Singapore Schools Introduce WeDo

LEGO fun is in the works for young children in classrooms next year. The Ministry of Education in Singapore will embark on trial tests early next year with Lego Education, which is part of Danish toy company Lego Group.
    Ms Lim Cheng Pier, regional manager of South and East Asia, and Taiwan of Lego Education, told my paper: “We want to introduce to young children a new way of teaching science, mathematics and language using traditional Lego bricks and simple computer-programming.”
    In this way, this could cultivate creativity among children and make classroom-learning more interactive, she added. The project involves four primary schools, and training sessions for teachers – two per
school – will start next month.
    Details, including which schools are involved and the duration of the trials, were not available at press time.
    WeDo, an assemblage of Lego bricks, motors and sensors, will be used in the trials and will allow pupils to build models according to their imagination.
    It is similar to Mindstorms, another Lego Education product, for older students. WeDo is developed by Lego Education and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.
    It will be launched in Singapore, Brazil and the United States next January. Executive vice-president of the community, education and direct division of Lego Group Lisbeth Valther Pallesen said that the school children involved in the project will be Primary 1 pupils, but actual numbers vary among the schools.
    Classroom trials have already been conducted in Brazil and the United States this year, and have garnered favourable responses.
    The motivation among students to learn was encouraging for the teachers, too. The teachers played a more facilitative role in the trials as well, instead of just providing information to students.
    “In some cases, the children took over when they experimented and came up with ideas themselves, surprising even the teachers,”said Ms Pallesen.
    And she thinks Singapore is an interesting market for Lego Group, given the attention paid to education and its openness to new creative solutions.
    “In Singapore, there is a very clear awareness that change is needed and the importance of bringing that into schools,” Ms Pallesen said.

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