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BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:26 am
by adlambert
Just read today's announcement that the BBC are giving 1,000,000 free Micro Bit computers to schoolkids.

Looks along the lines of an Arduino Uno with a small LED matrix. I think there needs to be some software available for Raspian soonest. Is anybody working on some?

I can't seem to find out if it is possible to buy one. Does anyone know where to get one from?

Edit - add link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31834927

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:31 am
by RaTTuS
Yeah I read that also
no idea where you can get one or what it is ...

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:33 am
by adlambert
RaTTuS wrote:Yeah I read that also
no idea where you can get one or what it is ...
Available September.

Also I should have read the article more carefully:

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is helping to develop learning resources for it and the BBC is being careful not to repeat the mistakes of the BBC Microcomputer launch, which angered rivals such as Sinclair.


Touch Develop, Python and C++ I like it already.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:35 am
by RaTTuS

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:39 am
by adlambert
"Raspberry Pi Foundation
Lance Howarth CEO, Raspberry Pi Foundation “We’re really pleased to see this announcement from the BBC, and we’re very happy to support the BBC Make It Digital initiative. Getting kids excited about computing and making is crucial; it’s central to the mission of Raspberry Pi. It’s great to see the BBC and other organisations coming together to tackle this challenge. BBC Make It Digital will add to the range of affordable and accessible tools for kids everywhere. We look forward to developing educational resources to support the initiative.”"

Great news!

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:47 am
by pluggy
I applaud inspiring kids, by whatever means. I've worked in education for a fair proportion of my working life and seen swathes of kids turned off IT as a career because all they did in school with computers was learn to drive Microsoft bl**dy Office......

I was inspired by the BBC and the micros that were around in the early 80's (even if I was past school age by then).

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:07 pm
by PeterO
Eerrrrrr Is this the same BBC that said it couldn't have a tie up with the PI due to broadcasting regulation and competition rules ?
PeterO

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:09 pm
by scruss
adlambert wrote:Just read today's announcement that the BBC are giving 1,000,000 free Micro Bit computers to schoolkids.

Looks along the lines of an Arduino Uno with a small LED matrix.
I don't think that's the final device, or if it is, they're hiding the clever bit. The µc on top is an ATMega32u4, as found in certain Arduinos. It's probably handling the USB and other IO. Since ARM is one of the project partners, I'd expect to see some class of their chip on board.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:23 pm
by BMS Doug
The BBC will be giving away mini-computers to 11-year-olds across the country as part of its push to make the UK more digital.
One million Micro Bits - a stripped-down computer similar to a Raspberry Pi - will be given to all pupils starting secondary school in the autumn term.
BBC Learning's Gareth Stockdale, who is developing the device, said: "The BBC's role is to bring focus to the issue, and then we will withdraw from the market."
After the first million Micro Bits go out to schools, there will be no more.
Ouch. This seems too limited, there will only be 1million made and they will be given to the 11 year olds starting secondary school this year, I'm worried that within the month they will all have been stolen or smashed by older pupils.

And there is no plan to sustain the development so that the pupils the next year will also have similar equipment, so very nice for those who get one, sucks to be you for everyone else?

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:42 pm
by scotty101
Even worse, I suspect that they will sit on a shelf for years because the teachers are too terrified to use them.
I'm of the BBC master generation and only 1 of my teachers knew anything about them despite the fact we had one per classroom.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:44 pm
by AdeV73
I've no idea how much it costs to bring a miniature board like this to market these days - the Foundatiojn probably has a pretty good idea.... - but it seems to me that the BBC are shooting themselves in the foot here. Why not give 1/2 as much as they'll be paying to have a new board developed to the Pi Foundation - to deliver the same number of boards to schools; with on-going support, etc.

I read the article on the BBC website, and I have to say, it smacks of an attempt to try to kill off the Pi in British education. The fact they'll only make 1 million units (what's that, enough for 1 each for every school pupil in one acadamic year?), then no more, just cements the idea that they're playing silly buggers.

Shame on the BBC.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:56 pm
by adlambert
BMS Doug wrote: And there is no plan to sustain the development so that the pupils the next year will also have similar
Well there is no plan that has been communicated in the announcements.

No mention of a larger production run in order that a supporting community can get involved, more economy of scale etc, but logically I would say that must be an option.

If it is as the picture shows, then an Arduino + LED shield would do the same job. What makes it different is having the BBC behind it.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:58 pm
by adlambert
PeterO wrote:Eerrrrrr Is this the same BBC that said it couldn't have a tie up with the PI due to broadcasting regulation and competition rules ?
PeterO
I am guessing that this circumvents those rules because it is branded as a BBC device.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:59 pm
by fruitoftheloom
One can look at this many ways, though lack of IT teachers is a worry.

Though giving this device to every UK school child entering Year 7 should create pester power.

If a few more schools support IT because they have to it will be a great step forward.

I can not see this device hurting RPi, Oodroid and other board sales, rather it should encourage more sales.

I belive that this step should be applauded not derided, getting children more aware of what is inside their SmartPhones / Tablets can only lead to better software in the future.

;)

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:02 pm
by BMS Doug
This source article is probably a bit clearer, it looks like the Micro Bit isn't intended as a coding platform but instead as a wearable LED display that the children will be able to plug into a computer and program.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:06 pm
by BMS Doug
adlambert wrote:
BMS Doug wrote: And there is no plan to sustain the development so that the pupils the next year will also have similar
Well there is no plan that has been communicated in the announcements.

No mention of a larger production run in order that a supporting community can get involved, more economy of scale etc, but logically I would say that must be an option.
The News article has the following quote:
BBC Learning's Gareth Stockdale, who is developing the device, said: "The BBC's role is to bring focus to the issue, and then we will withdraw from the market."

After the first million Micro Bits go out to schools, there will be no more.

1 million micro bits and then no more.

I hope that the article is wrong and you are right.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:06 pm
by DougieLawson
BMS Doug wrote:This source article is probably a bit clearer, it looks like the Micro Bit isn't intended as a coding platform but instead as a wearable LED display that the children will be able to plug into a computer and program.
And that's a good use of my £142.50 is it?

The problems will start when someone plugs one into a Raspberry Pi and can't get it work, then posts on here. I can see a lot of stagnant threads since none of the awkward squad (who answer most stuff) will be able to do anything to help.

If someone sends me one, I'll happily support it.

My youngest will be year 11 in Sept so will miss out.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:07 pm
by fruitoftheloom
BMS Doug wrote:This source article is probably a bit clearer, it looks like the Micro Bit isn't intended as a coding platform but instead as a wearable LED display that the children will be able to plug into a computer and program.
Thanks, this should silence the nit-picking and fud :D

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:08 pm
by fruitoftheloom
DougieLawson wrote:
BMS Doug wrote:This source article is probably a bit clearer, it looks like the Micro Bit isn't intended as a coding platform but instead as a wearable LED display that the children will be able to plug into a computer and program.
And that's a good use of my £142.50 is it?

The problems will start when someone plugs one into a Raspberry Pi and can't get it work, then posts on here. I can see a lot of stagnant threads since none of the awkward squad (who answer most stuff) will be able to do anything to help.

If someone sends me one, I'll happily support it.
Well is this supported by the Licence Fee or BBC Trading Arm :?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Worldwide

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:10 pm
by adlambert
It will likely be more about coding than wearing at least for some kids. But yes, those big rings on it look like they are for threading a lace through. Probably not going to work for long without a heavy battery though.

" It will be a standalone, entry-level coding device that allows children to pick it up, plug it into a computer and start creating with it immediately.

It is designed to be a starting point to get younger children interesting in coding so they can move onto other, more complex devices in future
."

I have just noticed that there are 9 formal partners and one of them is Microsoft.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:11 pm
by DougieLawson
fruitoftheloom wrote: Well is this supported by the Licence Fee or BBC Trading Arm :?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Worldwide
BBC Worldwide are going to make an £18M loss next year unless they re-instate their most objectionable luvvie presenter and resurrect their "premier" motoring magazine show. So it probably will be our licence fees.

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:12 pm
by adlambert
fruitoftheloom wrote: Thanks, this should silence the nit-picking and fud :D
Or what some of us call "a discussion".

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:14 pm
by fruitoftheloom
DougieLawson wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote: Well is this supported by the Licence Fee or BBC Trading Arm :?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Worldwide
BBC Worldwide are going to make an £18M loss next year unless they re-instate their most objectionable luvvie presenter and resurrect their "premier" motoring magazine show. So it probably will be our licence fees.
Or maybe it is supported by the partners in this inititive :?:

Nobody knows just speculation :!:

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:17 pm
by BMS Doug
DougieLawson wrote: And that's a good use of my £142.50 is it?
Maybe better than paying Clarkson to punch people for forgetting to arrange his dinner....

I was thinking of the same thing, but I don't mind paying my share of this one, now if I could get out of paying for 95% of the programs they broadcast....
DougieLawson wrote:The problems will start when someone plugs one into a Raspberry Pi and can't get it work, then posts on here. I can see a lot of stagnant threads since none of the awkward squad (who answer most stuff) will be able to do anything to help.

If someone sends me one, I'll happily support it.
Agreed, the limited run and lack of replacement is my main concern, make another million of them and sell them at cost.
(which establishes a cheap baseline price, removes the exclusivity and provides a source of replacements).

Re: BBC Micro Bit

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:40 pm
by cpc464
I pay the BBC to perform activities pursuant to its charter. What is it doing spending my cash on electronics for schools, however laudable. Perhaps I could have a law requiring citizens to give my company cash, which I could then spend on school computers, drumming up business and heightening my profile into the bargain.

Better to have a British computer company do it, or a consortium. This is what ICL was originally for.