Analysis

Putting technology into the hands of children

22nd March 2016
Joe Bush

BBC Micro:Bit is a device that has been launched today which places a pocket sized computer in the hands of one million year 7 children across the UK to encourage them to get hands-on and creative with technology. The device features motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, which is to be given free to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK.

The device is a collaboration between 29 partners and is the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative in 30 years, with the aim of inspiring digital creativity and developing a new generation of tech pioneers, to help address a critical skills shortage in the technology sector in the UK.

“We happily give children paint brushes when they’re young, with no experience - it should be exactly the same with technology,” said Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning. It connects to other devices, sensors, kits and objects, and is a companion to Arduino, Galileo, Kano, littleBits and Raspberry Pi - acting as a springboard to more complex learning.

Technology Will Save Us, a London-based start-up that makes DIY gadget kits for children to make, play and invent with technology, whilst at the same time teaching valuable digital and physical technology skills, led the BBC Micro:Bit’s design, making it accessible and fun in appearance so that children want to explore the limitless possibilities to play with technology, both in the classroom and beyond.

The company also designed and coded the experience that runs on the BBC Micro:Bit when it is first switched on, and created the accompanying online ‘Making Platform’ that enables children to discover projects for their Micro:Bit, following them like recipes to code and create anything from rockets to robots, art installations to musical instruments.

It is estimated that 65% of children in primary schools will be working in jobs that don’t exist yet and Tech Will Save Us believes that initiatives such as the BBC Micro:Bit, along with its kits, are tools to give children opportunities to have fun with technology and invent their own futures.

Later this year Technology Will Save Us will also be launching new products with new kits and online resources that continue the company’s passion for unlocking creativity through technology for kids.

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