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Entertaining NXT video - 7 minutes

The LEGO Education NXT blog has posted a fun video here.

You get a look at the containers they'll eventually be selling. There's also some really quick glimpses of the printed material, but it's hard to see details. I did notice some components in the Education version that I don't have in my retail version... not a big deal as I'm sure there are parts in my kit that won't be found in the Education version.

This brings up the question - do I buy the Education version or the Retail version? I think we can manage a good discussion here on this. A few weeks ago when I had a chance to meet with some fellow MDPers and Soren and Paal of LEGO, this issue did come up.

One thing we need to keep in mind is that the Retail version is designed for a single user (or small group of friends) that will experiment on their own. My opinion is that the RoboCenter is designed to give this user a good understanding of the basics of construction and programming. The RoboCenter is part of the Retail version and, when the 18 challenges are completed, the user can be confident in programming all the sensors and the motors, PLUS have some good techniques in their 'bag of tricks' that are demonstrated during the Challenge Build Instructions.

As for the Education version, the RoboCenter now becomes the Robo Educator. The Challenges are replaced with training that goes along with the Curriculum being developed for integrating the NXT with a classroom setting. I don't have all the details on the Robo Educator, but in my discussions with LEGO I came to understand that the Education NXT version is most definitely designed for a classroom and a planned curriculum.

The sensors count and parts count are also different between kits. The Education version comes with fewer building components, but does come with a few extra sensors that are included to complete the projects in the Robo Educator. The converter cables are included so an existing investment in RCX/RIS parts, motors, and sensors can be maximized. (The converter cables can be purchased separately for those with the Retail kit who would like to integrate the legacy sensors/motors with the newer kit.)

When talking with Soren, I came to understand that there are reasons for the differences between the Retail and Education versions - simply choosing to purchase the Education version because it comes with converter cables and a recharge battery is ignoring the major reason for having two different versions: one is for integration with a classroom and the other is for individual experimentation and the included software instruction is what defines the two.

Let the discussions/debates begin...

Jim

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