This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Channel 9.
I've been watching the Micro:bit since it was first available in the UK. Was I a little jealous that the UK had it and I couldn't? Oh yeah...
But now, it's crossed the Pond and is now available for me, you (if you're in the US and Canada) and all your friends, family, schools and clubs!
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation announced today the micro:bit is now available to schools, clubs and families across the U.S. and Canada. The micro:bit is a credit card-sized, programmable device designed to teach the next generation of children fundamental critical thinking skills through computer programming.
Our goal is to put this device into the hands of 2 million students in the U.S. and Canada by 2020
The goal of the micro:bit is to give educators and parents an easy-to-use tool to teach the basics of computer programming and inspire students to imagine, invent and innovate,said Hal Speed, Head of North America at the Micro:bit Foundation.Our goal is to put this device into the hands of 2 million elementary and middle school students in the U.S. and Canada by 2020, in an effort to ensure all children have the opportunity to learn these valuable skills. In the digital age, computer science is a foundational skill vital for every student to learn. It’s a skill that applies to many different subjects, including math, science, art and music.
... As part of this effort, the Foundation has partnered with a number of organizations that specialize in the development of curricula including, Project Lead The Way in the U.S. and Fair Chance Learning in Canada. Microsoft has also developed its own curriculum for the micro:bit and a wide-range of lesson plans are available on the micro:bit website
The micro:bit includes 25 LEDs to display simple images and text, two programmable buttons, a variety of sensors and can connect to other devices via Bluetooth. Additionally, the pins on the edge of the device allow for easy expansion to other hardware modules and broadens the creative options for students.
The micro:bit can be programmed using the popular block-based coding language Scratch. The micro:bit Scratch extension is available at scratchx.org. Students can also program the device using Microsoft MakeCode, which allows them to switch back and forth between block-based and text-based coding.