February 25, 2018 Are LEGOS the Future of Technology Education? I recently read an article entitled, “A Makerspace Built By Elementary Students.” In the article it talked about how a group of 3rd grade students made an entire makerspace for their school. What made this makerspace special (on top of being completely designed, proposed and built by 8-and-9-year olds!) is that it is LEGO inspired- they call it their Lego-Space!
After reading this article, I started to think, this is not the first time LEGO has been involved in STEM related education concepts. I myself have been using Legos and their STEM connections for the past two years. This got me wondering, are Legos the future of Technology Education?
Personally, I have used LEGO innovations with two different classes. First, I used Chromebuilder. Chromebuilder is a Google website where people can use legos virtually. It is very similar to Mindcraft in the sense that you can use all different shapes and colors to create all different kinds of things. Last year, I used Chromebuilder with my Kindergartners. We were talking about Cities and how cities are similar and unique. With this knowledge, we started to create our own classroom city, aptly named Hotcake City (the kindergarteners voted on the name). The kids used Chromebuilder to create basic blueprints of Hotcake City, then we used actual Legos to build the city. With Chromebuilder, my students were starting to use basic engineering skills in a fun and creative way!
The second LEGO inspired project I used with my students involved an app called LEGO Life. LEGO Life is an app that functions in the same manner as Instagram, but solely for legos and lego builders. On the app, kids can share their own LEGO creations and along with finding other creative LEGO designs. Kids can comment on different creations and even have competitions with one another! The app is account protected, with each kid having their own username and password. The username is not allowed to have any resemblance of a real name in it, to keep privacy protected. In my class we have LEGO Challenges where kids were challenged to make different items. All the final products were posted on LEGO Life where parents could access and see their child’s creation!
I have used Legos and the different technologies attached with it in very simple ways. But both of these projects have peaked my interest, and I started to complete my own research. Through some exploration I have found that LEGO has programs and products for all different areas including: Science, Coding, Math, Computer Sciences, Technology and Engineering, and other STEM areas. The programs run from PreK all the way through middle school!
As a kid, Legos were a fun toy to play with after school. Now, it has become a basic educational tool for students to use during school! The LEGO brand and specifically LEGO education has adapted and evolved not only with kids interests, but also with education that is makes you wonder, What will LEGO create next? But I guess the better question is, what will our students create with legos next?