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The Highly Awarded Micro:Bit is Taking Education by Storm

The micro:bit foundation has won the Tech for Teachers - 2018 award, for the second consecutive time. This is a prestigious award that focuses on classroom impact, innovation, teaching and learning, value for money and long-term potential. The judges are teachers, leaders, consultants and writers with valuable experience of the secondary education sector [1] [2]. This award was presented at British Educational Training and Technology Show (BETT) 2019 in London.

The computing category judge Terry Freedman said

“Being able to create something that is an actual object with your own code makes this device not only exciting, but potentially a great introduction to other areas, such as the internet of things” [3] [2].

The BBC micro:bit is a revolutionary embedded system for helping students of all age groups learn programming and build a wide variety of projects. It is a collaborative project of leading organisations such as: BBC, ARM, Microsoft, Lancaster University, British Council, Institute of Engineering & Technology, Farnell Element14, NXP, Samsung and Amazon among others [4] [5]. It consists of an ARM microprocessor, Bluetooth, Radio, 25 LED Matrix, Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Light Sensor, Temperature Sensor, Push Buttons, USB interface, PWM Outputs, Banana/Crocodile Connectors, Edge Connectors, Analog Inputs, up to 17 GPIOs and the very useful I2C, SPI capability that lets you talk to an endless array of devices and sensors [6] [7].It can be programmed in Blocks, JavaScript, MicroPython or C/C++ (mbed platform) [6] [7]. The latest iOS language Swift can also be used to interact with the micro:bit [8].

The micro:bit was a winner of the 2016 British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) award for Education [9]. The BIMA Awards are the longest standing and most prestigious digital awards in the UK. These awards represent the pinnacle of the digital revolution. To win a BIMA award is a prestigious honour and earmarks your organisation as one of an elite few moving the game on and the digital economy forward.

In 2017, the BBC micro:bit won the World Summit Award in the category of Learning and Education [10]. WSA has been initiated in 2003 in the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS). It contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals Agenda by recognizing local digital content with an impact on society, demonstrating the richness and diversity of innovative applications. These awards are conducted by International Center for New Media (ICNM), an Austrian non-profit and financed by the European Union for Citizens Programme. The WSA has over 180 countries involved [11].

 Micro:bit won the Edtech 50 award for 2018 [12]. The Edtech50 awards were launched by Edtech UK and Jisc at a House of Lords reception. These awards are administered by The Education Foundation, a leading organisation that supports positive change in Britain’s education system, it has various leaders from academia as well as the industry. The foundation is actively involved in policy, research, conferences, summits and corporate partnerships. [13]

 In 2018, the BBC micro:bit won The Grand Digital Computer Race at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park (where Alan Turing led the famous codebreaking operations during WW2). The competition had a calculator and 7 computers spanning 8 decades of computing history. The winner was 9 year old Connie of Christ the Sower Ecumenical Primary School in Milton Keynes who used the BBC micro:bit to find numbers in the Fibonacci sequence in 15 seconds. The competition was between Facit, WITCH, a PDP-8, an Apple II, a BBC Micro, a PC with Windows 98, a BBC micro:bit and an iPhone 6s (that used Siri voice commands) [14] [15].

 The BBC micro:bit was among four others to have won the Global Grand Prize for the 2018 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC). There were more than 1500 global registrants from all around the world [16] [17]. The Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) is the flagship initiative of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). Awards are over one million dollars in prizes each year to Inclusive Innovators: entrepreneurs around the world that are using technology to reinvent the future of work.





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