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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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?
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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