There are a wide variety of offers throughout the Netherlands which combine professional development for teachers with micro:bit hardware, accessories and in some cases, entry to contests and events.
Professional development provider and training company IT Randsteden discovered micro:bit in 2017 and worked with Microsoft Netherlands and Premier Farnell to bring the device to teachers and students, with the aim to increase teacher digital literacy throughout the country. As a result, The Netherlands was one of the first countries to begin using micro:bit outside of the UK.
IT Randsteden developed a programme incorporating micro:bit hardware with training by exploring what went well in the UK during the original roll-out. The goal was to address teachers’ lack of confidence, which can create barriers to entry, by providing workshops with basic introductory lessons to computational thinking, abstraction and using the micro:bit.
Introductory training courses are hugely popular and most teachers are keen to expand the initial discovery with follow-up training. Two sessions are on offer: micro:bit basic training (which includes class sets of 10 devices) and micro:bit advanced training which explores the device in more depth and also includes hardware.
Training materials and support
- Micro:bit basic training Teachers take part in 3-hour workshops working through 10 micro:bit challenges
- Microsoft MakeCode 14-week curriculum materials translated into Dutch complement original basic lessons and activities
- On-site training at school is also made available
Inspired by the Lego League, IT Randsteden launched the STEAM Cup in 2018 which now runs annually as a national competition:
- The first competition took place in 2018 under the theme of sustainability; 55 schools entered the event which took place at the national science museum
- The event in 2019 saw 70 schools enter and annual growth is expected as increased sponsorship is developed
- STEAM cup 2020 takes place in April on the theme of ‘smart cities’
In the town of Dokkum a unique partnership between local libraries, authorities and Kabelnoord (telecoms company) was developed to encourage children to visit their library and explore new technology.
On their 10th birthday, children in the local area receive an invitation from their Mayor to a party at their local library. At this event, children receive their own micro:bit and can participate workshops and activities to get to know their new device.
Local libraries also host ‘micro:bit meet ups’ where children can gather to create innovations, do activities and play games with their micro:bits. The libraries programme has reached more than 1000 children and there are plans to roll out similar initiatives in the Hague and in 11 surrounding cities.
Impact and results
IT Randsteden are the largest reseller of micro:bit devices and professional development in the Netherlands and have trained over 2500 Dutch teachers since 2017, with over 25,000 micro:bits sold.