BBC micro:bit inspires kids to get into coding
After months of anticipation, the BBC’s micro:bit has finally started to land in secondary schools across the UK. Measuring at just 4cm x 5cm, the tiny computer will be used to teach children to code
31 Mar 2016
After months of anticipation, the BBC’s micro:bit has finally started to land in secondary schools across the UK. Measuring at just 4cm x 5cm, the tiny computer will be used to teach children to code.
What is the micro:bit?
If you grew up in the 80s you may remember something similar – the BBC Micro. It may well have been your first foray into coding, and the BBC is looking to encourage another coding revolution with the micro:bit. It’s 70 times smaller than its older cousin and 18 times faster too.
The tiny handheld device has an awful lot of features:
- 2 programmable buttons
- 25 red LED lights that can flash messages
- 5 Input and Output (I/O) rings
- Bluetooth, enabling it to connect to other devices and the internet
- A built-in compass and accelerometer
- And, loads of sensors
Within the past few weeks, the BBC has already started to deliver the free computers to year 7 students and the organisation hopes it will inspire digital creativity. The best part is they belong to the students not the school – they can take them home to develop a passion for coding.
What can you do with it?
The possibilities are almost limitless – the simplicity of the computer makes it very flexible. Plus, there are already apps available on Android and iOS to use with it.
The BBC has said the micro:bit is meant to complement other devices such as Arduino, Galileo and Kano – the Raspberry Pi Foundation is even working on software resources for it. And, the platform is uncomplicated and accessible giving everyone a chance to learn.
A dedicated BBC website with personal areas has been built to allow children to save and test creations before they’re transferred to the micro:bit.
What’s next for the device?
Samsung, one of the partners of the project, has already created an app for the device. The app will enable the micro:bit to wirelessly communicate with phones and tablets. Don’t be surprised if others follow with their own apps.
The BBC has confirmed it will be selling the device at some point, but hasn’t given a firm date yet. All going well, expect to see this easy-to-use tiny computer helping the next generation of coders start their journey of coding.