BBC’s £13 Micro:bit computer now available, lets you learn coding and computing basics

By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read

BBC’s audacious Micro:bit program was launched hoping to make the coding world more appealing and accessible to kids through the Micro:bit, a tiny computer designed to help kids learn the fundamentals of computer science and programming.

The tiny devices measures 4cm x 5cm (1.6 x 2 inches) and is equipped with 25 red LEDs useful for displaying messages and facilitating games, two programmable buttons, one accelerometer, and one magnetometer. Bluetooth LE connectivity is also present, along with a single microUSB slot and five input and output rings.

The Micro:bit was developed by the BBC in partnership with three technology giants: Microsoft, Samsung, and ARM. The BBC is planning to give one million devices to every 11 and 12-year-old student in the UK this October with the aim of making computer science and programming more popular in schools. Thanks to its small size, students will be able to carry Micro:bit between classes and collaborate on assignments.

You can use your BBC micro:bit for all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments – the possibilities are endless. The micro:bit is a handheld, fully programmable computer being given free to every Year 7 or equivalent child across the UK. It’s 70 times smaller and 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computers used in schools in the early 1980s.

As for its price, the Micro:bit costs £13 ($18), with a starter bundle available with a battery pack, USB cable and introductory activities for £15 ($22). If you buy ten Micro:bit computers, you will only pay £140 ($202). There is also a dedicated Micro:bit page from the BBC that offers useful information and tutorials on how to create code, how this computer can help teachers and students, and what kind of applications students can create using it. Who knows, maybe some of the computer engineers Microsoft will recruit in the future will have entered the programming world thanks to Micro:bit.

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