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LEGO WeDo Announced

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 06:02 AM

The LEGO Group has announced LEGO Education WeDo, a new educational construction product that allows children ages 7 to 11 to build a LEGO model and program it to perform a certain task. Similar to scientists in working labs, children can test and adjust their programming in real time. After reflecting on what did and did not work, users can adapt programming, adjust models or begin again.

"Building upon our successful 10-year history of bringing educational robotics to middle, high school and university classrooms with the award-winning LEGO MINDSTORMS toolset, we are excited to extend this expertise to benefit an even younger audience," said Jens Maibom, vice president of LEGO Education. "With a progressively competitive global economy, we know it is imperative to provide even younger children and their teachers with curricular-relevant, easy-to-implement educational materials to spark children's interest in all manner of subjects. After observing classroom tests conducted in Brazil and the United States, we are confident that WeDo, the first product from LEGO Education designed to serve the classroom needs of emerging markets, will inspire teachers and motivate students in classrooms around the world."

"While still meeting state curriculum standards, the LEGO WeDo platform enabled me to start facilitating a new but natural process where my students had an opportunity to direct their own learning," said Debra Heath, science lab teacher for Don T. Durham Elementary School. "All of my students were so engaged in the lessons that they didn't realize they were learning; even the students who struggle in every subject were able to excel during LEGO WeDo projects."

"The LEGO Group and National Instruments share a vision of inspiring design and creativity in children through hands-on, interactive learning," said Ray Almgren, vice president of academic relations at National Instruments. "Through our joint development of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT and now LEGO Education WeDo, we are helping build an educational robotics platform, Powered by NI LabVIEW, that enhances science and engineering education for students in all age groups."

The complete LEGO WeDo package includes:
158 brightly colored LEGO elements, including gears, and levers
One LEGO USB Hub connects directly to a Mac/PC laptop, desktop, OLPC XO or Intel Classmate computer to allow control of hardware input (tilt and motion sensors) and output (motor), thereby bringing models to life
One motor, one motion sensor and one tilt sensor
Drag-and-drop icon-based software that provides an intuitive and easy-to-use programming environment suitable for beginners and experienced users alike, developed by a leading provider of engineering hardware and software, National Instruments
Activity pack CD-Rom provides up to 24 hours of instruction and includes 12 activities based on four themes: Amazing Mechanisms, Wild Animals, Play Soccer and Adventure Stories. Running alongside programming software, activities are introduced via animations. Teacher notes and glossary are also included.
LEGO WeDo is scheduled for release in January 2009. For more information follow the links below.
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