There’s no doubt, the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 is an outstanding educational tool. The amount of relevant skills students can incorporate from the usage of real and cyber robotics opens a door to enter the STEM fields with a more prepared and motivated class.
When, as educators, we understand how relevant it is for the leaders of tomorrow to learn how to think algorithmically, to know how to program and to get problem-solving skills, we are forced to look for the right tool to accompany us during the learning process of our pupils. Without hesitating, we recommend the EV3.
Wondering which kind of cool things your students can make with the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3? Take a look at these amazing projects created and programmed with the EV3 robot.
We know there are many schools out there with a limited budget that want to bring robotics to all of their students. Robotics hardware creates a barrier and, sometimes, does not allow robotics to be accessible and affordable for all.
In some other cases, those schools using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 are looking for a complementary tool, that will allow their students to keep progressing, learning and discovering new 21st century skills even when they don’t have their EV3 kit in front of their eyes.
That is why, an EV3 online simulator is the perfect way to bring robotics, programming and LEGO in an engaging learning environment to every single student, worldwide. It enables them to explore different areas of the STEM field and own them, allowing them to be more prepared for whenever their turn to lead the world arrives.
So, what you should look for in a EV3 online simulator? What characteristics are necessary in the cyber-robotics platform you are going to use with your class?
1. LEGO Education’s announcement of compatibility
There are numerous platforms offering a robotics simulator. In order to be sure that you are getting something that is approved, reviewed and useful for your robotics class, check for those EV3 simulators that are officially compatible with the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3.
A big part of the fun is to download the code your students created on the platform to a real robot, and for that to happen, compatibility needs to be guaranteed.
Even if a platform uses a different programming language than the official LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 software there are various ways to run different languages on the EV3 brick.The Lejos software, for example, allows you to run Java on your EV3.
2. A platform with academic curriculum
It’s not enough to have a great online environment and nothing else. Look for an EV3 online simulator that can offer you more than just the platform and the environment. Make sure that there is an academic curriculum behind it, that all content is supported with a strong academic background, and that you will be able to teach with clear goals.
To understand better what we are talking about, check out this webinar on the Coding Robots curriculum, delivered by Mr. Gary Garber.
3. Engaging, encouraging and scalable
Choose an online simulator that can prove an exciting challenge to your students. The robotics or EV3 simulator you need is something that will keep your class interested in the subject throughout their lives.
A gamified learning environment creates engagement and motivation. So make sure to look for gamified elements in the EV3 simulator, that will make your robotics class more fun for your young audience.
It is very important to pick a tool that will enable your class to progress, to learn more, to reach new levels of knowledge every day. CoderZ, for example, offers the possibility to start with a Blockly visual code editor, and to progress through academic gamified missions until getting to program in Java (although, those who already know Java can go deeper into their code from the very beginning too).
4. Accessible and affordable
The learning process doesn’t end when the bell rings. Look for an EV3 simulator that is accessible and that doesn’t need any extra software to be used. Give your students the opportunity to keep learning from home with no extra effort. A good idea is to look for tools that are online and that do not require any extra installations besides a good web browser.
We mention before the budget issues. Don’t worry! In general, online robotics simulators will be much more affordable than the actual robotic kit. We believe in bringing STEM and robotics to every student in the world. That is why CoderZ supports using online robotic simulators, making the entire robotics subject accessible to everyone.
5. Teacher training and professional development available
This is a little bit like the dating world, stick with those who will give you what you need even after you have bought and subscribed. Besides the important technicalities, user interface, and academic items that make a platform super look for those companies that will give you the training you need as a teacher. Use an online learning environment that your students will enjoy and that you will use to receive teacher training, professional development and numerous webinars within the subject of robotics, STEM, education, etc…
When you are looking for an EV3 online simulator, look for more than just the simulator, look for something that will become part of your professional development as a teacher.
6. Visual code editor: For beginners not to be afraid of coding
We all love Scratch! It’s true. Scratch showed us that starting in the programming world can be easy and for everyone. CoderZ, for example, offers an online learning environment and an EV3 online simulator that uses, as we mentioned before, a Blockly visual editor. This friendly way of programming can be the first step in giving kids the right tools to think in a computational way.
Attractive colors, easy drag-and-drop technology, very well explained guided tours and numerous blocks to generate almost any action you had in your mind for your real LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 to do. Just put the blocks together, see how they look in Java and witness how your robot does exactly what you wanted it to do. Yup, it’s that easy!
If you want to try out our online learning environment, fully compatible with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3, and teach STEM to your students with cyber robotics in a unique online EV3 simulator, click here and register to receive, automatically, a 5-day free trial.