I have been catching up on my reading these last few days of the summer and ran across the following three sites that might be of interest to technology teachers. The first two are created by the same individuals. Squid Labs is a California based lab where a few MIT engineers create things. Their sister site Instructables is a portal where people come to share their ideas. The other site is a place where students can actually design a piece and have it manufactured for a cost. The last is called emachines. Emachines actually is a custom building site. If you are a fan of the Discovery channels shows such as Monster Garage or Junk Yard Wars this site might interest you. Basically you go there and download their software, sketch and draw your creation, and then have them create it for you. This is kind of a neat idea, since not everyone has a metal lathe or 3D cutting tool at their disposal.
In the same vein as these three sites is Make Magazine, which is an O'Reily publication. They have a great podcast that shows example projects that can be done on a weekend. There are a lot of neat projects that you can create all by yourself from this site.
So how does this connect to our schools? At all of these sites there are a lot of different possibilities that allow students to create projects that interest them, connecting this to the Math, Science, and Technology curriculum is not a huge stretch. A lot of the projects are works in progress that show the thinking that the designers go through as they create their projects. They also are a great way to hook students. Having students critique the projects or look at improving them would be great ways to engage students in these communities. Anyways just a few thoughts on some things that I found interesting the last few weeks.