Micro:Bett 2017

BBC micro:bit guides and tools at Bett 2017

Since it rolled out last year, the BBC micro:bit has been one of the most popular tech devices for classrooms around the country. Provided free to every year 7 student in the country, the micro:bit is a perfect introduction to the world of Digital Making, with scope for users to accomplish practically any project.

At last week’s 2017 Bett show, there was no way to miss micro:bit, with talks throughout the event, attention-grabbing stands and some great demonstrations. While the relatively young micro:bit doesn’t have quite as many add-ons as Raspberry Pi, there’s still a few companies creating kits for the device - particularly Bross Computing, founded by a 16 year old micro:bit user, offering a Maker’s Kit, which adds additional programmable features to the device.

Watching a few of the micro:bit-related talks at Bett, we noticed that a lot of the visiting teachers were particularly interested in learning how to start off with the micro:bit. We’d recommend checking out the BBC’s collection of starter guides, while our exa.foundation regularly runs events exploring the ways that micro:bits can be used in classrooms.

Discovering the Micro:bit Foundation

While the micro:bit started out as a UK-based project, it’s soon going to be expanding hugely. Back in October 2016, the BBC turned over all rights to the micro:bit to the Micro:bit Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation designed to bring the micro:bit to the entire world.

In a fantastic keynote speech from the Bett Arena, Micro:bit Foundation CEO Zach Shelby explained their goals in more detail. The micro:bit has already had an incredible effect in classrooms across the UK, with 87% of children finding Computing more interesting once the device was introduced, while classrooms saw a major sea change, with a 70% increase in the number of girls considering Computing.

As such, there’s really no doubt that the micro:bit has a major effect where it’s introduced. The Micro:bit Foundation’s goal is to bring this effect to as many as possible - in the speech, they aimed at bringing micro:bit to 100 million children, teachers and parents across the world.

While planning and organising a worldwide rollout takes time, the foundation’s already made some great progress. Most recently, they’ve crowdfunded a campaign to bring micro:bit to students across Croatia, and will soon be providing thousands of units to schools across the country to promote Digital Making and Computing as a whole.

There’s definitely more news to come, with the foundation’s mission just starting. We’ll be keeping you updated about the latest developments as they happen - stay tuned!