Every UK 11-year-old is getting a BBC micro-computer

Go to school, get a cool tech gadget

Back in the 1980s the BBC made a huge push to get a cheap, affordable computer into as many UK schools as possible with the BBC Micro. The initiative was a huge success, with almost 80% of schools buying one of the machines and introducing children within schools to their first taste at programming. The BBC is now up to it again and trying to get cheap computers into the hands of children with the introduction of the BBC Micro Bit.

So, what is the BBC Micro Bit? Well, much like the Raspberry Pi, the Micro Bit is a micro-PC. The device features 25 coloured LED lights which can be programmed to light up in set patterns, an accelerometer, a compass, a Bluetooth transmitter, two physical buttons and a micro USB port. For such a tiny device, it has a lot packed into it.

The BBC is planning to give one of these to every Year 7 student in the UK, which for non-UK folk means 11-year-old kids. The device can programmed by students to run two player games, used as a two button wired or wireless controller as well as a whole host of other functions,

The device, alongside a series of lesson plans, will begin rolling out across the UK this October. The hope is that giving children in schools an early taste of programming will encourage them to, in their own time, move on to programming for devices like the Raspberry Pi.

So, would you have enjoyed having your own tiny PC to program when you were eleven?

Laura Dale