HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog
Electronic Learning Toys Can Help Educate the World
2/25/2013

The cutesy looking design littleBits toys pack quite a creative potential for innovators of all ages.(Source: littleBits Electronics)
The cutesy looking design littleBits toys pack quite a creative potential for innovators of all ages.
(Source: littleBits Electronics)

Return to Article

View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
a.saji
User Rank
Silver
Learning Toys and Education
a.saji   2/25/2013 8:32:11 AM
NO RATINGS
I too feel learning should be made a bit more enjoyable. Then definitely the children will focus on it a bit more. At present most of the teenagers are glued into different types of games which too are a category of toys. If we can link these 2 games or toys with education, definitely there will be a rise in the levels of education plus more and more will be involved in learning new things even in class rooms.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Learning Toys and Education
Elizabeth M   2/25/2013 10:16:12 AM
Anything tha makes learning fun will likely make kids more willing to learn, not to mention make it a positive experience for them. This actually even looks like fun for adults, especially some of us who aren't technically versed in circuits and electronics. :) It's also in line with a mission by President Obama to get kids interested at an earlier age in math and science to help the U.S. compete workforce-wise on a worldwide level, as students in other countries in Asia especially are performing better than American students. Nice coverage.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Learning Toys and Education
Charles Murray   2/25/2013 7:08:00 PM
NO RATINGS
I heartily agree, Liz. Fun is essential. I blieve a whole generation of mechanical engineers were inspired by toys of the '50s and '60s: Legos; erector sets; Mister Machine, Kener's Girder & Panel building sets. When those toys went away in the '70s and '80s, engineering enrollments started to decline. See the YouTube '60s video of Mister Machine here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WHQI5iKYfM

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Learning Toys and Education
Elizabeth M   2/26/2013 6:16:41 AM
NO RATINGS
That's an interesting trend to note, Chuck, but I believe you may be right. Maybe with some new and clever toys, designers like Ayah Bdeir can help foster a new generation of engineers. It certainly can't hurt to try to engage children in this way. And the kids I know seem to be getting smarter by the minute--I am truly amazed by the potential of future generations.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Learning Toys and Education
Charles Murray   3/1/2013 6:29:00 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Liz. It's nice to give our kids a well-rounded education, but inspiration is often a product of enjoyment.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Learning Toys and Education
Elizabeth M   3/4/2013 5:41:27 AM
NO RATINGS
Indeed, Chuck. And it also gives kids an idea of what they are interested in at an early age, leading them down the right path vocationally. Hopefully this leads them to a fitting and fulfilling career. If kids become interested in engineering early through clever toys, it might save them time later on deciding what they want to do with their life.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Lego is still #1
NadineJ   2/25/2013 2:46:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Even though Lego's last patent expired in 1989, kids still prefer it by name.  The Lego craze has not quieted.  No other competitor has been able to effectlively enter the building block market.  Kids won't allow it.  Lego has briliantly added pneumatic components in the 80's and co-branding in the 90's to expand the brand's influence and fun factor.

Little Bits is more complex than Legos.  It's great for the advanced student.  I wonder if teachers would allow it to be used for science projects.  Or, would using it be considered cheating by some?

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Lego is still #1
Cabe Atwell   2/25/2013 2:53:23 PM
NO RATINGS
Ever since learning about littleBits I thought the exposed circuit boards were an interesting choice. It makes the kids, or whoever, realize that inside electronics is a complex and delicate place. If the company cover the boards, which they could, the "how it works" will be behind the magic curtain. Glad it's open.

On the LEGO note: yes they are more popular, but the others are catching up. Like Kre-O, they have licensed "Transformers" and many other popular properties. I was almost tempted to buy a set. But, I think it comes down to the "minifig," the little LEGO guy. The original is more appealing to me than the knock-offs. And, I think the minifig contributes to the success. Plus LEGO has Mindstorm and NXT.

C

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Lego is still #1
NadineJ   2/25/2013 3:21:42 PM
NO RATINGS
That's a good point.  The open boards are very appealing as well as educating.

Lego has Star Wars!  Kre-O is nice but, like Mega Bloks, it's nowhere near Lego.  It's interesting that Kre-O's can be used with Legos.  Smart move.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-02-21/lego-profit-soars-35-percent-as-toy-bricks-for-girls-drive-sales-growth 

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Lego is still #1
Tim   2/25/2013 9:35:31 PM
NO RATINGS
KreO is interesting, but I will say that the KreO manual is much more difficult to understand than Lego. As a kid, I had a Capsella set that had clear bubbles with viewable gears, so you could see the motion transfer. It was cool to watch working. Hopefully, the viewable circuit boards on these new toys will show the internal engineering

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Lego is still #1
Charles Murray   2/25/2013 7:04:12 PM
NO RATINGS
I applaud Bdeir for creating this product. Students seldom make a committment to study things that they dislike or are intimidated by. It's essential to make technology fun at the lower levels. Nice story, Cabe.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Lego is still #1
Elizabeth M   2/26/2013 6:36:56 AM
NO RATINGS
I think you're definitely right about Legos, NadineJ--nearly every kid I know still goes through some kind of Lego phase. I also like your idea about using these advanced toys in the classroom--the earlier the better.

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Technology is Cool to Learn On
Greg M. Jung   2/25/2013 10:42:33 PM
NO RATINGS
In addition to being fun, these toys can also help a young person impress their friends (making it 'cool' to learn).  Kids should also be recognized by their peers for their prowess with technology.

Pubudu
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Technology is Cool to Learn On
Pubudu   2/26/2013 5:31:31 AM
NO RATINGS
Yes gray I totally agree with you.


In the future all will depend on the technology with the everyday increasing need gaps of the people. Traditional ways will remain on the museums. So it's good to start learning with the technology in the early stage.

So defanaitly Electronic Learning Toys will Help Educate the World.



warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Electronics fun
warren@fourward.com   2/26/2013 9:21:47 AM
NO RATINGS
That is what got me started in electronics. Mom bought me an electronics learning set in the 50s, and I fell in love immediately!

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Electronics fun
Cabe Atwell   2/26/2013 4:00:47 PM
NO RATINGS
The only downside to this littleBits is that all the boards just click together in a proprietary way. There is no hands on configuring, like breadboards, etc. It still removes the kid from realizing, these circuits have to be constructed, each part.

I will admit, most engineering is based off on modules these days. So, may it's just a sign of the times.

C

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Electronics fun
Cabe Atwell   2/26/2013 4:03:34 PM
NO RATINGS
KreO has Transformers and GIJOE. I have to say, that may be a trump card.

If KreO had the same level of robotics tinkering LEGO does, the Transformers sets would be amazing. But as Nadine said, they can be used with LEGO, so perhaps there is hope for auto-transforming toys.

C

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Electronics fun
Tim   2/26/2013 9:34:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Auto transforming Lego robots would be great. That would be an exciting way to teach kids how to automate something.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Electronic learning toys.
William K.   2/26/2013 8:29:26 PM
NO RATINGS
My education about electricity and circuits began with building simple sequencing circuits using cast-off Allen Bradley control relays. They were easy to understand since all of the contacts were in the open, easy to watch as they opened and closed. And all of it ran on 110 volts AC power, so there were no batteries to go dead on me. The designs were noisy and sparky and quite entertaining to a nine-year-old, and they amazed my friends who came to watch them work. What a great way to recycle industrial controls parts that weere just a bit obsolete. Later on I did get one of those educational electronic kits that made a bunch of different projects. I don't think that anyone worried about the 150 volts DC power that they used, and I know that I didn't get shocked by it while using it, so it must have been safe, somehow.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Electronic learning toys.
Charles Murray   3/4/2013 8:03:00 PM
NO RATINGS
It sound incredible now, but didn't a lot of our early computers use similar relays, William K?

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Electronic learning toys.
William K.   3/5/2013 10:03:53 PM
NO RATINGS
A good recollection, Charles. I can recall visiting some science fairs in the late 1950's and early 1960"s and seeing various computational functions executed in hard-coded relay logic. And I have seen some of the older industrical control panels with a hundred or more of the little "ice cube" type relays, all running some fairly complex machines. Those were more the logic type of relays, while the cast-offs that I had were more toward the power types, with contacts designed to switch ten amp loads all day long.

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Learning Electronics
Greg M. Jung   2/26/2013 9:22:23 PM
NO RATINGS
How many electrical engineering careers were also initiated from a Heathkit set?  I think 'toys' like this will continue to have a positive impact on educational learning.

Partner Zone
More Blogs
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Automation technology advances matched with expanded fracking and the growing urbanization of Asia, South America, and the Middle East, are fueling a boom in the automation industry.
Design News Webinar Series
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 20 - 24, How to Design & Build an Embedded Web Server: An Embedded TCP/IP Tutorial
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 11:00 AM
Sponsored by Stratasys
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Gates Corporation
Next Class: 11/11-11/13 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service