The Internet of Things oriented micro-computer micro:bit is being rolled out to 1 million students, with Microsoft providing a browser based platform.
Microsoft and the BBC are collaborating on bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) to 1 million students in the United Kingdom, making the BBC micro:bit available for free.
Students have been receiving the devices for the last few weeks, and in an official blog post Microsoft says the aim is to give every Year 7 (11 years old) student the micro:bit before April 9.
The BBC micro:bit is a small unit that connects to a computing device via a USB cable and can be used for such things as gaming, security, and analysis.
Microsoft provides a browser-based coding and content platform called TouchDevelop, which can be used to help inexperienced students learn basic coding skills to create their own content through apps and games.
Micro:bit is compatible with “all major smartphones, tablets, desktop operating systems and browsers, and users can combine sensor data and analysis in ways we haven’t imagined yet”. As well as providing the platform, Microsoft will also help with classroom resources that help students understand how to use micro:bit.
“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.”
The BBC’s “Make It Digital” project is designed to provide inspiration for young students in the U.K. and aid in the development of skills in computing, math, science, and technology. The micro:bit is the core part of the initiative and comes with a small 5×5 LED screen, a compass, accelerometer, I/O pins, a Micro USB port, a Bluetooth Low Energy antenna, and an ARM Cortex-M0 processor.