Cool little computers teach kids to code
Recently, there has been an explosion in the popularity of very small, very cheap, simple miniature computers. If you search for projects you can do with one of the most popular of these computers, the Raspberry Pi, you'll see everything from clocks, to pirate radio transmitters, to automatic cat food dispensers. Once you develop the skills to program and run these simple little circuit boards, they have an incredible range of creative uses.
"Although it's small, it packs quiet a punch" explains Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC learning and education. "It's got a number of features built into it, from LEDs to programmable buttons, on onboard motion detector and a built in compass. It comes in a range of colour and we worked with different design companies to try and create something that 11 and 12 year-olds would really love. Something that is keeping with their lives, something that is very portable, very mobile, but also something that pretty much looks quiet cool."
Sinead says that the goal is to introduce children to building and coding computers, instead of just the consumer-facing side of electronics that most of us are exposed to. She also says the hope is that the micro:bit will be a sort of "gateway drug", and that they will eventually graduate to using other, more complicated open board computers, like the Raspberry Pi or the Arduino.