What we’ve been reading, week 17

Welcome to another week of ‘what we’ve been reading’, our weekly round-up of the latest technology, education, making, and learning stories.


Fourth Industrial Revolution Centre launched in South Africa

The Fourth Industrial Revolution would affect every aspect of life and it is not possible to discuss economic development without considering the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the economy

South African Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane highlighted that the country’s future development probably depended on how fast it mastered the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). She was addressing a breakfast forum to mark the setting up of a South African Affiliate Centre of the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR). The local Affiliate Centre will be hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria. “This is the start of a very long and exciting journey together,” she said.


The science of drawing and memory

A new study shows that drawing is superior to activities such as reading or writing because it forces the person to process information in multiple ways: visually, kinaesthetically, and semantically.

Why is drawing such a powerful memory tool? Researchers explain that it “requires elaboration on the meaning of the term and translating the definition to a new form (a picture).” Unlike listening to a lecture or viewing an image—activities in which students passively absorb information—drawing is active. It forces students to grapple with what they’re learning and reconstruct it in a way that makes sense to them.


Tappy robotic hand

This project published on Adafruit’s blog combines very basic materials to create an entrancing hand that can be “programmed” to move its fingers in different sequences. Pretty cool, right?


LEGO Foundation release LEGO Braille Brick

Motivated by stories and ideas from blind people around the world, the LEGO Foundation and LEGO Group will pilot a grassroot innovation that can help blind and visually impaired children learn through play using LEGO bricks.


Scratch and baking

This amazing project by Kazutoyo from Panasonic connects Scratch to IoT Smart Home🤯


What is school for?

This inspiring video by Prince Ea lays out everything that is wrong with our current education system, and wonders why we teach to the test instead of teaching young people valuable life skills that they will need for their future.


The Art of Digital Fabrication

There’s a new book on maker education coming out:
The Art of Digital Fabrication: STEAM Projects for the Makerspace and Art Studio
by Erin E. Riley. Described as “learning by making with the heart of a scientist and the critical eye of an artist”, the book showcases the artistic and technical work of students that results from combining art with engineering and design. It’s out on May 6 and can pre-ordered here.


Quote of the week


Is this 3D-printed building the future home for astronauts on Mars?

The Mars X House by SEArch+ has won NASA’s most recent 3D-printed habitat challenge

New York-based space architects SEArch+ partnered with Californian 3D print construction company ApisCor to come up with a five-storey design that incorporates many home comforts, including four bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room with views out over the Martian landscape.

And although the first Martian colony is still some way in the future, NASA believes the technology could be used right now in helping to solve Earth’s housing crisis, providing low-cost, sustainable homes.


Interactive fiction with Python

Students love to play computer games, and the very best games have amazing stories.

Nicholas Provenzano

In the latest issue of Hello World magazine, Nicholas Provenzano explains how he introduced Python to students in his literature class, bridging computer science and literacy.


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

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