BBC unleashes Micro Bit to usher in new generation of coders

Micro Bit

Following some considerable delay, the BBC has now launched its Raspberry Pi-style computer board to a generation of school kids across the UK.

Around a million BBC Micro Bit computers are now being distributed to every child in Year 7 (or the equivalent) across the UK in an effort to further spark interest in coding at a young age.

In what the Beeb is calling its most ambitious education project in 30 years – since the BBC Micro home computer back in the eighties – the boards are being delivered over the next few weeks to both children in schools. They are also going to those who are being home-schooled, and they will be the pupil's property to own for life.

Kids will be able to code and produce simple games or programs with the tiny device using provided code editors, and indeed they'll be able to code on the move with apps like Samsung's Android effort, which will allow the Micro Bit to hook up with their phones. That means they'll be able to pull off tricks like using a button on the board as a remote control to trigger selfies, for example.

Reams of resources

The BBC is promising to provide a load of resources and tutorials online to help students and teachers alike realise the full potential of the device. An additional batch of Micro Bits are also being sent out to teachers (on top of a number of computers which have already been supplied to them).

In a statement, Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said that BBC Micro Bit, "Has the potential to be a seminal piece of British innovation, helping this generation to be the coders, programmers and digital pioneers of the future."

It was originally expected to emerge at the end of last year, but was delayed due to issues with manufacturing the power supply.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).