The year 7 students at Chis and Sid have been introduced to their new BBC Microbit devices. This is a groundbreaking collaboration between 29 partners including ARM, Barclays, BBC, element14, Freescale, Lancaster University, Microsoft, Nordic Semiconductor, Samsung, ScienceScope, Technology Will Save Us and the Wellcome Trust to give a pocket-sized computer to every year 7 child in the UK for free. Their ambition is to inspire digital creativity and develop a new generation of tech pioneers.
The BBC Microbit is a pocket-sized, codeable computer that allows children to get creative with technology. In the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative for 30 years, up to 1 million devices will be given to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK, for free. In the 1980s, the BBC Micro introduced many children to computing for the first time. Part of the BBC’s 2015 Make it Digital initiative, the BBC micro:bit builds on the legacy of the Micro for the digital age, and aims to inspire young people to get creative with digital; develop core skills in science, technology and engineering; and unleash a new generation of digital makers, inventors and pioneers.
Chis and Sid pupils have been working with their new Microbit devices in their Computer Science lessons. They have been learning how to set the devices up and then they moved on to how to write code to make scrolling messages appear on them, using the BBC Microbit website. They then had the chance to program the LED lights on the front of the circuit board and even learn how to program functions for the clickable buttons to do different things.
They even moved on to learning how to code a step counter to keep a track of how many steps that they took between school and home, using the on-board accelerometer. They considered how this could be incorporated into some ‘wearable tech’ and produced some designs for how to incorporate their new devices onto themselves or their clothing.
The students really enjoyed their taster of these new devices and started to explore further projects that they could get involved with outside of school. We really hope they have been inspired to go away and explore the full range of opportunities that these new devices have given them. To support this, there will be a BBC Microbit Computer Science club for them to work with in year 8 if they feel that they want to find out more.