Nottingham Trent University D&T Open Day.On the 6th of June I visited the BSc Secondary D&T Education End of year show at Nottingham Trent University. We had been invited by the department to take a look around and see some of the final year projects. Considering that a lot of these students will go on to become D&T teachers it seemed like a good place to go to get a feel for the sort of resources people going into secondary D&T teaching are looking for, and also getting some feedback on the general feeling of the role electronics plays in modern D&T lessons. I was really impressed by the standard of work presented there; all of the stands looked fantastic and had folders which documented (in a lot of detail!) the design process from the initial ideas through to the final designs. There were a lot of great ideas but two that really stood out were a wireless campsite fire alarm system and a wearable hypoglycaemia sensor for diabetics. The first was based on an Arduino board with a wireless shield. The alarm activated if a fire extinguisher was removed from its normal location and sent a tweet to @campingsafetyuk which means the message would immediately show up on the phones of the people using the campsite. Plus it has a backup battery connected to a solar cell for added reliability. The project was created by Bethen Jones who also made an online resource with lots of extra information about the project that can be found at http://dm3eresource.4ormat.com/my-project-fire-alarm-system. The diabetic hypoglycaemia alarm also used Arduino hardware, but it used the Lilypad e-textiles variant of the Arduino. Sensors were sewn into clothes with conductive thread and were monitoring temperature and skin conductivity to detect any dramatic changes such as those caused by an episode of hypoglycaemia. The lilypad was then able to trigger an alarm alerting the wearer that their blood sugar was getting low. This project was the work of Frances Berry who I have been informed has since attracted the interest of a leading diabetes researcher. I think these two projects in particular really show the potential of electronics in D&T and also the creativity of the students at the Nottingham Trent Secondary Education department. Finally I would like to thank the department for their invitation and to congratulate them on their hard working putting together such a successful show!
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