LEGO kits. At some point, we all played with them. When we were little, we amused ourselves by merely sticking pieces together, delighted with our newfound dexterity. Later, the objects we built became more complex, and we often made up stories to supplement our creations. In the long run, toys like LEGOs help children build a variety of skills from motor skills to simple geometry to story-telling.
Computer Explorers, a national child technology training franchise that uses LEGO robotics in schools, after-school programs and recreation centers, understands the value of the type of learning LEGOs can provide to children: breakthroughs that can open doors to new learning and even career ideas for kids. The hands-on approach builds creativity, collaboration and confidence.
“We give our students a task and they figure out how to accomplish it, and why one approach worked but another did not,” said Cyndee Perkins, director of curriculum and program development at Computer Explorers. “They naturally want to help each other and work together and both the LEGO kits and our curriculum tap into those instincts, developing creative problem-solving skills.”
Computer Explorers offers summer camps and after-school programs for children as young as three. Beginner and more advanced LEGO robotics programs are incredibly popular, combining imagination with logic and real-world application. In these programs, children learn how to solve problems and make discoveries via experimentation, master tools that lead to even more in-depth exploration, construct and layer knowledge through hands-on experience, and take ownership of their efforts while still working with other children.
“These are higher-order thinking skills but the programs are so much fun and so engaging that students, even very young ones, are not threatened by new ideas or unfamiliar challenges,” said Perkins said. “They can't get enough of it and want to keep going even after the class is done for the day.”
That's good news for the kids as well as the country. Computer Explorers uses innovative and creative ways to excite young learners about science, technology, engineering and math subjects. Mastery of STEM subjects, as they are collectively known, is crucial for future success in the workplace and to keep the U.S. competitive.
“It is possible that the next technology breakthrough may come from someone who started with a LEGO caterpillar,” said Perkins.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi