BBC flagship Make it Digital initiative to give every year 7 child in UK a ‘Micro Bit’ programmable hardware device with a Nordic Bluetooth Smart wireless chip
Mar 16, 2015
Oslo, Norway 2015/03/16 - Nordic Semiconductor today announces that it is an official partner of the BBC’s flagship ‘Make it Digital’ initiative that aims to inspire a new generation with digital technology and will give every year 7 (11-12 year old) school child in the UK a programmable hardware coding device – a million devices in total – that will include a Nordic Semiconductor Bluetooth® Smart (formerly known as Bluetooth low energy) wireless chip on-board supplied by Nordic as part of its role as a design, manufacture, and distribution partner to the initiative.
Launched last Thursday (March 12) in London, Make it Digital is a major UK-wide initiative that strives to get people truly excited about digital creativity and inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology. Its stated aim is to inspire audiences young and old through world-class TV, radio, and online content, and focus on helping younger audiences discover their creative potential and take their first steps.
“BBC Make it Digital could help digital creativity become as familiar and fundamental as writing,” says BBC Director-General, Tony Hall. “Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future.”
Nicknamed the ‘Micro Bit’ as a working title, the BBC has partnered with over 25 organizations to create a small programmable hardware device that includes a Nordic Bluetooth Smart wireless chip on-board.
With the Micro Bit the BBC says it hopes to transform a new generation from being passive consumers of technology to creators and innovators in the digital world by helping younger children to start learning basic coding and programming. This, it is hoped, will act as a springboard for further learning and future transitioning to more advanced programming platforms like the open-source Arduino, Galileo, Kano, and Raspberry Pi with which the Micro Bit will be compatible (along with other Micro Bits).
In format the Micro Bit will be a small, standalone, wearable device with an LED display that children can program in a number of ways using entry-level coding by simply plugging into a computer.
The BBC says the Micro Bit is still in development and that it will become available from autumn this year.
“Traditionally there have been very significant barriers to entry when it comes to young people getting involved with genuine technology development,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. “But with the advent of modern smartphones, tablets and apps there has been major shift towards making technology easier and simpler to use in general: not just for users – but also for developers. And this opens up the door to young people and all their creativity too if they have the right basic skills. That’s why we are proud to be a partner of the BBC Make it Digital initiative."