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Coding on the go with micro:bit

At this year's Bett, Samsung and the BBC had hands-on samples of the soon-to-be-launched micro:bit

Posted by Hannah Oakman | January 27, 2016 | Secondary

One exciting initiative at this year’s Bett was the BBC micro:bit, on show from the BBC and its partners, Samsung, The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Kitronik.

Visitors to the STEAM Village area had the chance to experience this new pocket-sized, codeable computer, which has been designed with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth.

The BBC micro:bit, which will be delivered this term free to all year 7 or equivalent students (up to one million devices), comes with teaching resources, off-timetable STEM activity days and projects to complement the science, maths, design and technology (D&T) and computing curriculums.

Samsung were on hand to show us a preview of the official Android app, developed to connect the BBC micro:bit with smartphones and tablets to enable coding on the go.

The app also allows children to control their phones and tablets via the micro:bit, for example to build their own selfie remote controller, or even their very own security alarm.

The IET is providing teachers with free BBC micro:bit teaching resources and is working with the National Science Learning Network and the Design and Technology Association to offer teachers free training on how to use it in lessons. 

The collaboration is billed as one of the most ambitious education initiative in 30 years, aimed to inspire digital creativity and developing a new generation of technology pioneers.

Speaking to Education Technology, Aleyne Johnson, Head of Government Relations and Citizenship, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland said: “Our engineers have enabled the micro:bit to communicate with digital devices such as phones and tablets, so young people can code inside and outside of the classroom. In effect, you’ll be able to code to programme the phone to do anything the internal technology enables. This is really designed to get those basic coding skills going and enable practice over theory – helping young people to learn coding on the go.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how the micro:bit will inspire children not only to use technology but also to understand the power of connecting technologies together, taking them from passive to proactive users as they shape the future of the technology industry.

“One of the main challenges for us now is the legacy of this new programme. So through the BBC and various partners, we’re looking at setting up a not-for-profit so that those who haven’t got the free micro:bit this year can access them in the future. We’re also seeing a lot of interest from our counterparts in other countries who would like to implement something there too.”

To find out more about BBC micro:bit, visit www.microbit.co.uk and for more on Samsung Digital Classrooms visit www.samsung.com/uk/citizenship.

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