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Published on March 30th, 2017 | by Aasha Francis

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IT/STEM education through LEGO robotics

LEGO education’s vision involves transforming the future of learning, and motivating more American children to get in STEM. The company consists of two primary segments, LEGO retail and LEGO education. Steffanie Forbes, Key Account Manager and Jim Albertone, Account Manager Midwest for LEGO education, visited Wright College Humboldt Park to demonstrate the expansion and incorporation of advanced manufacturing and IT, and how these two parts work together. The robotics demo uses robots as a vehicle to teach, giving step-by-step directions to participants on how to make a robot move using coding and censors. Forbes believes this teaching model allows youth to express their uniqueness, “Our vision is transforming the future of learning, so really being able to provide those dynamic, distinctive, hands-on tools that allow teachers to bring what they’re teaching to life to the students, to give them those real world experiences,” Forbes said.

Jim Albertone has worked for LEGO since June 2016, and what attracted him to LEGO was seeing his former employer’s interest in STEM. He noticed there was a big lack of STEM opportunities for American students, “I saw what LEGO was doing with STEM and thought it was a great opportunity to help promote a product that’s going to be very beneficial for American kids to be successful in the workforce when they’re done with school,” Albertone said.

The Humboldt Park team participated in the demo with each member receiving a laptop with software that enables each person to put on their scientist or engineering hat on to use programming to control the robot.
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Each programming palette includes color coded sections for specific areas from the action block, which deals with motor, display, and sound, to the flow blocks, that handle looping, repeating and pausing of the robot. Once the programming commands are complete, the robots are booted up and can communicate two ways, using USB with a laptop or blue tooth.
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Lessons and activities within the demo are meant to use each challenge to teach people how to move the robots. Computer Science for All, a program already rolled out in CPS schools designed to promote technology education in high schools, now includes a mandatory course for high school students before graduation. Wright College Humboldt Park intends to engage youth from the surrounding community through workshops partnered with LEGO education, to encourage current and future students to pursue careers in IT/STEM and Advanced Manufacturing.

For a live video of the robots in action, please click the video below:




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