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User guide

The micro:bit Python Editor

Supporting students learning text-based coding with the BBC micro:bit

Why learn Python on the micro:bit?

Python is an excellent first text-based language to learn. Its instructions and syntax are based on natural language, making code easy to read, understand and modify.

As well as being widely used in education, it's used in industry, especially in the areas of data science and machine learning. Python is not just used by software developers, but also by people working in fields as diverse as medicine, physics and finance.

Python on the BBC micro:bit brings the benefits of physical computing to students aged 11-14, learning programming fundamentals through text-based coding: immersive, creative experiences for students that help build engagement and knowledge.

Numbered screenshot of the micro:bit Python editor
Try the micro:bit Python Editor

Features for education

Click on the headings below to discover some key features of the micro:bit Python Editor designed to overcome some common barriers, boost creativity and make the most of your coding time in class:

Try the micro:bit Python Editor

Overcoming barriers to learning

Click on the headings below to explore how the micro:bit Python Editor is designed to overcome common barriers to engaging and making progress with text-based coding:

Technical requirements

You just need a web browser to load the editor. Once loaded, it will continue to work, even if your internet connection becomes unstable.

The editor will work on any recent Windows, Mac or Chromebook computer.

If you want to send your code direct to your micro:bit, without downloading it as a HEX file first, you'll need to use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome browsers. Click on 'Send to micro:bit' and follow the instructions on screen.

Saving work

Students can save their work locally, or in shared storage, as HEX project files which can be copied direct to a micro:bit or re-loaded in the editor. Code can also be saved as Python text files which can also be reloaded in the editor, either by dragging and dropping or using the 'Open' button.

You can also use the micro:bit Python Editor in live coding lessons in person, or remotely, using micro:bit classroom. This lets you save a whole class's code as one Word document and also as a file to resume work on the same projects at a later date. It's totally free of charge and no logins or passwords are needed.

Support for localisation

Although Python itself is in English, learning to code in text-based languages is made more accessible when students can read explanations and use a code editor with an interface in their own language.

The micro:bit Python editor's buttons, Reference content and Ideas projects have been translated into several languages including French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Click on the cog icon and then select 'Language':

Screenshot of clicking on settings cog icon to change the language

Try it out

Test the editor for yourself right now. Browse the Reference and Ideas sections and see how quickly you and your students get inspired.

This short video will help you get coding in Python in seconds:

Open the micro:bit Python Editor