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Please note that this review is for the Lego Mindstorms NXT2.0 Educational Kit which incorporates the Intelligent Brick.
As an ICT teacher I was looking for a product to make learning about Control in ICT a little more engaging. I stumbled across an advert in a trade mag for the Lego Mindstorms Kit and decided to risk a couple of thousand of my budget on a set of 8 of these.
==The Kit ==
The intelligent brick is the hub of the kit, it communicates with the sensors and controls the motors and actuators that you can connect. It also has a rechargeable battery pack and a bluetooth connection enabled.
Aside from the brick, light, sound, movement and contact sensors are included, along with 3 servo motors and some LEDs built in to Lego bricks.
There is also an abundance of structural lego which can be used to build the core robot and to further modify it.
==The Concept ==
Build your own Lego robot and either using the basic controls on the brick, or the PC software included, Give the robot instructions to react to various senses.
==The Reality ==
Building the bots proved great fun to my 6th form class, the instructions were clear to follow and they did not take too long to get them up and running. At the time we did not have the software installed so we used the controls on the bricks to try some basic rprogramming. Within 40 minutes we soon had a fleet of robots following paper trails on a dark floor!
Not cheap at about £250 a pop. I certainly wouldn't buy one outside of an educational context. However they are inspirational in the classroom and have the power to engage children of all levels. The software allows for far more detailed programming suitable for Advanced level pupils.
Ahh, the software, once it was finally installed I realised that this is where the whole thing i s a little bit of a let down. NXT-G is a built in language that Legfo provide. It is a kind of quasi graphicla language that almost works like a flowchart. My pupils found it difficult to understand or inflexible in getting the results they require. There are other 3rd party languages that will work with the software which I am told are more efficient and effective but as they are not included I will not review them here
Build your own robot and then make it do stuff. It's every boys dream! Great fun and with real educational value. I am very pleased that I got these for our school.
This review also appears on Ciao under the username "thejazzyj" :)