Why Does The BBC Micro:Bit Make A Great STEM Gift This Xmas

Why Does The BBC Micro:Bit Make A Great STEM Gift This Xmas

What is the BBC micro:bit – The BBC MicroBit (also referred to as BBC micro:bit) is an open source hardware ARM-based embedded system designed by the BBC for use in computer education in the UK. The BBC micro:bit was first announced on the launch of BBC’s Make It Digital campaign on 12 March 2015 with the intent of delivering 1 million devices to pupils in the UK. The BBC micro:bit is a small but powerful board which is being used around the world to get kids of all ages started with their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning journey.

So let’s take a quick look at what’s really packed into the BBC micro:bit –

  1. The micro:bit is half the size of a credit card and has an ARM Cortex-M0 processor
  2. The micro:bit comes along with an accelerometer, light intensity, temperature and magnetometer sensors
  3. The micro:bit offers Bluetooth and USB connectivity allowing you to create projects with multiple micro:bit interacting with each other
  4. Also embedded into the micro:bit front face is a display consisting of 25 LEDs and two programmable buttons

The micro:bit can be powered by either USB or an external battery pack. The device inputs and outputs are through five ring connectors that form part of a larger 23-pin edge connector. As a pocket-sized computer the BBC micro:bit is approximately 70 times smaller and 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computers used in schools.

The BBC micro:bit has 25 red LED lights that can flash eye catching messages and be used to create challenging games. The two programmable buttons on the micro:bit can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. The accelerometer on the micro:bit can detect motion and knows when you’re on the move so you can use it to create a pedometer or even an interactive game that detects motion. The built-in compass knows which direction you’re heading in and it can use a low energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the Internet.

What can you do with a BBC micro:bit – What one can do with a BBC micro:bit is only limited by one’s imagination. The BBC micro:bit is a powerful micro-controller packed with many different sensors that can be programmed using blocks based programming approaches, Javascript or even Python. The power of the BBC micro:bit actually is not just due to the fact that it comes with a whole heap of in-built sensors but more so due to the fact that the board is designed to be extended and used to perform robotics and electronics. See some of the sample projects you can create using the BBC micro:bit.

Smart Robot Car built around the BBC micro:bit

Step Counter with a BBC micro:bit

What is an ecosystem – What really makes the BBC micro:bit standout is the ecosystem of partners that have created (And continue to) an enormous amount of extensions to extend the capability of the BBC micro:bit. These extensions allow you to use the BBC micro:bit to create interactive games (e.g. handheld consoles), electronics projects, robotics projects and much…much more. So prepare to be challenged (with interesting challenges) with the BBC micro:bit and the vast ecosystem that surrounds it.

In biological terms an ecosystem is defined as, ” A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment “. So what about Digital Ecosystems. Here’s how Gartner Research defines a digital ecosystem: “A digital ecosystem is an interdependent group of enterprises, people and/or things that share standardized digital platforms for a mutually beneficial purpose, such as commercial gain, innovation or common interest. Digital ecosystems enable you to interact with customers, partners, adjacent industries ‒ and even your competition.” At OzToyLib we would like to argue that in the world of the BBC micro:bit a digital ecosystem would include some or all of the following elements –

  1. Learning content that caters to learning across different levels i.e. K-12, teens and even adults
  2. Learning content that gives us the ability to leverage the BBC micro:bit for learning across different areas i.e. coding, electronics, robotics, etc.
  3. Partners providing add-on kits (electronics boards, adapters, etc.) that extend the capabilities of the BBC micro:bit
  4. Magazines that provide readers an opportunity to explore and learn more about the BBC micro:bit
  5. Forums, code clubs that provide kids of all ages the opportunity to engage with other learners, enthusiasts

The BBC micro:bit ticks all of these boxes to a large extent. There is large amount of learning material available for the BBC micro:bit offering learning across fundamentals of coding, electronics, robotics, etc. There is a large partner ecosystem that offers electronics, coding, making, robotics kits that cater to learning around the BBC micro:bit. The best part of the BBC micro:bit is the ability to use the same board to get started with fundamentals of coding but then over time scale up to learning electronics and the eventually start dabbling with robotics, etc.

Coding, Electronics, Robotics with the BBC micro:bit – If you are looking for education content around the BBC micro:bit go no further, we have you covered. Check out our learning resources at KidzCanCode.com. You will find learning across each of the following areas at KidzCanCode.com .

  1. Learning to code with the BBC micro:bit
  2. Exploring fundamentals of electronics with the BBC micro:bit
  3. Exploring fundamentals of robotics with the BBC micro:bit
Introduction to coding concepts with the BBC micro:bit – www.kidzcancode.com
Introduction to electronics with the BBC micro:bit – www.kidzcancode.com
Introduction to robotics with the BBC micro:bit – www.kidzcancode.com

We have loads of learning content at KidzCanCode.com catering to kids of all ages i.e. 9-99. Whether you are keen to learn how to code, keen to explore electronics, explore the world of micropython and electronics, explore the world of robotics or just work on some challenging engineering projects, we have you all covered. Head over to KidzCanCode.com and get started with your STEM learning journey now!!!!

So if you are keen on keeping up with the Digital revolution head and help your kids gain the skills to move from being digital consumers to digital creators head over to KidzCanCode.com and checkout the 70+ learning courses we have on offer. Get yourself and your kids started on their own STEM learning journey right away!!!!!!

At KidzCanCode.com we offer FREE access to various STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, Math) development courses at KidzCanCode.com . At KidzCanCode.com you will find courses on Scratch, BBC Micro:Bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, fundamentals and advanced Robotics, fundamentals and advanced Electronics, Web development, Mobile application development, Python development, 3D modelling, etc.

BBC micro:bit smart car

If you are looking for a BBC micro:bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, starter kits, electronics kits, robotics kits including other STEM learning kits we would recommend you drop by our online store here – <OzToyLib>. Hopefully you have enjoyed the post. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future tutorials drop us a note at – learning at hack2 dot live.

Hopefully you have enjoyed the article. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future tutorials drop us a note at – learning at hack2 dot live.

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