Micro:bit Small-board Computer Launches in U.S. & Canada

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Micro:bit Small-board Computer Launches in U.S. & Canada to Inspire Next Generation of Students

The Micro:bit Foundation aims to put the device into the hands of 2 million children in the U.S. & Canada by 2020

micro:bit

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation announced today the micro:bit is now available to schools, clubs and families across the U.S. and Canada. micro:bitはクレジットカードサイズのプログラム可能なデバイスで、次世代の子どもたちがコンピュータープログラミングを通じ、基本的なクリティカルシンキング・スキル(批判的思考力)を身につけられるようにデザインされています。

The goal of the micro:bit is to give educators and parents an easy-to-use tool to teach the basics of computer programming and inspire students to imagine, invent and innovate, said Hal Speed, Head of North America at the Micro:bit Foundation. Our goal is to put this device into the hands of 2 million elementary and middle school students in the U.S. and Canada by 2020, in an effort to ensure all children have the opportunity to learn these valuable skills. In the digital age, computer science is a foundational skill vital for every student to learn. It’s a skill that applies to many different subjects, including math, science, art and music.

A recent study conducted by Gallup found that while 90 percent of parents in the U.S. want their child to learn computer science, only 40 percent of schools offer computer programming or coding classes. Additionally, the diversity problem in STEM fields starts in elementary school. Girls, students of color and lower-income students are all less likely to have access to computer science learning in K-12 schools.

schoolchildren working with microbit

The Micro:bit Foundation hopes to address these disparities by integrating the micro:bit device into elementary and middle school curricula throughout the U.S. and Canada. As part of this effort, the Foundation has partnered with a number of organizations that specialize in the development of curricula including, Project Lead The Way in the U.S. and Fair Chance Learning in Canada. Microsoft has also developed its own curriculum for the micro:bit and a wide-range of lesson plans are available on the micro:bit website

The micro:bit is incredibly powerful, not only for getting students excited about computer science, but also for teaching the critical thinking skills necessary to solve complex problems, said Heather Koleszar, an elementary STEAM teacher at the Union School District in San Jose that recently participated in a micro:bit pilot study.

The pilot study focused on pinpointing the most effective ways to integrate the micro:bit into existing curricula and on identifying new opportunities for teachers and educators to use the device to fulfill their digital education goals.

code blocks

micro:bitは、単純な図や文字を表示するための25個のLED、2つのプログラムできるボタンスイッチ、各種センサーを搭載し、 Bluetoothを介して他のデバイスと接続することができます。 Additionally, the pins on the edge of the device allow for easy expansion to other hardware modules and broadens the creative options for students.

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

The Micro:bit Foundation aims to put the device in the hands of 2 million children across the U.S. and Canada by 2020 and hopes to eventually reach more than 100 million kids around the world. The device starts at $14.95 USD and authorized resellers include Adafruit, CanaKit, Fair Chance Learning, Fry’s, MCM Electronics, Micro Center, SparkFun and others. For more information about the micro:bit or to find the nearest reseller, visit the Foundation resellers list.

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For those attending, the micro:bit will be on display at ISTE 2017 in booth 3241.

About the Micro:bit Educational Foundation

Micro:bit財団は、世界中の子どもたちが学校やクラブ、家庭において技術や発明で創造性を発揮することを可能にします。 2016年にはイギリスの7年生(11歳〜12歳)の生徒すべてにmicro:bitが与えられましたが、現在は世界中で使われるようになってきています。 BBCとパートナー企業の素晴らしいチームから始まったMicro:bit財団は、国際的な非営利団体(NPO)です。

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