It seems like there is no end to the many uses of building blocks. Just in 2016, LEGO-style blocks that could assist blind and partially-sighted children to learn Braille sparked a learning revolution. This year, at the 24th-27th January Bett Show in London, the team at LEGO Education focused on the power of making children deepen their robotics knowledge and learn coding.
“The job market for careers requiring coding skills is growing faster than nearly any other sector, yet a majority of students today aren’t given the opportunity to learn computer programming,” says Esben Stærk Jørgensen, president of LEGO Education.
According to Code.org, only 40% of schools teach computer programming. However, over the last few years, more and more countries have begun to recognise the urgency of teaching computing, coding, and the associated work ready skills that help equip children for a digital world.
So, how does it work? Depending on the child’s age, a set of LEGO bricks combined with an easy-to-use coding software varying in difficulty level allows students to experiment, collaborate and solve problems by learning and applying coding. From WeDo 2.0 – a desktop and tablet-based software and building kit aimed at primary school children which easily enables teachers to guide a child’s learning to MINDSTORMS EV3, a more complex coding tool aimed at secondary school children.
The EV3, allows students to build a robot and modify it using basic coding. Pupils can be challenged to advance their engineering, geometry and coding skills by adding a motion sensor to the robot or instructing it to stop when it meets an obstacle.
Once pupils get a grasp of the basics, the only limit is their imagination and perseverance, they can learn to program a robotic arm that can pick up items or even build new machines that can perform a range of functions. Once more, it’s interactive with a trial and error method that’s more likely to keep them engaged.
“We’re focused on sparking students’ curiosity in coding, and across all STEM subjects, and nurturing and sustaining that interest throughout their education by delivering playful learning experiences that bring subjects to life in the classroom and make learning fun and impactful. Fostering these important skills among today’s youth will teach our leaders of tomorrow that anyone can code and release their potential to shape their own future,” adds Jørgensen.
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