Thursday, 12 March 2009

Meet your new teacher, Miss Anne Droid

School pupils are to be taught by the world's first robot teacher in one of the most radical uses so far of android technology.

The device, created by scientists after 15 years of research, is being trialled at a primary school in Tokyo. Named Saya, she can speak different languages, carry out roll calls, set tasks and make facial expressions – including anger – thanks to 18 motors hidden behind her latex face.

The humanoid was originally developed to replace a variety of workers, including secretaries, in a bid to allow firms to cut costs while still retaining some kind of human interaction. Her creator, science professor Hiroshi Kobayashi at the University of Tokyo, had been working on a robot for 15 years. She is the latest example of robots spreading to every aspect of life in Japan. They already guide traffic, attempt to lure university graduates to sign up to courses and one is even being developed to provide company to Alzheimer's sufferers.

The Japanese government has said that by 2015 it wants a robot in every home and is pouring $35 million (£23 million) into robotic intelligence to make it happen. The push is because of Japan's ageing population – in seven years one in four Japanese will be over 65 – which means the workforce is declining, pushing up wage costs for businesses and making recruitment difficult.

Now surely it can't be only me who finds the idea of a robot teacher getting angry unnerving...

Monday, 9 March 2009

Breaking news!

For some exciting news about an upcoming Jonathan Green publication, click here!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Prepare for the Key Stage 3 SATs with Match Wits

If you are the parent of a Key Stage 3 secondary school pupil, or a Key Stage 3 student yourself, you are probably already well-aware of the fact that the government has decided that the SAT Tests will no longer be compulsory for schools from 2009.

However, many schools are still using the actual 2009 printed SAT Test papers because teachers still need a valid and rigorous measure of progress to make informed decisions about how best to help pupils as they prepare for Key Stage 4.

So chances are you/your child may well find themselves taking the Key Stage 3 SATs this May, and what better way to help you prepare is there than Match Wits with the Kids.

The book contains detailed chapters on English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Modern Languages and Latin, which cover the basic Key Stage 3 curriculum. Not only that, but it's also a fun read, with spot tests which you can use to test your own knowledge or to see how much your parents/children know.

This is what other people have had to say about Match Wits:

Though based on the yawn-making "Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum", this jolly compendium will enlighten all who dip in... Green deserves 10/10. - The Independent

A fun and enjoyable way to catch up on your learning, relive your schooldays and gen up on the topics kids are learning. Packed full of fun facts and tests for all the family, it’s a great way to hone your general knowledge and keep one step ahead of those smart-alec children or those know-it-all grown-ups. -

This book was a surprise to me. It's basically is a compendium of useful (and some useless) facts, presented in a clear and easily digestible way. The fact that much of it is based on the national curriculum means that it is bloomin' useful for those of us with kids of a certain age, but I found it extremely interesting to have all this stuff at my fingertips.

Having spent the last twenty years as a teacher trying to match my wits with London's finest, it is now there in black and white. This is a great book.

This is the ideal book for stopping you looking stupid at dinner parties! It makes learning fun and is great for getting a 'fact of the day' to share with the family, they don't even notice they're learning.

Experienced teacher and author Jonathon Green has written the perfect companion for parents who wish to brush up on their general knowledge... With information presented in an enjoyable, easy-to-read... In the years between attending school and parenting a school-aged child many facts and details well-known during school years go astray. Now is the perfect time to brush up on some basic general knowledge. - Susan Whelan

To get hold of your own copy of Match Wits with the Kids, click here.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Happy World Book Day 2009!

In case you didn't already know, today is World Book Day. So, seeing as how I now make a living from my books, I thought I would let everyone know about the different sorts of books I write and present something of a back catalogue for your perusal.

I am currently writing a series of steampunk science fiction action/adventure novels for Abaddon Books, featuring dandy hero of the British Empire, Ulysses Quicksilver. There are currently three books in the series - Unnatural History, Leviathan Rising, Human Nature - with a fourth, Evolution Expects, published in May, and with more to come after that. To find out more about the world of Pax Britannia click here.

To date I have had five Fighting Fantasy gamebooks published. They are Spellbreaker, Knights of Doom, Curse of the Mummy, Bloodbones and Howl of the Werewolf.

So far I have written a Doctor Who: Decide Your Destiny interactive adventure gamebook entitled The Horror of Howling Hill and have contributed to the 2010 Official Doctor Who Annual (published this August).

I have also c0-written two Sonic the Hedgehog adventure gamebooks, Theme Park Panic and Stormin' Sonic.

I have written three fantasy novels set within Games Workshop's Warhammer world. They are The Dead and the Damned, Magestorm and Necromancer.

I have also written three science fiction novels set within Games Workshop's far future medieval universe of Warhammer 40,000. There are two books about the Black Templars and the Armageddon Campaign - Crusade for Armageddon and Conquest of Armageddon - and a stand-alone adventure entitled Iron Hands.

I have written a number of non-fiction books as well. The most recent of these are Match Wits with the Kids, Go, Go Crazy for those Bones and What is Myrrh Anyway? Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas.

As well as books I have also had published various novellas, short stories, comic strips and magazine articles.

I also go school visits and library talks. If you would like me to come into your school or local library to talk about any of my books or the writing process in general, please email me at

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Not as clever as they thought they were

The winners of this year's University Challenge have been disqualified for fielding a 'ringer' contestant. The BBC confirmed Oxford University's Corpus Christi College had been stripped of the title after it emerged Sam Kay was no longer a student.

Sam Kay a.k.a The Ringer

Mr Kay, who told viewers he was studying chemistry, had already left to become an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

A BBC statement said: "The University Challenge rules on student eligibility are that students taking part must be registered at their university or college for the duration of the recording of the series. Whilst obviously not intending to, Corpus Christi broke this important rule where other universities and colleges taking part adhered to it. We therefore find ourselves in the regrettable position of having no choice but to disqualify Corpus Christi from the final."

Mr Kay said: "I hugely regret not confirming my change of status to the University Challenge programme makers before the final rounds. I had honestly believed I was eligible as I had indicated my course dates when I applied."

Oxford, led by Gail Trimble, romped to victory in the show last week. They came from behind to win the final by 275 points to 190. Gail has been dubbed the greatest University Challenge contestant ever, after she scored more points than her three-team mates combined in the run up to the final and appeared so untroubled by the questions that host Jeremy Paxman was prompted to exclaim: "My God, you're laughing because they are so easy!"

Gail Trimble a.k.a. the Human Google a.k.a. the Intellectual Blitzkrieg

This ruling means that the hard-fought title now goes to Manchester University.Manchester team captain, Matthew Yeo, said: "While we accept the decision of the judges, we are saddened to have been awarded the trophy under such circumstances."

In a statement, Corpus Christi College said its students had entered the programme in "good faith." "The team had a wonderful run and we are, of course, disappointed to be losing the title," the college added.