The BBC micro:bit is a handheld, fully programmable computer being given free to every Year 7 or equivalent child across the UK.
It features a 5×5 LED display, an accelerometer, compass, buttons, I/O pins, a Micro USB plug, a Bluetooth Low Energy antenna to interact with other devices and the Internet and an ARM Cortex-M0 processor; the combination of programmability and sensor capabilities makes it an ideal IoT device.
Microsoft is one of BBC’s key project partners. They have developed the micro:bit’s online programming environment and even ensured it was available to use offline as well. It houses two easy-to-use code editors: Touch Develop and Block Editor that kids can use these to create anything from a flashing message device or digital watch, to a Pac Man game or Magic 8 fortune teller. Children’s imagination really is the limit – and these children show just how far that imagination will take them.
The Quick Start Guide for Teachers provides simple, step-by-step lesson guides and walkthroughs to get them started. Meanwhile, a host of lesson plans are available for the Touch Develop and Block Editor code editors — at all levels of experience. There are also some great project examples for staff and students to check out on this specially developed OneNote Notebook.
After several delays, micro:bit is being delivered to every Year 7 student in the U.K., just in time for the fifth annual worldwide IoT Day on Saturday, April 9.