What we’ve been reading, week 3

Time to kick back and catch up on all the education, technology, learning, and maker news you might have missed this week. So without further ado, here’s our weekly best of the web reading list.


An electric guitar made out of colored pencils

This project might not be for those makers that are starting out but we can say that it’s pretty cool. To build this electric guitar (a Fender Stratocaster no less), you’ll just need 1200 coloured pencils.


‘It’s about having a critical mindset’: why kids should learn architecture

What’s the essence of STEM education? We think it’s designing and making. Design is decision-making and problem-solving, and both these things are very relevant to daily life.

Vicky Chan, founder of the design firm Avoid Obvious Architects, has taught urban design and planning to thousands of kids. The reason why? According to Chan, teaching urban planning can develop the students’ thinking skills, and teaches them how to creatively think out the reasoning.


Mitch Resnick: the next generation of scratch teaches more than coding

The growing societal interest in coding provides a great opportunity—not just for supporting future engineers and scientists, but for enabling all students, from all backgrounds, to develop the confidence and capacity to express themselves creatively with new technologies.

Early this month the MIT Media Lab introduced a new generation of Scratch, called Scratch 3.0. In Mich Resnick’s words, one of Scratch’s inventors, their educational mission is to engage students in thinking creatively, reasoning systematically and working collaboratively—essential skills for everyone in today’s society. 


Quote of the week


The “knowledge transfer”​ question

Education should be about inquiry. We want kids to wonder about things. We want adults to not simply accept what they are told. Being intelligent means have an “inquiring mind.”

Our education model is built on the idea that there is knowledge and that it can be transferred. What happens when we question that assumption?


Selfiebot

“We hardly print anything these days, especially photos, so it’s a lot of fun,” says Sophy Wong, the mind behind this project, to the MagPi.

Check out their article to find out how you can build this uber cute selfiebot and get your own pictures printed on to thermal paper.


Plants sprout on moon for first time as part of Chinese space mission

Cotton seeds carried by China’s Chang’e-4 moon probe sprout on the far side of the moon

We’re no strangers when it comes to growing plants to meet the food needs of the future, so when we heard that seeds onboard China’s Chang’e-4 moon probe have become the first biological matter to grow on the moon we got pretty excited.

The Chang’e-4 lunar probe landed on 3 January, and transmitted the first-ever ‘close range’ image of the far side of the moon.


Ofsted plans overhaul of inspections to look beyond exam results

This might not be something new, but Oftsted has announced this week their plan to launch a new framework. Under the new proposals, schools that push out less able children – a practice known as ‘off-rolling’ – or teach a narrow curriculum designed solely to improve test results and gaming league table rankings risk being punished by Ofsted’s inspectors. The organisation’s new guidelines will shift focus towards quality of education rather than ‘outcomes’. As ever the proof is in the pudding.

“We are not saying outcomes don’t matter, but we have reached the limits of what data alone can tell us,” says Luke Tryl, Ofsted’s director of corporate strategy.


This is the most in-demand skill of 2019, according to LinkedIn

Employers recognize the importance of embracing modern technologies as well as recognizing those things technology can’t do: connect with other people, engage in out-of-the-box thinking and quickly adapt to new priorities or problems.

LinkedIn analysed hundreds of thousands of job postings in order to determine which skills companies need most in 2019. The result? The report shows that employers are looking for workers with both soft skills and hard technical skills and for the first time ever, creativity made it to their list as the most in-demand soft skill in 2019.


Scratch Conference Europe

This week, Raspberry Pi have announced that this summer they’ll host the UK’s first-ever Scratch Conference Europe. The conference will take place from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 August at Churchill College, Cambridge. Tickets for Scratch Conference Europe will go on sale in April. Perhaps we’ll see you there!


Want to read more? Check our previous ‘best of the web’ reading list.

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