LEGO Education response to the DfE ‘Schools Accountability Policy’

On 27th March 2014 the Department for Education announced a new accountability system that will help ensure all children are literate and numerate [read it here].

In a nutshell, the policy aims to raise education standards across the board for children aged 4 to 19. Schools and colleges will be held accountable for individual students and they will need to ensure that every single child has the reading, writing and mathematical skills needed to head out into the big wide world. Be that into further education or the workplace.

At each stage in a child’s learning journey there will be new, fairer, system in place to measure performance.

The policy will ensure that at the end of Primary education, all children will be in the position to start secondary school able to read well, write well and have a solid grounding in maths.

The focus in Secondary education shifts slightly with ‘progress’ being the key performance indicator. Pupils are targeted to leave Secondary education with a good set of qualifications in subjects that are most valued by employers and Universities.

At College and Sixth Form level, institutions are expected to stretch their pupils to ensure they are fully equipped to enter the workplace or continue their studies in Further Education.

The Schools Minister David Laws says the new policy will mean “higher standards” across the board whilst giving under performing schools “no place to hide”.

There has been positive feedback from organisations including the NAHT, the ASCL and CentreForum and Educational Institutions appear both supportive and welcoming of the changes.

From a LEGO Education perspective, we talk to teachers every single day. We understand children and how their minds work. We have spent the last 30 years working with schools to help teachers take a more progressive approach to teaching and unlock students’ interests in learning.

Our way of thinking works hand in hand with the new DfE policy.

We have got to ensure that children are fully engaged in learning to get the best out of them. A playful, creative, hands-on approach does engage students of all abilities and it really does achieve results. We have evidenced that.

This DfE policy aims to ultimately build a stronger economy and fairer society, but we need to make sure our teachers are fully equipped with the tools they need to enable them to excel in not only literacy and numeracy, but Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths also.

The looming skills shortage in STEM subjects will harm the UK’s competitiveness and productivity unless it is addressed.

The fact remains that tomorrow’s workforce is sitting in our classrooms today. We want to build something that transforms these classrooms into places for creative and successful learning. We want to encourage and inspire students by bringing these subjects to life and ultimately, we want to help make the teachers’ life easier to relieve the stress and the pressure of any future policy changes.

Last year we commissioned a pilot study into the attitudes, beliefs and practices of teachers in UK schools. It provided us with a valuable snapshot of how teachers feel about the challenges they face today. You can download that report at our website.

The Perfect Picnic!

I gave an 8-year-old girl that title: The Perfect Picnic; and this is what she came up with …

The Perfect Picnic

You see, to that 8-year-old, THIS is The Perfect Picnic!

Firstly it has food and lots of it – there are cakes tucked away at the bottom of the picnic basket don’t you know.

And of course it’s sunny – that’s why Adam (the boy!) is wearing a hat. They’ve got suncream on too.

On and on it went until Lily (the girl!) decided she loved Adam so much, because he had bought her the cutest little kitten, that she wanted to marry him.

And this is what came next …

What’s your story?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To watch the imagination of an 8-year-old unfold with just three simple words and a small handful of LEGO bricks was awe-inspiring. By the end of the hour she could have created a novel with the amount of talking she had done! I had to literally drag her out of the classroom when the bell went for playtime.

That was an 8-year-old who claims she doesn’t particularly like literacy. She couldn’t wait to get back in the classroom and carry on with her story!

That lesson plan was created using our award-winning LEGO Education StoryStarter, the creative learning tool that lets students use LEGO bricks to create and tell stories.

It is aligned to National Curriculum Standards for KS1 and KS2 and helps students develop skills, knowledge and understanding in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

There is no reason why StoryStarter shouldn’t feature in every Primary School classroom in the Country. The core set costs less than £100.

We feel that strongly that each and every Primary School should have access to StoryStarter that we are giving away a StoryStarter core set to 100 schools that tell us the title of their story.

It might be scary, fun, sad, romantic, whatever you want it to be! Let your imagination be the guide!

To enter the competition or to find out more about StoryStarter visit LEGOeducation.co.uk/StoryStarter

The competition closes on Friday 9 May and winners will be informed a week later by email.

We have already had some fantastic entries but there is still plenty of time to enter so get your creative juices flowing over the Easter holidays and we look forward to seeing the results!

What’s your story? #myStoryStarter

Kingsbury High School enters the Space Race!

Kingsbury High School enters the Space Race!

Kingsbury High School enters the Space Race!

Students at Kingsbury High School in London are now putting in to practice all that they have learned over the last few months of following our Space Challenge Missions.

Using LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, they have followed our series of missions in preparation for their appearance at the Elite Engineering Programme Final in June.

Rotations, light/colour sensor, ultrasonic sensor and gyro sensors are all coming in to play to solve the challenges.

The best bit is the students know exactly which they should use for each given challenge.

They are clearly enjoying trying to solve each challenge (the hammer is their favourite!). It is great to see such excitement and buzz surrounding the space challenge!

Follow our Instant Success guides and Space Challenge Missions to see what you can do with your EV3.

#myStoryStarter competition!

storystarter_productWe have an amazing competition launching today so get involved!!

Our “Tell Us Your Story Title” competition invites schools to come up with a title of a great story, submit it via our website and you could win 1 of 100 ‘award-winning’ LEGO Education StoryStarter kits.

It’s that simple!

Your story could be funny, sad, romantic, scary – it’s entirely up to you.

We are looking for the most creative story titles so don’t be shy. And if you win, you can use your StoryStarter kit to create your story in LEGO bricks!

Visit LEGOeducation.co.uk/StoryStarter for all the details of how to enter and get your thinking caps on.

Share the news on Twitter using the hashtag #myStoryStarter

Good luck and have fun!

 

The LEGO Education Community

My seasonal avatar ;-)

Did you know we have now got a LEGO Education Community for like-minded LEGO enthusiasts?

It’s still only a BETA version but it provides a unique place for teachers to connect and talk about LEGO Education resources, share lessons and activities and engage in interesting discussions with fellow teachers.

It’s a worldwide Community so we will have members from all over the Globe!

And the best part? You get to design your own personal LEGO minifigure avatar when you register!

How to register …

EV3 Space Challenge Mission 5: Return the rock samples

Today sees the launch of our EV3 Space Challenge Mission 5: Return the rock samples.

The EV3 Space Challenge Mission series introduces students to the world of STEM and robotics with an exciting, new EV3 Space Challenge Set & Activity Pack.

The pack contains over 30 hours of lessons designed to enable students to learn robotics basics whilst working as scientists and engineers to solve real-life space challenges.

There are 7 Mars-based challenges in the pack. We have released 5 of these challenges to date (find them all on our website!) and there are two more exciting challenges to come so watch this space!

You can buy the set from our online shop on call 0800 334 5346.

 

Great feedback from BESA and the ERA judges

ERA2014 Winner LogoIt’s been just over a week now since we won two Education Resources Awards for LEGO Education StoryStarter and LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3.

We are delighted to have received this feedback from the judges:

For the Primary ICT category – LEGO Education StoryStarter
“A practical, hands-on, new and exciting product. StoryStarter caters for the whole spectrum of pupils including SEN and G&T. A lovely resource.”

For the Secondary ICT category – LEGO MINDSTORMS
“Great for problem solving, skill building and confidence. Judges commented this was an inspiring product which will engage young people in developing their problem solving skills along with their programming capabilities.”

Great feedback – thank you!

Caroline Wright, Director of BESA and Chair of the judges said:
“With the launch of the new National Curriculum later this year it was great to see such a fantastic number of entries offering innovative teaching and learning resources designed to help schools inspire and excite pupils.”

If you’d like to see how these or any of our other products work in the classroom, we’d love to come and share them with you. We offer free workshops, free mini kits and a wide range of free curriculum resources. Just drop us a tweet @LEGOeducationUK or call us on 0800 334 5346.

LEGO Education sweeps two awards at the annual BESA Education Resources Awards

Here’s our official press release …

Birmingham, UK – MARCH 2014 – LEGO Education picked up two awards at the coveted annual BESA Education Resource Awards for its work on LEGO® Education StoryStarter and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3.

Celebrating outstanding success for suppliers and teaching professionals in the UK education sector, StoryStarter took home the top prize in the ‘Best Primary Resource involving ICT’ category, with LEGO MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 winning the top award in the ‘Best Secondary Resource involving ICT’ category following assessment by an expert panel of experienced teachers.

StoryStarter is a creative learning tool that gives students experience creating and telling stories while developing language and comprehension skills. It gets students involved from the outset, motivating them to use their imagination to develop and create characters and story lines. Students gain experience with characterisation, dialogue, action and suspense, predetermined openings and endings, time lines and sequenced events. Sequencing events in a natural order promotes understanding and stimulates the imagination and critical thinking as they work to create stories, scenes, objects and creatures. The learning scenarios—which can be matched to the educational level of the students—embrace diversity and encourage students to collaborate and share ideas, concepts, and experiences. Storytelling is a powerful tool for improving literacy and encouraging students to communicate confidently.

LEGO MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 platform is the next generation of robotics for the classroom, continuing 15 years of MINDSTORMS robotics technology for education. The EV3 platform was created based on feedback from more than 800 educators worldwide and provides relevant robotics curriculum and technology for teaching computer science, science, technology, engineering, and math through a hands-on experience with sensors, motors, programming, and the programmable EV3 Brick. Students can now build and program a fully functioning robot in a single 45-minute class period.

Your tenth and final EV3 Instant Success video is here!

Welcome to the tenth and final installment of our Instant Success guides for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3.

This guide provides you with a 1-hour activity to help you deliver the new 2014 National Curriculum in Science, Maths, Design & Technology and Computing. Curriculum topics covered include:

Computing

+ Use programming languages to solve a variety of computational programs
+ Use simple Boolean logic
+ Understand algorithms that reflect computational thinking

Maths

+ Use mass, length, time, money and other measures, including with decimal quantities
+ Estimate number, measures and approximate answers, including using these to check other calculation methods
+ Round numbers and measures to an approximate answer
+ Record and describe the frequency of outcomes of simple probability involving randomness

Design & Technology

+ Identify and solve their own design problems and understand how to reformulate problems given to them
+ Develop specifications to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that respond to needs in a variety of situations
+ Select and use specialist tools
+ Test, evaluate and refine ideas and products against a specification, taking into account the views of intended users

Science

+ Pay attention to objectivity and concern for accuracy, precision, repeatability and reproducibility

Make a System – Move a ball’ is taken from the ‘Design Engineering Projects Activity Pack’ of LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3.

You can watch all ten videos in our Instant Success series here

And don’t forget to enter our competition to WIN an EV3 package worth over £1,600 for your school!