BBC Sends Free Micro:bit Computers to UK Students
This past week, BBC and partners announced they would be sending out their joint micro:bit product to all year 7 (11-12 year old) students and select teachers in the U.K. after a half-year of distribution delay.
Micro:bit is a handheld programmable microcomputer (somewhat similar to Raspberry Pi). According to the BBC, it is to be used by students as an introductory tool to encourage interest in computing at a younger age.
A smaller and more advanced product than BBC’s micro-computer introduced in the early 80’s, today’s micro:bit is programmed through a separate computer or phone. Among its features, the device has 25 individual lights and two buttons, the ability to detect motion and direction, and Bluetooth compatibility with other devices.
According to the BBC news release, “Following the nationwide rollout, the BBC micro:bit hardware and much of the software will be open-sourced, and BBC micro:bits will be available to buy from a range of retailers.”
A limited run was sent out to select teachers and individuals throughout the country over the last year during development, providing us with some interesting examples of possible projects. Students or individuals with the device can also explore videos, guides and tutorials through BBC micro:bit site.
Nate Leese is an Emerson College senior journalism student focusing on long term photography projects and visual media. Growing up a third culture kid he enjoys learning about relationships between cultures during times of change.