More than just fun and games

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - EDUCATION GUIDE -

tO many par­ents, the word “Lego” brings to mind idling away time on some lessthan-ben­e­fi­cial hobby. This is far from the truth. The first thing to un­der­stand is that there are many types of Lego build­ing, from begin­ner to ad­vance lev­els that in­volve robotics and com­puter pro­gram­ming skills and soft­ware.

“Re­search shows that Lego ac­tiv­i­ties nur­ture cre­ativ­ity, which helps the log­i­cal mind make com­pli­cated prob­lems sim­ple,” said R.E.A.L Schools, Ca­haya Cam­pus, Shah Alam, se­nior prin­ci­pal Ser­ena Chow. “This not only pro­duces an in­ven­tive mind­set, but also trans­forms an or­di­nary kid into a con­fi­dent prob­lem solver.”

Lego ed­u­ca­tion is at the fore­front of this en­deav­our by pro­mot­ing cre­ative think­ing and even ba­sic com­puter pro­gram­ming knowl­edge. This can trans­form the land­scape of con­ven­tional class­room learn­ing into a more fun and en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence. By util­is­ing spe­cial “WeDo” soft­ware on PCs to con­cep­tu­alise de­signs, con­struct “in­tel­li­gent” ro­bots and even­tu­ally pro­gram­ming them to find the quick­est way out of a maze, for ex­am­ple, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. Stu­dents are even taught how to build more ad­vanced ro­bots.

Mod­ern ed­u­ca­tion is al­ready gear­ing to­wards nur­tur­ing stu­dents with crit­i­cal think­ing and prob­lem-solv­ing skills. This new out­look em­pha­sises teach­ing stu­dents to “learn HOW to learn” rather than just WHAT to learn.

In Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries, in­cor­po­rat­ing Lego into the stan­dard cur­ric­ula of kinder­gartens, schools and uni­ver­si­ties is not un­com­mon. It has contributed to­wards these coun­tries be­ing able to pro­duce many world-class brands and prod­ucts – a highly no­table feat con­sid­er­ing their rel­a­tively small pop­u­la­tion.

The suc­cess of R.E.A.L Schools in var­i­ous Lego com­pe­ti­tions has also spurred the school to con­tinue fan­ning the flames of in­ter­est among stu­dents in this area. R.E.A.L School par­tic­i­pants have, in re­cent years, walked away with highly ac­claimed awards such as the Ris­ing Star Award and Best Over­all Ro­bot De­sign Award at the First Lego League (FLL) na­tional-level com­pe­ti­tion.

The teams were recog­nised for their unique ef­forts, ideas, per­for­mance and dy­nam­ics. They caught the eye of the judges with ideas such as the “TX5 - Nanobot Tech­nol­ogy”, which ad­vo­cates ra­dio fre­quency ab­la­tion in treat­ing can­cer as well as bac­te­ria-pow­ered nanobots (via mag­netic waves) that can be used in the hu­man body.

An­other award-win­ning pre­sen­ta­tion was a project with a stem cell re­gen­er­a­tion theme where stem cells taken from em­bryos can be di­rected to re­pair or re­place tis­sue cells dam­aged by dis­eases such as di­a­betes. The team be­lieved im­ma­ture brain cells can be coaxed into be­com­ing in­sulin-pro­duc­ing islet cells that are lack­ing in di­a­bet­ics.

Apart from in­deli­bly leav­ing their mark on the com­pe­ti­tion, R.E.A.L School stu­dents have found the fun in science and tech­nol­ogy while in­still­ing in them self-con­fi­dence, knowl­edge, team­work, lead­er­ship and life skills.

Com­bin­ing stud­ies and play of­ten pro­duces out­stand­ing re­sults. It is the role of the school to pro­vide that plat­form for stu­dents to un­leash their true tal­ents and to ful­fil their hid­den po­ten­tial. Re­al­is­ing this, R.E.A.L Schools has in­vested in the re­quired in­fra­struc­ture, hard­ware and soft­ware equip- ment, as well as in ded­i­cated teach­ing staff.

With over 28 years of his­tory in shap­ing ed­u­ca­tion ex­cel­lence, R.E.A.L Schools is a di­verse com­mu­nity of learn­ing com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing holis­tic ed­u­ca­tion through ex­cep­tional aca­demic stan­dards an­chored by sound char­ac­ter val­ues and stu­dents’ per­for­mance. Today, it has six schools lo­cated at three cam­puses in Malaysia, of­fer­ing both in­ter­na­tional and na­tional syl­labi rang­ing from preschool, pri­mary to sec­ondary lev­els. R.E.A.L Schools is a five-star rated school as cer­ti­fied by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion Malaysia.

For de­tails, call R.E.A.L Schools at: > 03-9021 3601 (Suria Cam­pus, Cheras), > 03-7842 3228 (Ca­haya Cam­pus, Shah Alam) > 07-386 4468 (Ca­haya Cam­pus, Jo­hor) Log on to www.re­alschools.edu.my

R.E.A.L School stu­dents with their Lego ro­botic mod­els. Far left: The Lego team from R.E.A.L Schools busy pro­gram­ming their ro­bot mod­els us­ing spe­cialised com­puter soft­ware.

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