Lego, National Instruments Team Up for Elementary Robotics Platform
National Instruments and Lego Education have announced a new robotics platform designed for students aged 7 to 11. The new offering, called WeDo, is built on the NI LabVIEW graphical design software, and is intended to teach kids basic programming skills.
WeDo can be used in a variety of curriculum areas, including science, math, technology, language, and literacy, and is designed to provide a hands-on experience that will spark student interest in science and engineering. Through WeDo, programming and testing is done in real-time, with Lego models tethered to classroom computers. The setup, according to the companies, promotes creative problem solving, as well as collaborative learning, giving students the opportunity to discuss the results as they test their models.
"Lego Education is proud to continue our ongoing collaboration with National Instruments to provide students as young as seven years of age with a robotics product that actively involves them in their own learning process and promotes creative thinking, teamwork and problem-solving skills--skills that are essential in the workplace of the 21st century," said Lars Nyengaard, director of innovation at Lego Education, in a prepared statement. "By combining the intuitive and interactive interface of Lego Education WeDo software with the physical experience of building models out of Lego bricks, we can bridge the physical and virtual worlds to provide the ultimate hands-on, minds-on learning experience."
WeDo is compatible with a range of hardware and software platforms, including the Intel Classmate PC, One Laptop Per Child XO, as well as Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X operating systems. According to the companies, the software will be available from Lego Education in January 2009.
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Chris Riedel is a freelance writer based in Illinois. He can be reached here.