The BBC micro:bit, the pocket sized coding device created by the BBC and 29 partner organisations, is now available for the public to purchase through selected distributors and partner organisations. This is set to drastically increase the use of the device in schools and homes across the UK and play a fundamental role in helping to bridge the UK digital skills gap as the nation gets coding.
Over the last two months, a million BBC micro:bits have started to be distributed to year seven pupils at secondary schools across the UK and children have been taking their first steps into coding, experimenting with the device and creating a range of innovative projects.
As it is theirs to keep, children can experiment with the device at home. The device can be coded to control external devices, games and music playback on a smartphone and, as it has Bluetooth, communicate with tablets.
For schools, the versatility of the device means it can be used across a range of topics related to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) agenda. This increased availability of the device will mean that teachers can order more BBC micro:bits for different subject areas and plan engaging lessons. It also means that children in other year groups will be able to use the device.
Kitronik, provider of electronic project kits and educational resources to schools and one of the many partner organisations in the BBC micro:bit project, is one of the organisations distributing the device.
Geoff Hampson, co-founder and director of Kitronik, comments: “We have seen some fantastic projects from students and teachers up and down the country since the BBC micro:bit was delivered to schools in March. In my opinion, making the device available for schools and the public to buy will hugely expand the reach of the device, help whole families get creative with coding and be music to the ears of hobbyists who have been itching to get their hands on the device since its launch. People will now be able to pair their Arduino, Galileo, Kano, littleBits and Raspberry Pi to the BBC micro:bit which will lead to the development of all manner of creations!”
In addition to selling the BBC micro:bit, Kitronik has also created a range of products to use with the device to expand the use of the device into Design and Technology subjects, help support teachers in creating innovative lessons and help parents and hobbyists understand how to get started with the device. Many resources are available free of charge via the Kitronik website.
In addition to Kitronik, the BBC micro:bit will be available to purchase from Premier Farnell, The Pi Hut, Pimoroni, Science Scope and Element 14.