I'll let the press release speak for itself. This isn't out yet, but it does sound... very interesting. Given the target (the "One Laptop Per Child" program), I would suspect a low-cost solution, but at this point it's just speculation. The LEGO Press Release:
LEGO EDUCATION EXPLORING WAYS TO BRING CREATIVE LEARNING SOLUTIONS
TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Sao Paolo, BRAZIL (NOVEMBER 7, 2007) – LEGO Education, The LEGO Group’s educational division, today begins testing of creative curriculum solutions in three schools in Brazil to establish the best technology platform for bringing 21st Century skills to students ages seven and older in underserved and developing countries.
LEGO Education will provide selected classrooms with concept products that foster the hands-on, minds-on creative play for which the LEGO® brand is universally known. The company is building on 10 years of research, product development and success as a consumer robotics pioneer with LEGO MINDSTORMS®, harnessing technology to bridge the physical and virtual play worlds to provide advanced teaching methods that integrate science, math, engineering, language, social skills, and more. LEGO Education’s goal is to provide cost-effective, high-impact, versatile tools that foster creative exploration and learning for those schools and students who need it most to prepare for the future. In developing these solutions the company is once again collaborating closely with MIT Media Lab and Professor Mitchel Resnick.
“A global discussion is taking place right now about how to address the educational needs of children to best prepare them for the future and Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child program has spotlighted much needed attention to the curriculum gaps in developing countries specifically,” says Jens Maibom, vice president, LEGO Education. “Our experience in both the consumer toy market and the educational environment uniquely prepares us to take a lead along with Negroponte and others in establishing affordable classroom solutions that challenge and inspire today’s children, the builders of tomorrow, to successfully meet the ever-changing demands of today’s global workforce. We are confident that the results of the curriculum test in Brazil will help us establish the best platform to meet this objective.”
Concept testing runs through the end of 2007, with additional development and product launch to a number of developing countries scheduled late 2008. Lars Nyengaard, Director of Innovation, LEGO Education is the lead for the project.
This new classroom concept further supports The LEGO Group’s recent announcement of its membership in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a group that has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills like creativity and innovation into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education to ensure every child's success as citizens and workers in the 21st century. In his role as leader of LEGO Education Jens Maibom represents The LEGO Group, the only toy manufacturer on the Board, to champion the company’s commitment to preparing children for the future through creative play and learning activities.
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About The LEGO Group
The LEGO Group (www.LEGO.com) is a privately held, family-owned company, based in Billund, Denmark. It was founded in 1932 and today the group is one of the world's leading manufacturers of play materials for children, employing approximately 4,500 people globally. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities through its products, which can be purchased in more than 130 countries.
LEGO, MINDSTORMS and their respective logos are trademarks of the LEGO Group. © 2007 The LEGO Group.