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Dublin: 20 °C Thursday 28 May, 2020

The BBC will give every 11-year-old in the UK this coding device

More than one million devices will be handed out in an attempt to address a “major skills shortage” in the UK.

A prototype photo of the Micro Bit, which will be given to every 11-year-old child in the UK.
A prototype photo of the Micro Bit, which will be given to every 11-year-old child in the UK.
Image: BBC

THE BBC HAS launched a project which will see every 11-year-old in the UK receive a small coding device for free.

The Micro Bit, which is based on the BBC Micro which appeared in UK classrooms back in the 80s, is a small, wearable device with an LED display, and is designed to help children learn basic coding and programming.

It’s a standalone, entry-level coding device designed to allow kids to pick up, plug into a computer and begin coding. More than one million devices will be distributed.

The aim is to help children grasp the concepts of technology and computing, which helps develop analytical and problem-solving strategies, and help “transform a generation from passive consumers of technology to creators and innovators in the digital world.”

The Micro Bit can communicate with other similar devices such as the Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other Micro Bit devices.

It will also see popular BBC shows like EastEnders and Doctor Who releasing new material focused on coding while a BBC Two drama based on Grand Theft Auto is also in the works.

The project is in response to what the BBC describe as a “significant skills shortage” in the UK.

The UK is facing a significant skills shortage with 1.4m digital professionals needed over the next five years. BBC Make it Digital will capture the spirit of the BBC Micro, which helped Britain get to grips with the first wave of personal computers in the 1980s, for the digital age. It will put digital creativity in the spotlight like never before, and help build the nation’s digital skills, through an ambitious range of new programmes, partnerships and projects.

The device is still in development but will be distributed across the UK in the autumn.

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Quinton O'Reilly

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