In 2016, the first BBC micro:bit was launched, having been developed by the BBC in partnership with 29 organizations with the intent to transform young people from passive consumers of technology into digital innovators via the power of “coding” for children as young as seven years old. Learning to code was no longer seen as a skill required by a few, but a new life skill needed by many, helping to empower people of all ages.
By the end of 2016, the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, (independent of the BBC and a not-for-profit organisation) was established to continue the micro:bit project internationally.
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation readily acknowledged the transition from passive to active learning would seem daunting to some, and inspiring to others. They worked in collaboration with educators to create curriculum materials, training, and resources, that would empower a young person’s creativity and boost life chances in an equal and purposeful way. In turn, the materials and training supported teachers to develop their own digital skills, helping establish the micro:bit as one of the easiest and most effective active learning tools for digital skills and creativity.
Research has since shown that learning to code and learning digital skills from a young age has encouraged the development of creative thinking, improved problem-solving capabilities (including math), enhanced life chances, and allowed young people to think about the tech they have around them now and what they want the tech of the future to look like.
Next Generation of Innovators
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation’s vision from the start has been to:
“Inspire every child to create their best digital future”
with particular focus on girls and those from disadvantaged groups.
With jobs in “tech” here to stay and with more vacancies than the current cohort of “Digital Natives ” or “Net Generation” can fill, what’s not to be gained from starting the next generation of innovators early, as well as offering a fun way to learn?