Cracking the Code
Education Over the last decade the classroom has changed beyond recognition and nowhere is this more so than when it comes to what has traditionally been known as design technology.
Design Technology used to refer primarily to woodwork and the like, according to Steve Parkinson, co-founder of Teach Design which was founded in 2013, the emphasis has changed to “maker movements”, specifically coding and robotics.
“It is linked to manufacturing and how manufacturing is changing,” he says. “We are going through the new industrial revolution and programming, coding and robotics are a massive part of new developments. The way we manufacture things is being flipped. Highly accurate robots offer the speed and flexibility to overtake existing markets exploiting low labour costs. To keep up, students must learn to code.
One problem is that students saw this type of study as the stuff of science fiction and don’t believe it could be something they could get involved with, but this is changing. “I recently worked with a student who thought they wanted to be an electrical engineer but after learning about advances in robotics and 3D printing, decided he wanted to pursue a career in mechatronics instead.” Pupils have become fascinated by robots that can solve problems such as bomb disposal and even piano lessons – a robot’s hand can play the piano and the watching student can learn.
“In the future children will be using kits more to create their own circuits,” says Steve. “These are children who have been brought up on Minecraft and so this is the next logical step.”