BBC-funded Make It Digital campaign will provide UK kids with free Micro Bit coding computer

By Shawn Knight ยท 5 replies
Mar 12, 2015
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  1. bbc micro bit microsoft samsung obama arm raspberry pi coding raspberry pi foundation barclays python microcomputer techhire minicomputer touch develop make it digital

    While programs like President Obama’s new TechHire Initiative aim to boost tech skills as people prepare to enter the workforce, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is hoping to get students interested in coding at a much earlier age.

    In response to a significant skills shortage, the Make It Digital Campaign will provide every 11-year-old student in the UK with a Micro Bit microcomputer which can be used to learn the basics of coding. The standalone ARM-based computer is described as a stripped-down version of a Raspberry Pi that was built in collaboration with ARM, Barclays, Microsoft, Samsung and the Raspberry Pi Foundation. In total, the BBC plans to hand out a million Micro Bits free of charge.

    bbc micro bit microsoft samsung obama arm raspberry pi coding raspberry pi foundation barclays python microcomputer techhire minicomputer touch develop make it digital

    The Micro Bit isn’t seen as a competitor to similar devices. Instead, the broadcaster hopes it’ll serve as a springboard to more powerful and complex platforms although it will be able to communicate with other boards via Bluetooth.

    The BBC plans to launch the program in September and says the Micro Bit will be compatible with C++, Python and Touch Develop programming languages.

    The Make It Digital program will also include a nine-week apprenticeship for 5,000 young and unemployed citizens to help boost their tech skills by teaching them how to do things such as build a website and make short videos for the Internet. The top-performing trainees will be offered an apprenticeship at Radio 1, we’re told.

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,869   +2,218

    - sounds kind of *****ic, and I reckon it costs more, payment for the stripping.

    Smells with lots of bribes that went into pockets of the officials to approve of such a dubious undertaking...

    Whoever came up with the moronic idea of stripping down a Raspberry Pi, must have had all his 10 dirty little fingers into that government pie.

    And just how much a child's education is worth, for crying out loud, to think that $35 is too much of an investment. This is an insult in so many ways.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  3. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,634   +396

    BBC funded, aka UK resident TV license fee funded...
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  4. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Guru Posts: 343   +289

    Uhm... this would mean that they'd be putting roughly 240,000 people's licence fee payments directly to this scheme, which might be a bit much, considering they have a vast host of services they offer (and some that they're saying they now can't afford - like broadcasting BBC3/4 to TVs).

    Isn't it a great thing that they're doing something? Rather than getting pissed off that they're not doing more? Are you always pissed off when a company gives something away but it doesn't go as far as you'd like it to?

    The BBC is also (largely) free from Gov control and intervention. They may be backed by statute, but they're independent.

    Final point: you can't honestly be thinking that they're literally buying Pis, then stripping them back? Right?
    OortCloud likes this.
  5. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,869   +2,218

    I believe they ordered this thing from someone whose R&D expenses and the final bill far exceeded any benefit of trying to make it cheaper, ending it with a far more expensive and useless device. Simply going for Raspberry Pi would have saved them tons of money and make lots of kids happy. Such idiocy happens all the time, when someone who makes the big decision gets his big pay under the table.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  6. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Addict Posts: 188   +73

    The BBC have a history of this too.

    They worked in partnership with Acorn to produce the BBC Micro way back in the 80s and a series of TV programs etc to go with it.

    Personally I felt it was a very successful venture which got an awful lot of kids and adults into computers and coding, including myself. So I think it's a great idea.

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