Today (Tuesday 22 March) up to one million BBC micro:bits have been delivered free to every year 7 student in England and Wales. The device, which is part of the BBC’s Make It Digital project, was showcased at a launch event at Swansea University through its Technocamps project.
Teachers from across south Wales were given an insight into how the handheld computer can be introduced into the classroom to provide Year 7 pupils with a tangible, engaging and enjoyable experience to begin their coding journey.
The BBC micro:bit (pictured) is a pocket-sized codeable computer that allows young people to get creative with technology, whatever their level of experience, and aims to help develop a new generation of digital pioneers.
During the launch event at Swansea University, teachers took part in a hands-on introduction session which demonstrated a variety of ways that the BBC micro:bit can be used within the school curriculum, to inspire digital creativity in the classroom.
With a variety of programming languages available, from languages similar to Scratch (drag-and-drop) to Python, the BBC micro:bit allows young people to get creative with technology, whatever their level of experience, and aims to help develop a new generation of digital pioneers.
Professor Faron Moller, Director of Technocamps and Professor of Computer Science, said: ‘It is an exciting time for computer science education across Wales. With every Year 7 pupil provided with a BBC micro:bit, it will provide them with an engaging and stimulating method to learn about computer science and coding.”
Alun Parry, ICT and Computer Science teacher from Cardigan Secondary School, added: “I thoroughly enjoyed getting hands-on with the long awaited BBC micro:bit. It brought back memories of the last BBC initiative in Computer Science, the BBC Micro. I am currently working towards the accredited Computing for Teachers course with Technocamps and the session was fun and informative, with a variety of activities to get started in the classroom with the BBC micro:bit.”
The micro:bit is the BBC’s most ambitious education project in 30 years and builds on the pioneering role of the BBC Micro, which helped introduce the nation to computing in the 1980s. It has been made possible only through a ground-breaking partnership between the BBC and 31 organisations including ARM, Barclays, element14, Lancaster University, Microsoft, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, Samsung, Technology Will Save Us and the Wellcome Trust.
Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, said: “The BBC micro:bit has seemingly limitless potential, especially when paired with other hardware, and we can’t wait to see what students will do with it. They’ve already come up with all kinds of ideas during testing and at events around the country - some ideas help solve some of life’s daily challenges, some could have business potential, and others are just great fun. Teachers have been quick to embrace it too, which is so important to the success of the project, and they have already made valuable additions to our online resources.”
- Tuesday 22 March 2016 16.27 GMT
- Tuesday 22 March 2016 16.31 GMT
- Catrin Newman