The BBC micro:bit, a pocket-sized codeable computer that allows young people to get creative with technology, whatever their level of experience, was launched last year as part of the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative. It aimed to help develop a new generation of digital pioneers – with up to one million BBC micro:bits delivered for free to every year 7 student in England and Wales, year 8 student in Northern Ireland and S1 student in Scotland.
In its first year, the BBC micro:bit has changed the attitudes amongst UK students and teachers towards coding and ICT/computing. For last year’s Year 7 students (or equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland) who used the BBC micro:bit:
- 90% agree that BBC micro:bit helped to show them that anyone can code
- 88% agree that BBC micro:bit helped them to see that coding isn’t as difficult as they thought it was
- 45% said they would definitely do ICT/Computer Science as a subject option in the future, up from 36% before they used BBC micro:bit. This was even more accentuated for girls, increasing from 23% before they used BBC micro:bit to 39% afterwards, a 70% increase.
And, amongst teachers:
- 75% of teachers have or are intending to use the BBC micro:bit by the end of the summer term
- 85% agree that it has made ICT/Computer Science more enjoyable for their students
- 80% agree that it helped students to see that coding wasn’t as difficult as they thought it would be
- Half of teachers who’ve used the BBC micro:bit say that they now feel more confident as a teacher, particularly those who say they’re not very confident in teaching Computing.