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Washington teachers, tech leaders show off in London

(Courtesy of BETT)

Just like CES focuses on consumer electronics, there’s a trade show in London starting Wednesday that is all about education electronics. Washington’s teachers and tech leaders are among the featured innovators at BETT.

BETT runs through Saturday. One of the headliners is Washington’s Microsoft, which is announcing a whole new version of Minecraft set to drop next month. It’s specifically designed to teach kids about chemistry.

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“Teachers love this because it forces students to create all the way from elements, all the way to the items. And the only way for them to get these items is for students to engage with the science,” says Neal Manegold with the Minecraft Education Team.

In his example, Manegold starts with basic protons and electrons. He uses these to create elements, like hydrogen, which he then uses to create chemical compounds. Those compounds then allow him to create an “ice bomb,” an item needed to move ahead in the game.

Caylee Daniel is a math teacher at Renton High School. She’s at BETT to demonstrate how she is using integrated LEGO technology to teach her students how math is used in the real world to create things like transportation systems.

“You start with Pythagorean Theorem … We use that information and that knowledge with the students to be able to calculate the estimated road difference of each of the segments, knowing the leg lengths on the map,” Daniel explains.

Her project goes from a computer screen, to creating real maps and tools with LEGOs, then back to the screen where she can modify her creation in any number of ways.

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The best part of all of these new systems is that not only are they designed specifically with teachers and students in mind, but teachers are then able to create their own modules and lesson plans which they can share with each other. The possibilities for all of these programs is growing exponentially.

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