What is micro:bit?
The micro:bit is a small handheld device designed specifically to make programming accessible and straight forward to teach and learn. It enables beginners to learn programming with instant practical results using the 25 LED matrix screen, buttons and on-board sensors which consequently makes it very engaging.
The micro:bit was designed by an extensive partnership including the BBC, Microsoft, Samsung and ScienceScope an accessible introduction to coding for school students across the UK. The partnership gave one device to every year 7 student or equivalent in the UK from the 2015-2016 academic year.
Since the release of the micro:bit in 2016 the Micro:bit Educational Foundation has been established with the support of the founding partners to oversee the worldwide growth the micro:bit. To learn more about the foundation you can visit their website micro:bit.org.
How does it work?
The micro:bit offers a range of on board functionality including 2 push buttons, a 25 LED matrix, an accelerometer and a compass.
As standard the micro:bit has five 4mm I/O rings that can be connected to using 4mm banana plugs, crocodile clips and nuts and bolts.
A limitation of the I/O rings is that there are only 3 inputs and outputs, power and ground. As a result this can limit the amount of components and accessories that can be connected. The micro:bit has what is known as an edge connector which offers a multitude of extra analogue and digital inputs and outputs as well as spi, i2c and serial ports.
How to program the micro:bit
Block editor is perhaps the most commonly used coding environment for the micro:bit. It offers block puzzle building and a simulator for testing your code as you go.
The block editor coding environment can be found on the makecode website. Alternatively there are apps available for Apple and Android devices.
The first steps lessons will guide you through the coding environment.
The Dr Bit software helps beginners to learn to code by coding using plain English sentences. As a result this helps with understanding of how code works and helps improve logical thinking which is vital when it comes to programming.
Dr Bit uses scenarios such as traffic lights, bedrooms and greenhouses to give a visual representation of how the micro:bit can be used in everyday life to either solve problems or create systems of control.
All of our explorer lessons also use Dr Bit and have full instructions.
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