26
JUL
2016

“It’s not rocket science” – Actually, it is!

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My great friend and mentor Ian Lynch, on top of the many other achievements he amassed, was an excellent physics teacher.  Many years ago he wrote a book about his love of particle physics called Tales from the Microcosm.  The book was an extension of tales he used to tell his children when they were young to encourage them to have the same love of science that he did (which they do).  Since Ian sadly passed away last year, all of us at TLM have tried hard to fill his not inconsiderable shoes.  Though I am no physics teacher, I am a keen reader of all things science related and try to learn all that I can about the scientific world.  As a tribute to Ian, I have developed, with the help of many colleagues, a qualification which I feel encapsulates all that he stood for called Open Systems and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies.  While not a science qualification per se, it does involve some physics (try launching a rocket or microsatellite without it).  It also explores robotics and AI, microsatellites, unmanned vehicles and rocketry.  

Ian was a great believer in collaboration and all of our qualifications are designed to be managed across the entire school.  There is actually no need to have any IT curriculum time to complete our IT qualification as it can be completed across all disciplines.  The same goes for this qualification.  My idea originally was that science teachers who were also tutors could use their tutor time to teach this unit.  The students would have something to engage with and end up with an additional L2 qualification.  There is also no reason why after school clubs can't achieve one unit to get their students a certificate to recognise their achievements and interests.  Given the pressures on timetables with Progress 8, it is unlikely to be time-tabled, but might be.  If interest is at a reasonable level, we can develop a L1 and L3 version for progression. 

There is likely to be a huge shortage of these advanced skills going forward.  Read any newspaper, or watch the news, and you will be hard pushed not to see something about AI, robotics or advanced manufacturing.  If we don't expose students to these skills now, they will not be ready in the near future when the economy will depend on them.  This was always what Ian believed and he pushed qualifications right down even to P-Scales to try and engage and encourage students.

If accepted, the qualification will be live for September, but there is no guarantee about League Table Points.  Those lists will be published in November 2016.  I will be submitting the qualification for this list.  With LTP, the start date would be September 2017 for 2019 completion.

Please contact if you are interested in further details or believe you could help out.

This ones for you Ian!

Rockets Flyer

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About the Author
Started work for TLM in August 2014, having known Ian Lynch for many years and collaborated on a number of open source projects and initiatives. Working with Moodle for a number of years after teaching IT to A Level for 10 years.

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