7 things you didn't know about the BBC Microbit

Today, every Year 7 student in the UK will receive a BBC micro:bit - a basic mini computer designed to develop their digital skills. Here's everything you need to know about this nifty bit of kit

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1. It looks a bit like this

The BBC micro:bit has been developed by - you guessed it - the BBC and other companies, including Tech Will Save Us. It's proof that good things really do come in small packages - it's 70 times smaller and 18 times faster than the BBC Micro computers that were first used in UK schools in the 1980s. To programme it, connect it to a computer via USB, or to a smartphone or compatible device using Bluetooth.

2. It's completely FREE

That's right - if your child is in Year 7 or the equivalent across the UK, they'll receive a BBC micro:bit in school for free. This is part of the BBC's 'Make It Digital' initiative, aimed at inspiring a new generation to get to grips with technology and coding.

3. It can be coded in loads of different ways

A Tamagotchi-style pocket pet, an electronic fishing game and a pedometer are just a few of the things that the BBC micro:bit can be used to make - but the real aim is to encourage kids to use their imagination and start coding themselves.

4. AND it works with other bits of tech

This pocket-sized mini computer is equipped with LED lights, a motion detector, and programmable buttons. It can be connected to a host of other devices (such as Raspberry Pi), sensors, kits and objects, so as your child's knowledge about coding grows, their BBC micro:bit grows with them.

5. You can have a go too

Kids are allowed to take it home with them, so if your child is lucky enough to receive one, you can have a fiddle too! Have a look over here for instructions on how the BBC micro:bit works - then have a go at making the Electro Fish game with your child. Here's an exclusive Mumsnet template to get you started.

6. It's designed to be as inclusive as possible

Getting girls interested in coding and tech is a key aim of the Make It Digital campaign, and the BBC micro:bit is gender-neutral to reflect this. It's also extremely accessible - the specially-designed coding platform caters to all levels of coding knowledge, from total beginner to tech-savvy.

7. Even if your child doesn't qualify, they can still get involved

You don't have to be 12 to have a bash at coding - Technology Will Save Us have a range of DIY making and coding kits available for children aged 4-14, so everyone can have a bash. There's an exclusive discount for Mumsnetters - 20% off DIY kits plus free shipping with the code HELLOMUMS.

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Last updated: about 2 years ago