post on to colleagues and, if you work in ITE in any capacity, to your trainee teachers.