Micro:bit News Roundup

Micro:bit News Roundup

It has been quite a week for the Micro:bit Foundation and the BBC micro:bit. Yesterday the Foundation announced three new Founding partners to join the current six. The British Council, Amazon and Lancaster University will be joining the BBC, Nominet, ARM, IET, Microsoft and Samsung. See the full list of our partner ecosystem.

“The British Council is delighted to be part of this ground-breaking initiative that creates opportunities for young people to access vital 21st century skills. With the ability to build new advances to engage learners around the world this is a genuinely new kind of partnership, bringing the best of creative, technical and entrepreneurial expertise together to unlock potential to learn and innovate.” Maureen McDonagh, Global Partnerships Director

At the same time the Foundation with element 14, the distributor of the BBC micro:bit, announced resellers in six new countries. This means educational organisations, teachers, kids, parents and makers will now be able to locally purchase the BBC micro:bit in Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Netherlands and Finland. The micro:bit is now available in thirty-two countries, with resellers in eleven. The full list of resellers, including those in these new countries, can be found on the microbit.org reseller page.

Last week Croatian Makers, a project of IRIM, a non-profit run by a Croatian philanthropist, set up a crowd funding campaign to raise $60,000 to get micro:bits into three hundred and sixty Croatian primary schools for STEM education. In under two days they raised $90,000, enough for five hundred schools, which quickly rose to $135,000, almost a full roll-out. The total now stands at an amazing $261,213 raised by 2086 backers allowing a national-wide deployment. The micro:bits have already started rolling into Croatia and IRIM have joined us as our Country Partner covering Croatia and the entire Adriadic region.

This week, the Foundation confirmed the sponsorship of 1,000 micro:bits to help the RAF train STEM Ambassadors and set up micro:bit coding clubs around the country over the next year. The project has been set up by Tablet Academy, Foundation training partner, and RAF Cosford. The Tablet Academy will train RAF recruits as STEM Ambassadors and give them a micro:bit on their graduation. The clubs will offer the opportunity for children of both military families and the local community to learn coding skills using the microbit.

Our team is at the Bett Show 2017, the premier UK Educational Trade Show, all this week. The first incredible day was yesterday, Wednesday 25 January, and the micro:bit stands quickly filled with people keen to find out more about the amazing little computer. The BBC and the IET supported the Foundation at our four micro:bit pods in the Bett Show's STEAM Village. The Foundation showed off micro:bit devices, accessories from various partners and brilliant inventions including the wonderful winner of the Christmas Challenge. We had a music-making tower, projects for teachers, seminars about coding the microbit and its Bluetooth capabilities, talks from the Foundation and, of course, a Dalek. The STEAM Village was not the only place at the show to see the micro:bit, our various partners were there too, so the micro:bit was on display with Microsoft, the Bloodhound "Race For The Line" team, Kitronik, the Tablet Academy and Sciencescope. The Bett Show draws a large international crowd, so it was also a chance for the Foundation to meet with its keen new and potential partners from Sweden, India, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Finland, Iceland and many other countries. The rest of the week is going to be just exciting with a big highlight coming on Saturday with a keynote in the large Bett Arena from Zach Shelby, the Foundation CEO. Full details of the week here.

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