Out of this world

It’s August in Britain, and it’s raining. In fact, I was reading today that the Meteorological Office has issued a severe weather warning for the South-East of England! So, a typical British summer in other words. What better time, if you’re still enjoying the school holidays, to visit an exhibition or two?

Photo by James Vaughn http://www.flickr.com/photos/x-ray_delta_one/If you live in, or are visiting, London, spend an hour or two at the Out of This World exhibition at the British Library.  Subtitled “Science Fiction, but not as you know it”, Out of This World looks at the ideas promoted in science fiction works dating back to Homer’s Iliad. There are several categories:

  • Future worlds
  • Alien worlds
  • Parallel worlds
  • Virtual worlds
  • The end of the world
  • The perfect world?

What fascinated me was the realisation that it isn’t just things like robots that have been predicted, but even mobile phones and, believe it or not, the world wide web and the virtual learning environment. The exhibition is fun as well as interesting. For example, there is a replica of Dr Who’s Time Machine with a note on the door handle saying something like “Popped out; back in 5,000 years”. There’s also an opportunity to create your own alien and see it appear on screen along with aliens created by other people.

I’m a fan of science fiction, and think it affords good opportunities for school work, in ICT in particular but also in other subjects such as English, Science and Citizenship (see the other articles tagged “science fiction”). The folks at the British Library clearly think the same because they are running free workshops and study days for students. When I visited the exhibition there were groups of students being spoken to by the staff, and it sounded very informative and interesting to me, so do explore those options on the exhibition website (see link given above).

Check out the Science Fiction Gateway too.

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