Every once in awhile there is something new that hits the marketplace that has the chance to make teaching coding more accessible to all students.
For the past few years, education technology folks have been talking up how amazing the hourofcode.org site can be for use with students but that interface lacked a physical component for students to interact with.
Enter, the BBC Micro:bit! This low cost ($15) device has a similar coding interface as the hour of code site and allows students to create a coded physical object. The bit includes bluetooth, a compass, an accelerometer, a fully programmable screen, and can be attached to countless other sensors to make it a fully functional machine!
I think the best testimonial I have directly heard was from a middle school teacher who handed a student the Micro:bit with no instruction and told her to do something cool. He told me that about 5 mins later that student was jumping up and down yelling “I got it!” and proceeded to spend the rest of the hour coding the bit to show her name and then interact when buttons were pressed.
Many of us are just beginning to explore Micro:bit and would love if you helped us explore it as well. This device was handed out to all grade 7 students in the UK and they have created an extensive online community with shared ideas. Oh, and YES, it is Chromebook friendly!!!
Here are some additional resources for you:
" target="_blank" rel="noopener">John Phillips (@bcgeek): John is an Educational Technology Consultant at Berrien RESA in Berrien Springs, MI. He is also the director of MACUL SIGEE. He can be reached on his blog at techtalk.berrienresa.org.