Friday, March 8, 2013

From Lego to space ships

LEGO® MINDSTORMS®


In a session at SXSWedu, National Instruments and LEGO Education demonstrated the power of robotics and the new EV3 platform to change the landscape of STEM education.

LabVIEW – the software powering EV3also powers feats of engineering such as the Red Bull Stratos supersonic free fall project and the Large Hadron Collider, a machine that is fundamentally impacting our understanding of the laws of physics. This means students as young as kindergarten are learning the exact same technology used by some of the world’s most prolific scientists and engineers.

In the session, LabVIEW K-12 Group Manager Nicole Richard and a panel of other STEM education advocates discussed what’s needed to inspire students to pursue science and engineering careers.

“LEGO platforms build technical literacy. Kids take complex engineering concepts and scale them down,” Richard said. “They're not just using technology, they're creating technology.”

Panelists also examined the need to help educators access the tools necessary for developing project-based curricula using real-world technologies. They noted that introducing students to critical thinking and problem solving in their first few years of education plays a pivotal role in helping them develop the confidence to continue engaging in STEM activities.

“LEGO and National Instruments have been collaborating for over a decade to create technology that puts tools used in industry into the hands of students. That type of collaboration is crucial to building a foundation for generations of future engineers,” said NI Vice President of Marketing Ray Almgren. “We must focus on creating future STEM industry professionals in Texas and around the globe who are ready to tackle the science and engineering challenges our world faces.”

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