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BBC and partners unveil the landmark BBC micro:bit

The BBC micro:bit: Bringing Connected Technology to UK Schools

All Year 7 students will receive a BBC micro:bit this autumn, bringing connected technologies into schools across the UK.

According to our research, a number of things happen when mobile technology is introduced into classrooms. Students are more engaged in their learning and often more creative – they can create, present and share work in a variety of ways not possible before.  They also show a keen desire to make their own resources – for learning and for play. The release of the BBC micro:bit is a truly exciting development for schools since it harnesses this natural curiosity and gets students excited about coding and programming. Coding and programming help develop crucial skills needed for the future workplace, such as problem solving, analytical skills and teamwork.

Read more about the initiative from the BBC and from our partners Samsung.

What is the BBC micro:bit?

The micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that students can use to code. It has motion detection, bluetooth and a built in compass. No prior coding knowledge is needed. Students can code something simple, such as a pattern, in a matter of seconds. They can also code their micro:bit to do more sophisticated tasks such as launching their phone camera remotely to take a selfie.

It is being made freely available to Year 7 students along with  their own area on a dedicated website. They can save and test their creations in a simulator before transferring them to the micro:bit.

The Internet of Things (IoT): Transforming the Classroom

As Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, points out, what is exciting about the micro:bit is that it can:

Connect to everything from mobile phones to plant pots and Raspberry Pis”

We are delighted that one of our partners – Samsung – is  helping to enable this connectivity – Samsung is connecting the micro:bit to phones and tablets so that they can communicate with each other. Samsung will also create an app to support the BBC micro:bit, so young people can program on-the-go.

The BBC micro:bit is the product of a collaboration between 29 international organisations, start-ups and education organisations, including Barclays, Samsung, Microsoft, and the Wellcome Trust.

Coding enhances student’s problem solving, teamwork and analytical skills, competencies that are in demand more and more in the ever changing world in which we live. Schools and teachers attitudes to coding is changing as the language of this new area becomes more accepted since the introduction of the computing curriculum in 2014. Our research, ‘Attitudes to the Introduction of Coding into the Curriculum’ highlights the concerns teachers have on funding, resources and schemes of work to support them.

Does the micro:bit help or hinder? Tell us what you think.

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