More workforce development news from NI and LEGO

I've written recently how well developed primary and middle school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curricula have become in the 15 years or so since Tufts University and others have been working on developing them. Here is another example of tool sets that are available to take automation education into the classroom, from National Instruments, who continues a long tradition of doing well by doing good. Continuing their commitment to engineering education, National Instruments and LEGO Education today announced the software for the LEGO ® Education WeDo ™ classroom robotics platform. Powered by NI LabVIEW, the LEGO WeDo Education Software is a drag-and-drop, icon-based environment that students 7 to 11 years of age can use to build and program their own robotics inventions. This tool bridges the physical world with the virtual, providing students with a hands-on, minds-on learning experience that actively involves young students in their own learning process and promotes children's creative thinking, teamwork and problem solving skills. Working in teams, children invent their own solution by building a LEGO model and programming it to perform a certain task. Cause and effect learning is enhanced by the models remaining tethered to a computer; similar to scientists in working labs, children can test and adjust their programming in real time. Newly-designed software developed by National Instruments, makes programming easy and intuitive and students quickly learn that they can solve real-world challenges by tinkering with building and programming. Students can operate the LEGO WeDo Software on the Linux-based One Laptop per Child XO and the Intel Classmate PC running Windows XP. The product will be available in the United States and Brazil beginning January 1, 2009.