foolfillment: the blog

Archive for the ‘CDT’ Category

Basic Introduction to Autodesk Inventor

2:36 pm on the 24th of March, 2008

I’ve put together a wee tutorial on using Autodesk Inventor. I’ve been using the Professional 2008 version but most of it transfers across to other versions.

It is based around a series of screenshots hosted in a set on flickr with supporting notes. It works really well if you click through the set image by image. This is the first screen.

Flickr’s slideshow transitions mean that it is pretty slick when you watch it that way, although the notes added on top of the images don’t show – anyone know of a way around this other than editing the images themselves?

I’d love to know what people think of it, it was only a couple of hours work but would be nice to know I’ve not wasted that time.

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3D Modelling challenge

4:50 pm on the 26th of August, 2007

Ewan bookmarked a link to some Escher inspired Lego models today which I enjoyed looking at and reading about, I found my way from there to the official Escher website which features fly-throughs of some of his work.

It got me thinking…

How long would it take a pupil to create something like the movie above? The S1s on Islay are making stuff just as good using Google Sketchup, and it took me about 2 minutes using Inventor to make the impossible triangle below, so, who’s up for the challenge?
impossible triangle

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10:08 pm on the 30th of April, 2007

This morning I had my last lecture ever as an undergraduate (assuming that I haven’t messed up somewhere and I actually pass this year!) and afterwards Krysia took the chance to show our class the resource she’s made as part of her dissertation. It’s a website that I’ve been helping her set up and it’s been pretty good to have something to work on other than my own dissertation for a while.

Anyway, now that it’s no longer under wraps I thought I’d share a little bit about it here. It is a site that has been set up to enable newly qualified tech teachers like myself and Krysia to share what we’re doing with other new tech teachers. It’s set up so that it is (fingers crossed) really easy for us to each have a blog where we can upload resources we’ve made, share our experiences in the job, and generally support each other through what is likely to be a fairly hectic and perhaps fraught year. With the magic of RSS everything that gets uploaded can be categorised and aggregated in any number of different ways. A user might want to keep in touch with everything that’s going on, another user might only want to see things about Graphic Communication, another user might only care about Intermediate 2 things, or any combination of these. I think it’s all set up so it’s really easy to do and all me and Krysia have to do is show people the power of it and to get them started.

The idea of it has come out of lots of research and reading that Krysia has done, and what really struck me when Krysia first talked to me about it was the similarities in what she was saying and what is being said and done in East Lothian with Edubuzz. What has come out of it is When we were trying to come up with names we really struggled but technobuzz really struck a chord, the problem we faced was deciding if it was too similar to edubuzz. In the end we went for it and I hope that we’re not ticking anybody off by doing so, but the two projects do have fairly similar outlooks so I hope we’re okay.

I hate to say it but even though we’re technology teachers the majority of my class wouldn’t have the first clue how to use RSS, will never have heard of Web2.0, and haven’t even considered using the internet in lessons. The word blog just makes some people sleepy before you can explain the potential. I really wish on my course there had been something like the lectures that David Muir and Ewan McIntosh have given at Jordanhill on using new technology in the classroom.

That said I’m actually really excited about technobuzz and can’t wait to see how my classmates take to it, I really hope they see the potential this has to make next year that little bit easier to get through and get involved. It’d also be interesting to see what other teachers think of the site – once it has been running for a while and any bugs have been ironed out it could be extended to all techy teachers, or into other subjects.

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Teaching Scout

11:34 am on the 21st of February, 2007

I’ve had a few short discussions with the hard-working Krysia on my course recently, like most of the people on my course she’s been spending a lot of her time on the final year project in the last wee while. As part of her project she wants to put together a resource for new CDT teachers – she puts it better:

for probationary Technology teachers to: blog, have an open forum, post resources, help each other out, and not feel too isolated during their first year.

Concerns I have are, how to ‘break down barriers’ such as: peoples’ willingness to share what they do, to overcome the ‘can I really be bothered with this’, how best to maintain a common focus. Things that I feel will be needed, and I’ll need to develop, are maintaining real life contact with each other, the use of critical friends, having a progressing (monthly) focus, a structured resource database and unfortunately some kind of security as I don’t know how pupil suitable the site may be.

Why am I mentioning this here? Well, she needs a way of setting this up that is going to be manageable, cheap, and easy to use, so any suggestions people have would be welcomed,. But also she wants to see if there is anyone out there:

Though I wonder what’ll be needed to get everyone on board, to create a common aim in our teaching practice? I feel we’re all doing it for different reasons – which is no bad thing – but I’ve not yet had a sense of ‘whole school/ across schools community’ which I feel is vital

I’ve probably ripped enough out of her post already so why don’t you go over to her blog Teaching Scout and read it for yourself, then try to give her an idea of the sort of community that can exist.


4:40 pm on the 8th of February, 2007

I wrote yesterday about the Royal High School’s excellent CDT department webpage. It is an showcase of the work being done by their pupils, and an insight into the varied software they use. It is updated every week or so and it looks as though it is all done by hand – that is, creating the pages in Notepad or Dreamweaver or similar; cropping and resizing all the images and uploading them to the right directories, manually archiving the old versions of the pages.

I wonder if they realise how much easier it would be to update their site through some sort of combination of a blog and a photo sharing site like, and the community they could create around their work – I already know lots of teachers check it regularly, I’m sure conversations would quickly take place and the benefits for pupils (theirs and outsiders) would be tremendous.

One thing I really used to miss about their site was a feed so I didn’t have to check if it had been updated (you do use feeds by now don’t you?) so I went away and made one using, so if you want to be kept up to date with what they’ve been doing then you can use it too: RSS feed for the RHS CDT Department.

And if anyone is out there from RHS I hope you don’t see this as any sort of criticism – I think the site is great and I just hope that it doesn’t turn into a chore and stop getting updated, I’d miss it!