Carry On… Up The Conservatives

Exclusive Breaking News !

All Change Please! – the blog that broke the news that the Government was being secretly run by International Rescue (Thunderbirds are Gove), can now reveal that, with the announcement today of the double-dip entendre recession, Thunderbirds have been sacked and the Cabinet has now been taken over by the cast of the Carry On films…

Prime Minister David ‘Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy’ Cameron is in fact now none other than Kenneth Williams.

And yes, that’s Peter Butterworth as The PM’s manservant Nick Clegg

While Michael ‘Ooh Matron’ Gove is being expertly played by Charles Hawtrey, straight (or otherwise) from the 1950s.

And Frankie Howard is George ‘You might feel a slight prick’ Osborne

Here’s Kenneth  “A woman walks into a bar and asks for a double entendre, so the barman gives her one.” Clarke is played by Sid James

While Barbara Windsor appears as Theresa ‘Cheeky’ May

Wait, isn’t that Bernard Breslaw as William ‘Things are going to be hard’ Hague?

And finally here’s Joan Sims making a guest appearance as Mrs ‘This lady’s not for turning’ Thatcher

Meanwhile our on-the-scene reporter, Ivor Bigun claims to have photos of the entire cabinet immediately using the rear exit and going up the back passage of number 10. Just how long can they continue to keep it up? And when will Jeremy ‘stupid’ Hunt be forced to resign? Apparently Sgt Bung has been put in charge of the investigation.

And as for the current Tory slogan: “We’re all in this together“, the mind boggles…

What a Carry On…

With thanks to Tristram Ariss for the initial idea and selection of images

21st Century Schizoid Learning

I first encountered the world of education (as a prospective teacher as opposed to a student) some 37 years ago, in 1975, which by chance marked the dawn of the final quarter of the 20th century. It was a time when design and processed-based education was being pioneered. The phrase ‘throw-away society’ had already be coined, and we all knew about the hidden persuasive power of the media and advertising. And because of the oil crisis in the early 1970s there was much talk of the need for conservation and alternative energy, and public collaboration and for greater participation in new design processes. Quite clearly the end was in sight for the then current approach to the industrial society, mass-production and established design-by-drawing methodologies. By the end of the 1970s the impending impact of the computer on our lives was becoming evident too.

So when I come across the phrases ‘21st Century Learning‘ and ‘21st Century Skills‘, I can’t help thinking that what is actually being discussed is ‘late 20th Century Learning and Skills‘. The need for critical evaluation and problem-solving, creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration was clearly identified way back in the last century, but it has taken 37 years for them to start to become more widely identified and accepted (except of course by the present UK government).

Let’s project forward another 37 years then, to 2049. What are the educational needs of someone actually born in the 21st Century? The oldest will be turning 12 this year, and by 2049 will be 49. But unlike the 1960s and 70s when the next 25 years seemed relatively easy to anticipate, there’s now little indication as to how things will be in the future. The only prediction we can perhaps make, based on the fact that technology has clearly entered a highly disruptive phase, is that the next quarter of a century is completely unpredictable.

Thus the so-called ’21st Century Learning and Skills’ might well be hopelessly out-dated and inadequate to deal with living and working in the later years of this century. I suspect (and hope) they will still have some value, but who knows what things will actually be like in the brave new world our current generation of school-children will find themselves?

Perhaps the most important thing we should be focusing on is to ensure the inhabitants of tomorrow’s world are as flexible as possible in their thoughts and actions, well prepared for and accepting of discontinuous change as something normal, and more than willing to take risks and deal with failure. But surely the most important thing of all is to ensure that 21st Century children gain a positive view of education, and the ability to be able to learn for themselves in whatever future they encounter? Sadly, at present, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Image credit: Photo-Extremist:

Froth always follows function at the Fab Lab cafe!

Just for a change, and especially as it’s Easter weekend, it’s good to finally come across something to rave about!

Ever since I first came across MiT’s Fab Lab concept, I’ve always seen it as a great model for the future development of Design and Technology in schools, and one that moves it away from an out-dated 1960s approach to mass-manufacture, towards the needs of a 21st Century post-industrial society.

Essentially a Fab Lab (short for Fabrication Laboratory) is a small workshop where people from the local community can go and design and make small batches of the things they and their local community need, using 2D and 3D CAD/laser printing systems. And where better to site such a workshop than a local secondary school where it can be used during weekdays by students and in the evenings and at weekend by the public (in many case working with, and probably guided by, the students).

But this new ‘Fab Cafe’ in Japan takes things a step further, and moves the idea out of a workshop into a cafe environment – traditionally a place where people congregate to talk, write, read, draw and entertain one another.  There are more photos of the cafe here.

So let’s consider replacing a traditional D&T workshop in every secondary school in the country with something similar. Students, staff and members of the local community can come in, relax, have a coffee together, collaboratively and globally discuss local needs, and develop their design ideas on their iPads and send them to the 3D laser printer in the corner. It would also be a great environment for learning coding and other IT skills.

However, it seems that 3D printers may soon be a thing of the past.

And maybe one day someone will even be able to explain to me how this actually works?

Don’t say:  I’ll have have a double de-caff skinny latte with an extra shot of laser-resin and a slice of Raspberry Pi. Oh, and an icy tea for my friend.

Do sayTea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Top image credit: masakiishitani