Micro:bit Small-board Computer Lands in Japan

The Micro:bit Foundation aims to deliver BBC micro:bits to 300,000 Japanese children by 2020

microbit

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation has announced the BBC micro:bit will be available to schools, clubs and families across Japan from Saturday 5 August 2017. The micro:bit is a credit card-sized, programmable device designed to teach the next generation of children fundamental critical thinking skills through computer programming.

The Foundation's goal is to deliver the micro:bit to 300,000 Japanese children by 2020

The Foundation will be working with Switch Education, who promote STEM education in Japan and have Head office's in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, and Maki Komuro, their Representative Director, to start programming education in Japan using the micro:bit. As well as launching the micro:bit, the Foundation will be making its website and programming environment available in Japanese.

Website and programming environment supports Japanese

Zach Shelby, the Microbit Foundation CEO, is visiting Japan for the launch and to give a keynote lecture on the Main Stage at the Maker Faire Tokyo, 2017. The keynote is on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 14:00 to 15:20 and Shelby will talk about the microbit and the Foundation's aims for computer science education. After the keynote Shelby will be part of a panel discussion with Professor Kazuhiro Abe, a leading expert in programming education in Japan, and Mr. Komuro to discuss Japan's programming education, what the challenges are and how the micro:bit can help. "We will enable a whole new generation of young innovators in Japan thanks to the introduction of physical computing in school, clubs and at home with micro:bit" says Zach.

Japanese version of micro:bit coding environment

The micro:bit's sale price in Japan is planned to be 2,160 yen (tax included) and Switch Education and Odyssey Communications Inc will act as the first resellers. For more information about the micro:bit or to find the nearest reseller, visit the Foundation resellers list.

About the BBC micro:bit and the Micro:bit Educational Foundation

The micro:bit includes 25 LEDs to display simple images and text, two programmable buttons, a variety of sensors and can connect to other devices via Bluetooth. Additionally, the pins on the edge of the device allow for easy expansion to other hardware modules and broadens the device's creative potential.

Students can program the device using JavaScript Blocks, which allows them to switch back and forth between block-based and text-based coding, Python and the popular block-based coding language Scratch. The micro:bit Scratch extension is available at scratchx.org.

The Micro:bit Foundation is enabling children around the world to get creative with technology and invent in school, in clubs and at home. A micro:bit was given to every year 7 student in the UK in 2016 and is now starting to be used around the world. Started by the BBC and a great team of partners, the Micro:bit Foundation is an international nonprofit organization.