With technology revolutionizing the lives of millions worldwide, the power of programming is obvious. Every line of code that is developed today has the capability to improve our lives in more ways than one. To capitalize on this, BBC is planning to rollout a BBC Micro Computer (also known as the Micro Bit) to over 1 million students across UK which will enable them to learn the basics of coding.
The Idea behind BBC Micro Computer
BBC’s Micro Computer is aimed at introducing children to the world of programming at an age where they are capable to grasp ideas and develop skills that can modernize our lives. Part of BBC’s Make it Digital initiative, the BBC Micro Computer is scheduled to roll out by Oct 2015. Apart from garnering the ability of students to think digitally, the project moreover aims to inform, educate and entertain them.
BBC is partnering with several software and hardware vendors to design the Micro Computers for over 1 million school going kids. The BBC Micro Computer measures 4x5cm and has an array of programmable LED lights, 2 AA batteries, an in-built motion sensor and accelerometer and several input/output ports that enable connection to other devices. The device can be programmed using a computer or a mobile device and can be connected to bigger displays through Bluetooth technology.
The History Behind
In the early 1980s, BBC had revealed the first version of the Micro Computer. It incorporated some excellent technological features that were uncommon and unheard of in those times. A large number of people were introduced to computers and computing technology for the first time through the Micro Computer.
The comparatively low priced computers enabled thousands of people to acquire and hone their programming skills. The popularity and success of BBC Micro Computer led to the flourishing of the video games industry as people could build their own programs and their primary choice was to develop video games. The Micro Computer worked exceptionally well as a personal computer and experienced immense success. And to bank on that success, BBC has relaunched the Micro Computer, albeit with modern cutting edge technology and a great vision for the future.
Before the initial rollout on October, BBC plans to launch an online simulator that will accustom the teachers with the nuances of the device. This will in turn help the students get well versed with the BBC Micro Computer when they receive it.
Instead of partnering with the government to distribute the device, BBC intends to get together with teachers, other students and parents and educate them about the working and benefits of the device. BBC is certain that the Micro Computer will inspire more children to develop interest in computing and develop a career in the field of computing technology.
Through this project, BBC aims to enable children to express themselves digitally through coding. It believes that children will use the BBC Micro Computer to perform an assortment of tasks; program it as a video game controller, develop animations or even build robots. With its ability to connect to a wide range of devices to perform myriad functions, BBC Micro Computer might just as well become a cornerstone of the Internet of Things.
After rolling out 1 million devices, BBC plans to explore other ways of distributing the device to talented children. Over time, it will be licensed and made available commercially. With children having a major role to play in building the future of a society, this initiative is sure to transform how the world lives, digitally.
Rajiv is one of the founders of Nimblechapps, a web and android game development company based out of India. At Nimblechapps he overlooks delivery, product development and often lends a hand to the in house development team. His personal interest include Travel, Food and Motorcycling.