Lego robots teach students in hope of filling hi-tech skills gap
A school in Western Australia has adopted the innovative pedagogic technique of using Lego robotics to teach students about mining processes, with the long-term goal of providing skilled tech-savvy workers to the region's flourishing resources sector.
According to ABC News Lego robotics have been introduced to the classrooms of Newman Senior High in Western Australia's Pilbara region as part of an alliance program with the Department of Education with the goal of giving students a first-hand understanding of key aspects of the mining industry.
The Lego robots are used to teach students about automated processes and the increasingly pivotal role that robotics will play in the mining sector in future.
Students are required to construct and program their own functioning robots using Lego and to emulate the function of mining equipment.
The program is especially relevant to Western Australia, whose economy has risen to prosperity on the back of an unprecedented China-backed resources boom, yet whose mining sector could soon face an acute shortage of skilled workers familiar with new technologies.
Bruce Campbell-Fraser from the Chamber of Minerals and Energy has hailed the program, saying that the mining industry is "chasing a very highly skilled workforce."
"We have a shortage of engineers and geologists and metallurgists for example, those sort of key technology and science based careers, so anything the education sector do to assist, that's why I think we'd be welcoming this program," said Mr. Campbell-Fraser.