Digital technology has been growing fast over the past few decades, and it has changed how future generations will work and study. With computers, it’s not just about knowing how to turn one on and use software, but knowing how a computer works and how to write code and program computers. The BBC have a history of spreading digital knowledge, and did so back in the 1980s with its BBC Micro. Now, the BBC are upgrading to the BBC micro:bit.
The BBC micro:bit is going to be given out to every 11 or 12 year old child in year 7 or an equivalent in the UK. It is a small device that is a codeable computer and the BBC hopes it will raise the imaginations and creativity of children in the digital field. The miro:bit connects to a range of devices, sensors, kits and objects. It is a way for children to learn about the internet-of-things and how to manipulate and create code to change or fix things within the internet-of-things.
The micro:bit connects to Arduino, Galileo, Kano, littleBits and Raspberry Pi. The device has 25 red LED lights for flash messages and to create games, two programmable buttons, an on-board motion dector (Features include shake, tilt and freefall actions, as well as telling other devices when you’re moving.), a built in compass, Bluetooth Smart Technology and five input and output rings (Made for crocodile clips or 4mm banana plugs to connect the micro:bit to other devices like motors and robots.).
There is a dedicated website to be ready for access this summer that users can access from a PC, tablet or smartphone. The site will have a testing area, so users can test their coding before putting it into practice. The tools on the site are easy to use, becoming more complex as the user learns and their knowledge grows.
Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, has said “We happily give children paint brushes when they’re young, with no experience – it should be exactly the same with technology. The BBC micro:bit is all about young people learning to express themselves digitally, and it’s their device to own. It’s our most ambitious education initiative for 30 years. And as the micro:bit is able to connect to everything from mobile phones to plant pots and Raspberry Pis, this could be for the internet-of-things what the BBC Micro was to the British gaming industry.”