Guide to the BBC micro:bit

One of our favourite products at Cool Components is the BBC micro:bit. Here’s our comprehensive guide to the micro:bit, and some exciting projects you can create with it.

The BBC micro:bit

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology. Designed with the aim of making learning and teaching computing fun, the BBC micro:bit is a collaboration between 29 partners, and one of the BBC’s largest initiatives in recent times.

In the 1980’s, the BBC Micro introduced a generation of children to computing for the first time, and now the micro:bit aims to replicate this success, and develop children’s skills in science, technology, and engineering.

The BBC micro:bit can be used to create all sorts of cool projects, from robots to musical instruments – what you can do with the micro:bit is only limited by your imagination and willingness to learn.

Writing code for you micro:bit couldn’t be easier, and you don’t need any extra software. From any web browser you can code in a variety of languages, including: Javascript, Python, and Scratch.

Features

  • 25 red LEDs you can use to, flash messages, invent digital stories, and create games.
  • Use the micro:bit as a games controller, or pause and skip songs on a playlist, with the two programmable buttons.
  • On-board motion detector which detects movement, and can communicate with other devices, letting them know you’re on the go. 
  • A built-in compass which senses the direction you’re facing

micro:bit in practice

Research conducted by Kings College London show the great results a micro:bit can achieve in the classroom:

  • 90% of students said the micro:bit made them realise anyone can code
  • 86% of students said the micro:bit made computer science more interesting
  • 70% more girls said they’d choose Computer Science as a subject after using the micro:bit
  • 85% of teachers indicated the micro:bit made ICT/Computer Science more interesting for students

The feedback given from teachers about the BBC micro:bit further enhances it’s reputation as a great education tool. In Kings College London’s research, half of teachers who used the micro:bit in the classroom said they now feel more confident as a teacher, particularly for those who weren’t previously comfortable teaching Computing. Lorena Jones, from New Westminster Secondary School in Canada, said, “Both students and teachers loved the micro:bit activities. The teacher said she had never seen her kids so engaged.”

Ideas

Here's some fun project ideas to get you started:

Create a text messaging program: http://microbit.org/en/2017-06-01-will-txting/

Combine the BBC micro:bit with some 3D prints: https://www.myminifactory.com/category/bbc-micro-bit

Bluetooth controlled microbot: https://www.kitronik.co.uk/blog/build-microbot-hex-buggy

Hopefully you now know the BBC micro:bit better, and you’ll be inspired to create something yourself!

Check out our full BBC micro:bit range here!

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