Friday, 19 December 2014

Hey Jude.... and the FabLab four...

Down in London yesterday working on a project with some folks from INTEL and Helen Steer from Explorer HQ.
This is an extension of the DISTANCE project that we worked on last year which has a focus on the 'internet of things' and sustainable cities.

One of the resources we worked on related to the use of weather data and the way that they could be used to explore different aspects of the weather: ranging from everyday weather with KS2 to the impacts of extreme events with GCSE students. My role was in the creation of curriculum contexts for learning, integrating the technology and the data that is produced by weather stations. This idea of data being generated by, and informing our daily lives is connected with the whole smart cities work that INTEL is involved in through ICRI. 

We identified the St. Jude's storm as being worthy of our attention. As it was in October 2013, it was relatively recent, and there were also a range of news coverage, hype in the media, and also analysis of the storm. We needed some archive data to compare with the present data from the weather sensors that we are using for the project.

Many thanks to Simon Collins from Reigate Grammar School for coming up trumps with his weather data from the school weather station.


This is available online in a live feed here, and is also one of the stations on the Weather Underground network, which means that the data can be 'scraped' for use in other applications.

Thanks to Simon for sending a detailed set of data from the period either side of the storm itself.
He has also produced this very useful and detailed explanation of the storm.

We then went over to INTEL's FABLAB space in the city.
This had a row of 3D printers which were busy extruding Christmas trees and other interesting 3D objects. Interested to see how these might be used within the school. I wonder whether there are plans to get one - perhaps we already have one...

We worked with the impressive folks there, some of whom we worked with on the previous project: David from Sciencescope, Greg: an INTEL design technologist, Duncan: an engineer and project manager who drives the projects on with a research focus, and Jason, who was working on software and the way that the Arduino boards from the sensor kits we are making can 'talk' to the internet.

It was impressive to see the opportunities for technology being integrated into the curriculum, and discussions on design and prototyping... It's rare for teachers to see how multi-billion pound industries 'work' and have the chance to work with some very talented people with very different backgrounds... an exciting project.

You can see the results of our work on the INTEL stand at BETT 2015 in January. Pop over and see what we've been up to....

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