Earlier this year the BBC unveiled an ambitious plan to provide tiny, programmable computing devices to a million students in the UK. The goal had been to provide the micro:bit systems to 11-year-old students this fall… but that didn’t happen.

Now the BBC says it’s on track to get micro:bit units to teachers before Christmas, with student units arriving in early 2016.

micro bit

The delay is due to a problem with the power supply on some of the devices that had been manufactured.

The micro:bit doesn’t look like a traditional PC, and it really isn’t. You can’t plug in a keyboard, mouse and display and use it to surf the web or watch videos. But you can program it to do different things.

Kids can learn to code by developing simple games or other programs that use the LED lights, compass, magnetometer, accelerometer, or Bluetooth.

The micro:bit measures about 2″ x 1.6″ and features a micro USB port and two physical buttons, as well as a reset button. Much like a Raspberry Pi, the micro:bit is designed as an inexpensive tool to get kids interested in developing software and hardware projects. The difference is that the micro:bit will be distributed for free, while a Raspberry Pi computer sells for about $35… although it’s also a much more versatile device.

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6 replies on “BBC micro:bit miniPCs will roll out to UK students in 2016”

  1. Probably make them forever disinterested in circuitry and seriously pursue plumbing, which they probably can earn more doing anyway.

  2. Most stupid thing ever.
    Like giving a SOIC microcontroller chip to a kid –
    now, go out and play with it.

  3. give kids the real thing. they can handle it. they did ever there so called home computers in the 70’ies and 80’ies (all these sinclairs, commodores, tandy’s, etc).
    so 30 years later so called professional institutions and schools are offering silier stuff to their pupils than ever. … and call this “innovative” and the “great shot in it education* by the way. no need to ask who are the “retarded” ones. certainly not the kids.

    1. Well, at least you can learn OOP on this while you learned BASIC and GOTO at the ’70-ies. But I agree, a Cortex-M4, a few megs of RAM and Flash a 128×64 OLED and 5-6 buttons would have made it a much more interesting thing…

  4. I’m old enough to have been one of the first owners of the original, first generation BBC Micro (Model B), in all its 32KB glory. There were production delays back then too. I had to wait several months before it arrived in the mail (my first and probably my only ever pre-order 🙂

    It was a great machine for its day, no doubt.

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