One of the big announcements coming out of last week’s FIRST Championships was National Instrument‘s introduction of LabVIEW for Lego Mindstorms. The cross-platform software, which allows users to visually control and program Mindstorms NXT robots, is intended for high school students and complements existing age appropriate programming software for other programs catering to elementary and middle schools.
LabVIEW for Lego Mindstorms is supported by a site, K12Lab.com, which helps teachers develop lesson plans, find resources and get help with technical questions. The new software uses the same tools as the award-winning LabVIEW, used in engineering firms and businesses everywhere, and helps prepare students for careers after schooling and teaching them the software they may very well use in full-time jobs.
Bo Snyder, an engineering and robotics teacher in Pittsburgh, Texas loves the use of LabVIEW and Mindstorms because it helps kids understand the importance of math and science, “All of a sudden there’ll be, like a light switch comes on and they understood what they’ve just done and they understand everything they’ve done the three weeks before that. So now they’ve got—went from an interest in this to a love of it. Just instantly, like flipping a light switch.”