LEGO Education (Boston/Billund, Denmark) offered new instructional materials in August, including free lesson plans, online courses for educators, and a challenge competition for students, developed to help teachers and students explore coding.
“The job market for careers requiring coding skills is growing faster than nearly any other sector, yet a majority of students today aren’t given the opportunity to learn computer programming,” said Esben Jorgensen, president of LEGO Education. “ LEGO wants to spark students’ interest in coding and then sustain it with learning experiences that bring the subject to life in the classroom."
Created by educators for educators, LEGO Education lesson plans are filtered by duration, difficulty, subject, grade level, and product. LEGO will add more lesson plans this school year and increase workflow interoperability with leading digital learning platforms.
For middle school students, LEGO Mindstorms Education EV 3 core set of manipulatives and curriculum has been integrated with Apple's (Cupertino, CA) Swift Playgrounds for iPad coding app.
"I am thrilled to be bringing science, coding, and robotics to students in my 8th grade classes this year with the use of LEGO Mindstorms and Swift Playgrounds on iPad," said Leah LaCrosse, science teacher at the Huron City (OH) schools. “The unique mix of technology, science and creativity really gives me the ability to engage my students and helps make our learning come alive."
Simba reported that over 1.2 million students use iPads and Swift Playgrounds. "We believe that coding is an essential skill that all students should learn," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
LEGO offers free online learning courses through their Education Academy, which help educators enhance learning effectiveness and the student experience. Courses were made available on the Microsoft Educator Community in August.
On either platform, educators can access self-paced courses that get them ready to integrate LEGO Education solutions into existing STEM curriculums and daily lesson planning.
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Manipulatives that foster learning through touch and physical interaction, such as LEGO's multisensory materials, have a market niche because they make it easier to convey difficult concepts. Manipulatives also fit well into demands for experiential learning, particularly in science.
More information on manipulatives and the K-12 education market size can be found in Simba Information's Publishing for the PreK-12 Market Report 2017-2018.
Advocates for a strong STEM education are calling for increased subject interconnectivity, arguing that STEM subjects taught in the context of real-world issues will increase student motivation and achievement. A curriculum that integrated science & mathematics with technology & engineering creates a new discipline and offers market opportunities to provide new products and services.
More information on STEM education in schools can be found in Simba's K-12 Mathematics Market Report 2016.