Today I hosted a small review of the Micro:bit, a small programmable device that the BBC has committed to providing to every 11 and 12 year old in the UK.   The basic model costs only $10 and considering what you can do with it, it’s a real bargain.

The board itself has two buttons, an accelerometer, a compass, a USB port, a bluetooth antennae, and a number of I/O connectors to attach your own inputs and outputs.   It also sports a series of LED’s that, while basic, allow you to write words and draw pictures that can be displayed on the device.

That’s the hardware itself.  The Micro:bit can be told what to do through block programming.   There are about six different apps for doing the programming, and they’re all pretty similar.   Just different flavors of the same principle.   So don’t stress about which one to use, just pick one and dive in.   It’s pretty traditional block programming, but what’s nice is that you can immediately load up your code into a virtual Micro:bit and see how it works.  If you’re happy with it, all you need to do is download the .hex file, plug in the Micro:bit via USB and drag the file over to it.   Voila!

It’s a remarkably simple device, but can do some very sophisticated things.   Students can use it to create pedometers, countdown timers, magic 8 balls, games, and much much more.   Considering the cost, it really is a phenomenal piece of technology.  I gave mine to Aiden and he’s been having a blast with it, to the point that when friends come over, they choose programming it over playing on the Xbox!

Enjoy the video review below, and let me know what you think! Don’t forget, I broadcast all of these live!   If you want to hang out during the recording, just follow me on Facebook, Twitter, uStream, YouTube or Periscope.   When I’m live, I’m broadcasting to all of those platforms at the same time!   And if you have any requests for future reviews, leave me a comment and I’ll put it into the queue.

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