Monday, April 21, 2014

Lego & National Instruments Promote "Hands-On" STEM Education


Lego, the toy-block company we all know and love, has teamed up with National Instruments to provide a more hands-on approach to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. By teaming up with National Instruments and its software, Lego enables students to improve their reasoning and problem-solving skills by programming robots they built out of robots. "Learning in books alone isn't going to be very engaging or effective. By actually using the same tools and concepts and technology that [students are] going to use later on, they can actually build on the same architecture, the same platform they can use [both in and out of school]," said Jennifer Dawkins, the STEM program manager at National Instruments.

Not only has Lego teamed up with National Instruments to provide hands-on STEM learning, but they have also partnered with National Initiative in an effort to change how STEM and other subjects are taught in classrooms throughout the country. This shift in STEM education guidelines is aimed at learning how to do science rather than just teaching kids about science. "What we know from the learning sciences is that the more actively a person engages with the material that they're learning, the better the retention and ability to apply that knowledge or that skill is," says Kemi Jona, the director of the Northwestern University Office of STEM Education Partnerships.

"Allowing those other perspectives to become part of what it means to learn science has been shown to engage a lot more students from lots of different backgrounds and help them see this is what they can do too: that they have the ability and the expertise and the knowledge to do it successfully," says Ann Rivet, an associate professor of science education at Teachers College at Columbia University. Through this new hands-on approach, Lego, National Instruments, and STEM educators throughout the country hope to make STEM fields more diverse.

To learn more about Lego and National Instruments' hands-on approach to STEM education, watch the video above or check out the article by US News. What do you think about this new approach to STEM learning? Let us know!