BBC Micro:bit – It’s taken a while but worth it

I have always been keen that kids learn to code early on. Not to make them all software engineers but to help find those that can be, and also to help everyone get an appreciation of what goes into the devices, games and things we all totally depend on now.
Way back in the last ever Cool Stuff Collective (in 2011 !) I did a round up of all things tech coming in the future. I begged kids to hassle their teachers to learn to program
It was looking as if the Raspberry Pi was going to be the choice for a big push into schools. It is probably even why our show was seen as too common to be allowed to show the early version. I was keen to have the Pi on but that didn’t work out. We had already done the Arduino on a previous show and that seemed to work really well.
So I was very pleased to see the BBC Micro:bit arrive on the scene last week. The Raspberry Pi is a great small computer, it is however quite a techie thing to get going as you have to be managing operating systems, drivers etc. (Though things like the Kano make that much much easier)
Arduino are great for being able to plug things into though it requires some circuitry and connections on breadboard to start to make sense of it. The programming environment allows a lot oa things to be achieved. It is a micro controller not a full working computer.
microbit
The new BBC micro:bit is a step in from the Arduino. It has an array of LED lights on it as its own display but also has bluetooth and a collection of sensors already onboard.
I was very pleased to see the involvement of Technology WilL Save Us in the design. I met and shared the stage with the co founder of this maker group Daniel Hirschman @danielhirschman at the GOTO conference in Amsterdam a couple of years ago. He knows his stuff and is passionate about how to get kids involved in tech so I know that this is a great step and a good piece of kit.
The plans to roll this out to every year 7 student is great, though predlet 1.0 is just moving up out of that year. So I will just have to buy one when we can.
Microsoft have a great video to describe it too.

I am sure STEMnet ambassadors in the filed of computing will be interested and hopefully excited too. This is important, as it is not just code it is physical computing, understanding sensors what can and can’t be done. It is an internet of things (IOT) device and it is powered by a web based programming language. It is definitely off the moment and the right time for it. Oh and its not just an “app” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

shZa r

Please type the text above:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.