Lego Is The Demise Of British Engineering

from the wow.--someone's-holding-a-grudge dept

A Nobel prize winning scientist has bashed the concept of “Lego”, saying that it’s a “disaster of modern life” and “the demise of British engineering”, compared to his childhood toy of choice, Meccano. I hadn’t heard of Meccano, but after a few searches, and looking at the pics, I’m pretty sure I had some Meccano sets (or at least some sort of vaguely similar copy called Erector Sets) as a kid. Anyway, it seems like a bit of a stretch to blame the demise of education on Legos. Spokespeople from Lego were understanably speechless. Here they are, making toys (that certainly have more educational value than plenty of other toys out there), and a Nobel prize winner is blaming them for destroying engineering in an entire country.

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Comments on “Lego Is The Demise Of British Engineering”

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Duffman says:

And anyway...

I forgot to finish my post last time. However, I can see their ‘point’, but I don’t agree with it. Yes, LEGO is a simpler toy than Meccano, yes, it does concentrate more on structures than on materials (it has an inherent stability), but, as Mike points out, there are much worse things kids could be doing. I think, at least from my observations, that the decline in science- and math-related fields falls moreso on the educating process than the toys children play with.

I know from my educational experience that many teachers who do not like math pass that dislike off to students, and these days, it seems like there are a lot. It is also a reflection of the general view of society – you can always hear someone lament, “Oh, I never was good with math/numbers,” and it is generally accepted. Granted, this can also work with grammar, artistic ability (I’m guilty of this one at times), and a few others, but the largest portion is with math. So if math is allowed to fall by the wayside, it’s not considered as big a deal as, say, command of the English language. Lastly, there is the question that most frustrated students ask themselves or their teachers – “When am I ever going to use geometry/algebra/calculus?”

After all this ranting, my point is simply that yes, getting children interesting in concepts like math, science, how stuff works, etc. is extremely important, and can be accomplished through toys early in life, but educational influences can and do strongly shape students, and on the flip side, can also deter all but the most devoted of students from a chosen direction.

Whew, that’s a lot of talk.

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