by Devin Flynn (writing & research)

micro:bit is an open source hardware that was designed by BBC in partnership with many companies including Microsoft. It functions as a mini-programmable computer that can be coded on a computer, and uploaded to the micro:bit to perform various tasks. It was created to introduce computer education into UK classrooms, making it an easy tool for students to learn and code. It provides opportunities for young students to be introduced to coding, and gain hands-on experience with both coding itself, and the functionality of coding in the modern world. 

micro:bit offers coding opportunities with both Microsoft MakeCode and Python Editor. For students new to coding, MakeCode offers easy to understand block based coding, that allows students to gain a better understanding of the learning process. Additionally, there are many tutorials that are in place that students can use to gain a better understanding of coding and its use with micro:bit. 

Distance Learning Opportunities:

While I know you’re thinking “Yes, this tool sounds great but how am I supposed to use it during the current education situation with distance learning? We can’t deliver a micro:bit to every student or expect them to buy their own”. You are absolutely right! While there are limitations that would make it hard to use micro:bit to the full extent, it is still a tool that you can use virtually. 

Through micro:bit classroom, you can set up classes for students to participate in coding challenges. When using MakeCode, a micro:bit simulator is present in the coding platform, this allows you to visualize what it will look like to code specific sequences to a micro:bit, similar to as if you were in the physical classroom. For example, using this simulator along with the music function, you could teach students music lessons while integrating coding. Have the students then create a melody of their own to play back during class.  

micro:bit offers a whole world of possibilities for integrating technology into the classroom, both virtual and physical. The virtual micro:bit system is accessible to all for free.

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