The Micro: bit Educational Foundation (MEF), the organization behind the BBC micro: bit computer, has announced plans to help primary school children explore and expand their digital creativity and computing skills.
In partnership with Nominet and the Scottish government, 57,000 BBC micro: bit devices will be donated to UK primary schools, alongside teaching resources and online Continuing Professional Development courses.
The project also aims to help the long-term digital skills crisis, which, organizers say, is resulting in the UK losing out on £ 63bn in GDP per year.
Support from the Scottish government will see every primary school in Scotland receive 20 devices, while in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, 22,000 devices will be prioritized for schools that are most in need of additional support. Delivery of devices will begin from April onwards.
Digital literacy and computational thinking are critically important not only to the future of our society, but to the future of children who will one day shape that society – Gareth Stockdale, CEO of MEF
Having launched in 2016, today there are currently six million BBC micro: bits being used by children all over the world, including most UK secondary schools, with growing adoption and demand from primary schools to also teach eight – 11-year-olds with the devices.
While learning digital skills from a young age can improve life chances, research underpinning the project from MEF and Nominet found that 61% of UK primary teachers who teach computing have no background in the subject, and three in five also cite lack of resources as a barrier. MEF hopes that by providing the devices and resources to schools and teachers, coding will become more accessible and confidently taught.
Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the Micro: Bit Educational Foundation, said: “Digital literacy and computational thinking are critically important not only to the future of our society, but to the future of children who will one day shape that society. . . We’ve seen fantastic adoption in secondary schools, and we’re delighted to support and empower even more teachers to unlock children’s creative potential at the primary level. ”
Roll-out of the micro: bits will also complement a three-phase research program around improving digital literacy.
Interested teachers and schools can visit the Micro: bit Educational Foundation website for more information.
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