3D Scanning – on a massive scale

The Smithsonian has been experimenting with 3D scanning for some time now, using tools like laser arm scanners to map models of whale fossils and other ancient artifacts.

Now the museum is utilizing the technology to preserve its collection for posterity. They are working full-time to record items for future generations, as part of an extensive effort to digitize 14 million prioritized objects (a list that also includes artwork and lab specimen).

The video also shows the use of 3D printers to reproduce some of the artefacts – cutting edge technology indeed.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Have you seen Atoms?

WOW these little ‘lego bricks’ are the must have toy for next year.  The company is looking for Kickstart funds but they are already a long way along the path.

You can pledge to buy a kit now and get it at a reduced price – the pledge provided funding security for the company and you get a cheap kit – everyone wins.


Atom on Kickstarter

ICT Spending in Schools

The recent BBC Panorama program about the shocking state of support for school spending decisions across the nation has sparked a lot of debate.  At the same time there is a lot of concern about how to get the best improvements in teaching and learning from ICT.

Nesta have just produced their report ‘Decoding Learning’ which provides clear examples of good practice in this area and will add to the discussion. 

Geoff Mulgan, Nesta chief executive, said:

A tablet replacing an exercise book is not innovation – it’s just a different way to make notes. There’s incredible potential for digital technology in and beyond the classroom: but as in other fields, from healthcare to retail, it is vital to rethink how learning is organised if we’re to reap the rewards.

The danger is that the technology of the 21st century is being applied using teaching methods of the 20th. The emphasis is too often on shiny hardware – rather than how it’s to be used.


Decoding Learning report


The ‘Third Millenium Learning’ awards that are managed by Naace are seen as a really practical way of engaging with this developing agenda.

Complex Maths Formule

I’m actually very impressed with the Mathematical formula tools available in the MS Office suite but here is a nice simple too that could be an alternative.


I love the way it links with Worlfram aplha and with textify



There are lots of other freehand text conversion tools as well.


Program of Study Update

A little more clarity is emerging from the discussions about the revised PoS.  Several people have started to explain their view of the discussion to date and each update reads slightly differently but there are some clear ideas emerging – remember that this is just at a pre public consultation phase.

  • It will be called ICT and probably consider aspects called Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy 
  • The PoS will be reduced.  It has to fit on 1 page of A4 for each key stage plus a summary page – 5 in total.  (be generous here – I can understand what they are trying to do – it’s too easy to mock this approach)
  • Ambition and Excitement are important (it’s a shame that this has to be spelt out – but it does!)
  • Need to think about KS4.  ICT is compulsory for all so does ‘Computer Science’ fulfil this requirement.  What if a person opts out? (at long last it looks as if someone might tackle this)

I am really pleased by this and think that the general direction seems to be very positive. 

This has been (and realistically – continues to be) an uncertain time for ICT but the path ahead seemed to be becoming clearer and folk are talking sunshine and lovely views on the other side of the hill.

Programming not a high priority say ICT teachers

NFER conducted research using a sample of 770 ICT Teachers – their findings are interesting.

Question 1

Recently announced changes to the teaching and learning of ICT in schools give greater freedom to teachers to decide what is covered. In your view, which of the following areas are priorities for your school for inclusion in a new ICT/computer science curriculum?


So 40% rate programming as low priority (at best) and 89% rate ‘computer skills’ as medium priority or higher.

And the conclusion?

Matt Walker, a Research Manager at NFER, said: “the findings suggest that more work needs to be done in equipping ICT teachers with the skills and expertise required to teach computer science and in communicating to them why it is needed.”

(sounds a little like the main outcome of the Royal Society report)


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