The BBC is giving millions of kids in the UK a micro:bit to learn how to code, and help develop a more informed, tech-ready generation.
Kids should learn about emerging technologies, right? An incredible initiative from the BBC has gone live today, and it could change the lives of children all over the UK. The public sector giant is supplying students with a coding device called micro:bit.
Forget having a one hour computer class every week. The micro:bit will let kids create whatever they can imagine, and do it on their own time. The project is part of the Make It Digital initiative, and is perhaps the biggest and most ambitious IT project the education sector seen in several decades.
Up to one million pocket-sized coding devices will be given free of charge to every year 7 student in England and Wales, year 8 students in Northern Ireland, and S1 students in Scotland.
The device isn’t just for writing code, either. Kids can see what their work can do in the real world. Whether it’s a fitness app or a video game, micro:bit will encourage kids to learn and let them the see the results first hand.
3D Printing Companies Backing micro:bit Initiative
The micro:bit is a modern re-imagining of the BBC Micro of the 1980s, a similar project that helped introduce the world of computing to the populace.
“BBC micro:bit represents a major milestone in our bid to inspire a new generation of digital innovators,” says Jessica Cecil of Make It Digital. “As part of our Make it Digital initiative we want everyone to discover more about the digital world.”
Major companies very clearly understand the importance of the initiative, and are offering several layers of support. The micro:bit is the result of huge partnerships between the BBC and 31 organizations, including Barclays, Microsoft, and Samsung.
The program is accompanied by code editors, found at microbit.co.uk, a mobile app, and also the ability to use external sensors and other devices.
The micro:bit won’t just help give tech-loving kids and outlet. It will give those who either can’t afford such technology, or have simply never come in contact with coding, the chance to hone new skills.
For the older generations, it may seem unusual — but future generations are going to have a very different relationship to technology. Offering fair and thorough education for the entire upcoming generation will be vital for developing more powerful technologies in the future.
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