A few days ago, LEGO Education made an interesting announcement, introducing SPIKE Prime, a brand-new product that brings together the physical LEGO bricks we all know and love with technology. It is designed to make it easy for kids to get hands-on with building and coding. The company also released new insights on students’ confidence in learning STEAM subjects. Below are the details.
LEGO Education SPIKE Prime is a whole new way of bringing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) into the classroom. The new product is designed to help middle schoolers build the confidence to try new things. Combining the physical and digital worlds through LEGO bricks, sensors, motors and an intelligent hub, students build fun and engaging creations, and then use the SPIKE Prime app to bring those creations to life through Scratch-based coding. Cross-curriculum lesson plans are easy for teachers to bring into classrooms and relatable to students.
According to results from a new Confidence in Learning poll, fielded by Harris Insights & Analytics, students need hands-on learning to build confidence and improve educational outcomes that prepare students for the future. According to the poll, 87% of students say they learn and remember topics more when the learning involved hands-on projects, and 93% of parents say hands-on learning helps children retain knowledge for the future. Additionally, while the importance of hands-on learning is clear, only 40% of teachers say their students usually or always get substantial time during the school day for hands-on lessons. When it comes to STEAM learning specifically, teachers and parents agree that the number one way their students can build confidence in STEAM subjects is working on a hands-on project with others. The poll showed students who are confident in STEAM are more likely to be confident at school overall and enjoy learning new things.
The entire LEGO Education portfolio, now including SPIKE Prime, was specifically designed to get students hands-on with lessons that challenge them to think critically and creatively, to problem solve and to communicate effectively with others. To help build students’ confidence in learning, and to support teachers who are interested in incorporating more STEAM learning into their classrooms, LEGO Education is providing a Confidence in Learning toolkit and workshops to schools around the world with its continuum of hands-on learning products, including SPIKE Prime. LEGO Education learning experts will help teachers incorporate hands-on STEAM learning into the classroom to engage all students and promote building their confidence in learning.
Esben Stærk Jørgensen, president of LEGO Education, said: “We are seeing a challenge globally in middle school children, typically aged 11-14. At that age, children start losing their confidence in learning. The Confidence Poll data shows that most students say if they failed at something once, they don’t want to try again. With SPIKE Prime and the lessons featured in the SPIKE app, these children will be inspired to experiment with different solutions, try new things and ultimately become more confident learners. And for teachers, time is the ultimate barrier. The lesson plans, resources and models make it so easy for teachers to integrate SPIKE Prime into the classroom. Our mission at LEGO Education is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, enabling every student to succeed –and that’s exactly what SPIKE Prime offers.”
SPIKE Prime joins the nearly 40 years of LEGO Education’s legacy of product development by an international team of designers, dedicated educators, and leading technology experts. Each SPIKE Prime set has 523 pieces, which can be used to build many different creations, including corresponding STEAM lesson plans that were created by and for educators to help them bring more hands-on STEAM learning into their curriculum and get students more engaged and excited about STEAM subjects.
LEGO Education and the LEGO Group have also created 11 new innovative elements for the LEGO System in Play, which will be first seen with SPIKE Prime. These new elements include an innovative integrator brick, which allows for building together with both the LEGO Technic and the LEGO system platforms, further expanding systematic creativity and the building possibilities.
While SPIKE Prime is primarily intended for classrooms, the product is also interesting to LEGO fans who are not students. First of all, the new LEGO Technic elements appear to be very useful, especially the 2×4 brick with LEGO Technic holes and the large LEGO Technic base frame. The color choices are quite nice as well and unusual in the LEGO Technic selection. The SPIKE Prime programmable hub with its 6 input/output ports, 5×5 light matrix, Bluetooth connectivity, speaker, 6-axis gyro, and rechargeable battery is of particular interest to LEGO robotics fans. SPIKE Prime uses the same plug system as LEGO Education WeDo 2.0, LEGO BOOST, and LEGO Powered Up, but it is not clear at this point if the software is designed to be compatible (or can it be made compatible). Powered LEGO systems are certainly getting confusing!
Although SPIKE Prime is created with a classroom setting in mind, it will also be available for purchase to the general public in August 2019. If you are interested, you can get more information about the #45678 LEGO Education SPIKE Prime Set at the LEGO Education website, and pre-order it for the hefty price of $329.95. Various expansion sets are also available.
What do you think? How do you like the idea of LEGO Education SPIKE Prime? Are you familiar with the other LEGO Education sets? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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