CAS community forums - DW - NOV 2015

Nov 22 2015, 13:09 How can I learn about the micro:bit if I don't have a micro:bit yet?

The website is a really good test bed for developing ideas and resources, even in absence of a real micro:bit device.

You can enter and edit code in any of the 3 editors without logging in, and the on-screen simulator is now a very accurate representation of the real micro:bit (indeed all of my resources have been developed first on the simulator, and then finally tested on a micro:bit device before releasing them).

If you wish to use input pins, you can press on the P0 P1 or P2 pads on the simulator and the code will detect these.

The on screen simulator also works on any modern smart phone or tablet, so everyone really already has a micro:bit in their pocket. This includes integration of the accelerometer and compass, so you can use the ‘on shake’, and other gestures as well as compass bearing if your phone has a built in compass, right there on your phone to build sample resources - shake your phone and your micro:bit code will detect the shake, tilt your phone and the micro:bit code will detect the tilt.

Also, due to a major website upgrade this week, it is now possible to save and load programs to/from local files, so even in absence of an authorisation code or a login account, users can get the full coding experience with the simulator and share programs via memory stick or dropbox for example, in the interim.

Please do make good use of the on screen simulator in the interim period, it is a great way to develop and test ideas and resources.

I’ve had good experiences doing early-engagement with some year 7’s and teachers using the on screen simulator to try out some of the existing resources and learn the basics of the languages, leading up to the mass deployment of actual devices.

As an aside, my ‘day job’ is developing software for electronic products. I can honestly say that every electronic product I have developed has had most of the software developed on a simulator first, and loading onto the real device happened late in the project due to hardware still being finalised.

Simulation is such a very important aspect of real product development, it would be really exciting to see this way of working surfacing in educational programmes, as it is completely representative of how things work in industry. The software always becomes available before the hardware, we always simulate things so that we can make progress!

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Imported: 17 Oct 2016

Original Author: David Whale (permission to reuse here granted by author)

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