micro:bit at ISTE 2017 by a 4th grader

Zane demonstrating

My name is Zane. I am 9 years old and going to 4th grade in Austin, Texas. I love technology a lot. Especially if it involves computer programming.

I was introduced to micro:bit last year, when my dad brought home a small cardboard box with the device, battery pack, and USB cord. I “borrowed” the box and went to the website written on the box (microbit.org), pressed "Let's Code" and started with the easiest editor: PXT (Java Script Blocks Editor). I started getting more advanced by coding with code kingdoms and python.

I became a big fan and presented micro:bit at my school for the science fair in February, and iPadpalooza in June. IPadpalooza is a learning festival and a celebration of the cultural-shift the iPads have brought about in education and the world. Most recently, I presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

Zane being filmed

This year's ISTE was held in San Antonio, Texas. I had the opportunity to participate in the Interactive Playground in the micro:bit section, together with Robyn, a high school student presenter, and the Trashbots team. I got to explain what micro:bit is, its capabilities, and do some hands on programming. For about four hours, a stream of educators came through our section. I presented some of my programs, such as Traffic Light where micro:bit controls 3 LEDs: red, amber and green. This was a good example of expansion. I also made a program on the spot that made micro:bit say Hello ISTE. Why Hello? I did Hello because I wanted to show that programing the micro:bit is very easy. The attendees were asking all sorts of questions such as: What is the micro:bit? Is programming the micro:bit hard? what languages are supported? How to get the expansions? How much does is cost? They liked holding the micro:bit and looking at all its components. They were impressed by how small and light it was. I met people from all over the world: from Japan, Canada, and from many USA states. I even saw my Education Technology teacher from my school! At one point, the ISTE TV crew came in and interviewed me. I got to talk about the micro:bit on ISTE TV!

ISTE is not an ordinary conference, it is a worldwide conference. It is huge. It covered many floors of the vast exhibit center. It was a big deal. I was very happy to be part of this event. I was most happy talking about micro:bit to so many people. For me, going to ISTE, changes everything - like me writing my very first blog, this one!