BBC recruits Doctor Who to help teach kids how to code

HiFive Inventor
(Image credit: BBC)

The BBC is hoping to encourage children into learning about computing by getting one of its most recognisable characters to help promote coding.

The BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor is a new coding kit that’s designed to help teach kids how to program devices.

The lessons in the kit, which is developed by Tynker, a firm which designs creative coding platforms for school kids, and BBC Learning, follow stories set in the world of Doctor Who and are narrated by Jodie Whittaker, who portrays the current incarnation of the Doctor in the popular science fiction series.

Reverse the polarity

The kit is designed to introduce kids to code for the Internet of Things (IoT). It features an IoT-enabled hand-shaped device that the kids will learn to program for various tasks. 

Inside it is a SiFive FE310 RISC-V microcontroller and an ESP32 Solo module that gives it WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. The lessons will teach students how to read data from the various on-board sensors and display results of the coding tasks on the embedded LED-matrix display.

Image of the HiFive Inventor Kit

(Image credit: BBC Learning)

The HiFive Inventor also includes edge connectors to accommodate a slew of additional sensors and devices. The kit comes with a set of speakers, an illuminated USB cable for power and programming, and alligator clips to connect the speaker or other add-ons to the HiFive Inventor board.

The BBC says that the lessons in the kit have been designed to cater to learners of all ages and experience. There’s block coding for early learners and Python programming lessons for advanced learners.

The BBC HiFive Inventor costs $74.95 and will be available to order through BBC Shop, Amazon, Pimoroni, and other retailers starting November 23.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.