Digital Transformation

BBC, Samsung, Barclays and more unveil BBC micro:bit coding computer

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By Natalie Mortimer | N/A

July 7, 2015 | 3 min read

The BBC, in collaboration with a string of partners including Barclays, Samsung and Microsoft, has unveiled the BBC micro:bit – a pocket-sized, codeable computer designed to let children get creative with technology.

The computer will be given to every year-seven child in the UK (around one million 11 and 12 year olds) for free to help realise the ambition to inspire digital creativity and develop a new generation of tech pioneers.

Part of the BBC’s 2015 Make it Digital initiative, the BBC micro:bit aims to help young people develop core skills in science, technology and engineering. It marks the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative for 30 years, following the 1980s BBC Micro initiative that introduced many children to computing for the first time.

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Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, said: “Channelling the spirit of the Micro for the digital age, the BBC micro:bit will inspire a new generation in a defining moment for digital creativity here in the UK. All you need is your curiosity, creativity and imagination – we’ll provide the tools. This has the power to be transformative for the UK. The BBC is one of the few organisations in the world that could convene something on this scale, with such an unprecedented partnership at its core.”

Each element of the BBC micro:bit is programmable via easy-to-use software on a dedicated website (available later in the summer) that can be accessed from a PC, tablet or mobile.

The computer also connects to other devices, sensors, kits and objects, and works as a companion to Arduino, Galileo, Kano, littleBits and Raspberry Pi, acting as a spring-board to more complex learning.

A total 29 partners were involved in the collaboration with the BBC, including ARM, element14, Freescale, Lancaster University, Nordic Semiconductor, ScienceScope, Technology Will Save Us and the Wellcome Trust.

The BBC micro:bit will start to arrive in schools in late October.

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