Micro:bit launches new platform to support computing teachers

The free educational platform, funded by Nominet, includes micro:bit classroom

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation has launched a new free educational platform, funded by its founding partner Nominet.

Offering micro:bit classroom – a tool designed for schools – alongside a comprehensive bank of educational resources to assist with planning, idea sharing and save teachers’ time, the platform aims to empower UK computing teachers

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer which uses professional hardware and a range of features – including an LED display; motion, temperature and light sensors; and a compass. It has wireless communication via radio and Bluetooth, which can be programmed to send and receive data between devices.

Programmed using free software editors – MakeCode and python – the micro:bit also introduces learners to coding and the relationship between software and hardware design.

The launch forms part of the Foundation’s plans to democratise technology and drive interest in digital careers. They are dedicated to promoting creative opportunities in coding and the real-world applications of technology, inspiring students to become tech designers and creators, rather than consumers.

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To help address the teacher workload crisis, micro:bit has time-saving features built-in. The basics of the device can be learnt in just one hour, while micro:bit classroom allows teachers to set up programming lessons in less than two minutes.

On top of this, no registration is required and the platform has been specifically designed to maintain student privacy.

“The BBC micro:bit makes coding tangible and creative, getting results quickly and broadening creative horizons,” said Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation.

“There are now over a million micro:bits in UK schools and libraries. The help of our founding partner Nominet in developing the classroom tool and lessons means we can empower teachers to help children of all backgrounds be better prepared to face, and have a part in shaping, their own digital futures.”

Dean Wild, a teacher at Churchill Community College in Newcastle, said: “Using the BBC micro:bit has been so engaging for [pupils], that they have really wanted to learn more. It’s also helped them to grasp more complex computing projects, stretching their minds and making them think…they wouldn’t have had the same experience without the BBC micro:bit.”

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