Learning with LEGO
by Lauren Rathmell '17
photo by Jeff Glidden '87
A familiar toy comes to life for area elementary students who attend summer technology camps at the Kent Campus.
In the AT&T Classroom of Moulton Hall, the children build LEGO models that feature working motors and sensors, connect them to a computer with a USB plug and use a simple programming tool to control their behavior—making Ferris wheels rotate, carousels revolve and go-karts race.
Hosted each summer by Kent State’s Research Center for Educational Technology (which studies the potential of technology to improve teaching and learning), the camps typically last four days and offer multiple levels of difficulty for children from ages 6 to 11.
Using LEGO WeDo Robotics sets, software and curriculum—and a range of media and digital tools—the summer sessions help students develop skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as language and literacy. At the end of camp, each student receives a flash drive filled with photos and videos of their LEGO creations.
“Our goal is to provide opportunities for kids in the community to experiment with a variety of new technologies,” says Annette Kratcoski, Ph.D., director of the center. “It’s a huge community outreach. And we get kids who say, ‘I want to go to college at Kent State.’ We are starting them young!”
Photo: With the support and training of Thomas McNeal, the technology director for the AT&T Classroom, children at the summer technology camps work on a new project each day, building LEGO models of their choice and making them move.
Learn more at www.kent.edu/rcet/student-technology-camps.