The BBC micro:bit, the pocket sized coding device created by the BBC and 29 partner organisations, is now available for the public to purchase through selected distributors and partner organisations. This is set to drastically increase the use of the device in schools and homes across the UK and play a fundamental role in helping to bridge the UK digital skills gap as the nation gets coding.
I would just like to start off by saying that I am not an educational expert or a technological guru, I am just a practicing class teacher with a very keen interest in technology. It is my view that by encouraging technology in the classroom we can give our pupils learning that is more current, engaging and relatable. One of the ways I have done that is with the Raspberry Pi.
Today sees up to one million BBC micro:bits being delivered free to every Year 7 student in England and Wales, Year 8 student in Northern Ireland and S1 student in Scotland. BBC micro:bit, launched as part of the BBC Make it Digital initiative, is a pocket-sized codeable computer that allows young people to get creative with technology, whatever their level of experience, and aims to help develop a new generation of digital pioneers.
Samsung have launched a companion app for the BBC micro:bit. Available via Google Play, the resource will connect the BBC micro:bit to smartphones and tablets, allowing young people to code on the go. By being introduced to connected technology and the Internet of Things, pupils will be able to control their smartphones or tablets via the micro:bit and come up with fun applications, such as building their own ‘selfie’ remote controller. Samsung has also developed micro:bit projects for parents and teachers.
Children love programming. A simple statement, but one that my experience as a Primary school teacher and a Computing subject leader has provided me with a glut of evidence to support. Visual programming applications are commonplace in the vast majority of Primary schools, but what about those pupils who are eager to take the step and cross the divide into the world of text based coding. This can be a huge step and, due to the pedantic syntax requirements of text-based code, can risk disengaging pupils. However, by using a Raspberry Pi and Minecraft, we can offer them an engaging introduction to text programming.
The BBC has launched a new project in order to boost digital skills amongst British secondary school students. The corporation will be giving away one million Micro Bit mini-computers as part of the Make It Digital campaign to all 11-year-old pupils starting secondary school in the autumn term. The initiative will also include a season of coding-based programmes and activities.
Raspberry Pi is becoming more and more popular in education every day, but how can unfamiliar teachers begin using this technology in their work? Laura Dixon - Raspberry Pi expert, head of Computing at Royal High School and Computing At School author - was kind enough to answer some questions on the matter.
We asked Laura Dixon a series of questions in order to illustrate how teachers can go about implementing Raspberry Pi in their classrooms.
With so much talk about the raspberry pi - which we feel does have its merits, but is not always the most efficient solution - we felt that we had to write an article about arduino and why it’s a great way to get started with robots, electronics and computer science.
The Arduino board is designed for artists and hobbyists – in other words people who are not necessarily roboticists or ‘geeky’ by nature, but are interested in making things that move, interactive models and projects that react to the environment and have some degree of sophistication and elegance.
Much has been said about the Raspberry Pi and its usefulness as a tool for learning. The long waiting lists and competitive price of the Pi have created widespread euphoria. However, as all the excitement dies down, and people begin to receive their Pi, many critics have appeared asking how useful is the Pi?
Many critics and blog posts are comparing it to the iPad, which is futile as they are polar opposites. The Pi was developed as a tool to invoke learning, not as a wow piece of technology. The Pi is for content creation as opposed to content consumption. It is not the physical Pi that is the exciting technology - you don’t purchase it because of its processor speed, graphics ability or even its size - its fundamental strength is as a vehicle to develop students' computing competence and understanding.
Photo credit: Roo Reynolds
The purpose of this post is to explore some of the technology that myself and some of my colleagues are hoping to implement in our school over the next year. We have set up an ICT working group with two aims. The first is to explore cost effective ways of using technology to create engaging and creative uses of ICT. The second is to explore new technology and see what potential it may have for SEN learners.
The discussion started with an introduction to some of the ideas we have come across in the last couple of months.