Your kids could be about to start playing with Lego at school after the company has launched an educational toy box that encourages robotic code learning.
Best seen as a more approachable version of Lego Mindstorms, Lego Education WeDo 2.0 is a hands-on, pre-teen robot-based learning set that will let your kids build Lego robots to control with a tablet or computer.
Launched at CES in Las Vegas and available from today, the sets are designed to be used at home or in the classroom to show what's possible when you merge Lego with basic coding sequencing on a tablet or PC.
"Correlated to standards-based projects, the solution engages and motivates students to solve real-world science problems by working with engineering, technology and coding through Lego bricks, classroom-friendly software and over 40 hours of hands-on projects," explains the company.
Rather than just leaving kids to build on their own, the set comes with a number of challenges to complete. The “Drop and Rescue” project for example sees students having to design a device to reduce the impacts on humans, animals and the environment after an area has been damaged by a weather-related hazard.
Students are encouraged to prototype solutions to a challenge where there is no single right answer helping teach creativity and problem-solving skills says the company.
Core to the whole experience is a Bluetooth low-energy Smarthub element that connect to your tablet or PC, but you also get a motor, a tilt sensor, and a motion sensor alongside 250 Lego pieces.
The WeDo 2.0 Core software is an essential and easy-to-use component that is colorful, age-appropriate and has a drag-n-drop interface that is graphical in nature to help keep things simple.
It also contains a documentation tool that enables students to document their problem solving process and provides an assessment opportunity for teachers.
LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 is available today on iPad, Android, PC, and Macs. The company says that it plans to add Chromebook support in the second half of 2016. A Scratch interface for WeDo 2.0 (both web-based and stand-alone) will be available for Macs in February 2016 and for PC/Windows in June 2016.
The kits start from $159.95 for the basic offering rising to $289.95 if you want the 40 hours of projects to complete. For schools really wanting to get in on the action, Lego Education offers a 24 student pack for $2,259.95.