Children in schools across the UK are receiving a Micro:bit – a programmable microcomputer – from the BBC, in an attempt to boost the number of children learning coding.
Every student in Year 7 in the UK should receive one of the small, cheap computers over the coming few weeks, later than the originally planned date. They were meant to be given out at the start of the school year in September, but issues with the hardware and power supply resulted in a delay.
It equates to one million students receiving a Micro:bit package, regardless of whether they attend state schools, private schools, are or home schooled.
The device consists of LEDs, buttons, Bluetooth, input and output rings for accessories, and an accelerometer and magnetometer on-board. Students will have access to many instructions and tutorials on how to use the Micro:bit, which they will use to learn basic coding and computing skills.
The head of the BBC’s Micro:bit project, Sinead Rocks, said: “We wanted to try to create something that would ultimately help tackle the skills gap in the UK when it comes to the tech sector. Children have many devices. They’re used to using tablets and smartphones. We wanted to do something that transformed them from being passive users, to teach them something about what they use on a daily basis.”
The Micro:bit will go on sale to the general public in the future, and the hardware, and most of the software, will be open-sourced.
Image courtesy of BBC