Micro:bit Educational Foundation launched

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation has been officially launched to continue the the successful deployment of the BBC micro:bit.

The Foundation will operate as a not for profit company and will build on the BBC’s work to break down barriers to technology and enable young people to improve their digital skills.

The micro:bit was developed as an affordable way to encourage schools and pupils to engage with coding and inspire the next generation of inventors.

Over the last 12 months one million micro:bits have been distributed to school children across the UK, which have been supported by the launch of the micro:bit website and hundreds of learning resources for teachers and pupils.

Initial evaluation shows that users have visited the website more than 13 million times, used the code simulator nearly ten million times and compiled code onto their devices close to two million times.

Additionally, a research report for BBC Learning found that 39 percent of girls who used the BBC micro:bit said they will now choose ICT/computer science as a subject option in the future, compared to just 23 percent before trying out the micro:bit. 90 percent of children also said the BBC micro:bit taught them that anyone can code and 88 percent said it showed them coding is not as difficult as they thought it would be.

The Foundation will now take over from the original BBC micro:bit partnership in a phased transition, ensuring long-term support and expansion of the educational program. It will continue the roll out across UK schools, promoting the use of the micro:bit, as well as offering sponsorship to schools who may struggle to afford the technology.

The micro:bit is also currently being used in Iceland and the Netherlands and the Foundation will look to further expand the micro:bit across Europe and beyond, which will include extensive multilingual project and teaching resources available to encourage creativity and invention with technology at school, in clubs and at home.

The European roll out is currently scheduled for Q4 2016, with further expansion to the US and Asia planned for 2017.

Zach Shelby, chief executive officer, Micro:bit Educational Foundation, said: “The BBC micro:bit is extremely popular with children in the UK and we’re seeing a similar reaction in Iceland where young people are already using it as a trusted tool for their creative ideas.

“Our mission is to ensure that students, teachers and makers in the UK and around the world have long-term access to the micro:bit and get the support and resources that will help them imagine, invent and innovate. For us, this is about putting the micro:bit into the hands of young people everywhere, unlocking the potential to bring great ideas to life quickly.”

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