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BBC’s student-friendly programmable computer Micro:bit all set to go global

BBC Micro:bit
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Since its inception, the BBC Micro:Bit has been a huge success. The tiny computer is being used by more than one million children, and is a core part of computing education in the UK. It has even attracted the support of Samsung, Microsoft, and ARM, who assisted in the device’s development. Now, it’s about to go global.

The BBC Micro:bit is an ARM-powered, matchbox-sixed computer designed to be used in a classroom environment. Launched earlier this year in March, it was created to help bridge the computing skills gap and inspire more children to take up coding. It allows the user to develop applications in the Python, TouchDevelop, Blockly, and JavaScript programming languages. It was also provided free of charge to every Year 7 pupil in the United Kingdom. It can be bought for £13 ($16) from Pimoroni.

In a statement, the BBC said,


The reaction from children and from a great many teachers has been overwhelming. Since launching in March this year, users have visited the website over 13 million times, used the code simulator nearly 10 million times and compiled code onto their devices around two million times.

BBC Learning, which is responsible for the development of the Micro:bit, has decided to spin off the device into its own not-for-profit organization, called the Micro:bit Educational Foundation. This organization has been tasked with pushing the Micro:bit into new markets, and also with ensuring the device has an ongoing legacy.

Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, explains that the Micro:bit was never meant to be a “flash in the pan.” The Micro:bit Educational Foundation has been established to foster the development of maker culture, offering low-cost computing to people who would not normally engage in such projects. Now, the money made from the board will go towards keeping the seven-person company up and running, allowing it to focus on expanding sales of the Micro:bit to other countries.


According to Foundation chief Zach Shelby, the organization is looking to expand availability of the Micro:bit across Europe this year. Currently, it is working on translating its coding tools into Dutch and Norwegian. It will also target the North American and Chinese markets next year, depending on its upgraded hardware to entice buyers.

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