The micro:bit! Finally it’s here. We’ve heard murmurings about this device over the last year, as it’s been in serious development—and with such a massive distribution project for schools, one can imagine it was quite an undertaking for all involved.
This new item is mainly being offered by the BBC and a multitude of partners—and thanks to them, when kids all over the UK go to class today, they may be noticing micro:bits everywhere they look. We often talk about different ways to get kids interested in the STEM curriculum—and wow, talk about a way to light students up with attention—kids in the UK are holding these new devices in their hot little hands just as tightly as they can! This is an item they value, which bodes well for some wonderful learning opportunities.
The device was just formally launched, and is also going to be available on MyMiniFactory, where they will be offering a multitude of different fun 3D printing projects for students, spanning from binary watches to compasses to micro:bit thermometers.
Just handed out to a million 7th graders across the UK yesterday, the micro:bit is a multi-faceted device indeed, with 25 LED lights flashing messages, it allows for coding and creating, with programmable buttons for playing games or even manipulating songs on a playlist. It can even detect motion, act as a compass, and interact with other WiFi devices, thanks to a Bluetooth connection. You can also connect it easily to a PC with a USB device.
The little computer is small enough to fit in a pocket and is meant to work as an educational device—but it’s obviously going to offer a lot of fun too. The micro:bit was created in a major project that includes 28 different organizations, including MyMiniFactory. Most of the children receiving them are 11-12 years old. The micro:bits are free for all students receiving them.
Considering these are expected to be a huge hit with kids, the BBC has partnered with MyMiniFactory to allow for numerous offerings to accentuate the credit card sized microcontroller. All of the projects should be fun and fairly easy, and are available for free download.
“Anyone is free to contribute their own micro:bit 3D printing projects to MyMiniFactory so that others can share in the fun!” states the MyMiniFactory team.
MyMiniFactory is working from their end regarding the micro:bit to show how 3D printing and open source design can be used to add to micro:bit along with encouraging innovation in the younger ages, as well as allowing them to make many cool products.
“We will be hosting versions of a case for the micro:bit on our platform that students will be able to print themselves in the classroom,” states MyMiniFactory, in regards to one of the offered projects. “We will also be hosting competitions and campaigns encouraging school kids to engage with CAD software and 3D printing.”
Sharing the fun with others is as simple as clicking on the ‘share’ button. The models are very well explained, with descriptions of each project, items needed, and then for projects like the Game Bit, users can look forward to full instructions, lots of colorful images, and a full tutorial.
With projects such as a case for the micro: bit, 3D printing time is as short as 30 minutes, and with something of that size, classrooms can load multiple files in one build, offering small volume batches of items.
Kids in the UK must think they’ve just hit the jackpot, all in the name of education. The micro:bit is great for messages, games, and more. The idea is to connect and create–and we can’t wait to see what comes from all of the project ideas out there, especially as MyMiniFactory sparks off huge ideas for innovation in middle-school age students in the UK.