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IET Partners with BBC on Make it Digital campaign

Microbit image  The BBC have spent the last 12 months working on their Make it Digital initiative which aims to address the need for more digital professionals.

With the UK facing a significant skills shortage, and an extra 1.4m digital professionals needed over the next five years, Make it Digital is a national campaign to inspire a new generation of coders and programmers.

The full campaign's plans include a season of programmes and online activity involving big BBC names such as Doctor Who, EastEnders and Children in Need, partnerships with over 30 major UK organisations and formal education activities and events. The BBC are also running a Make it Digital Traineeship which will offer 5,000 young unemployed people a nine-week digital traineeship including time at the world-renowned BBC Academy.

IET Chief Executive Nigel Fine said: “The digital world is evolving all the time - and with it, the demand for more young people with coding and digital skills. It’s great to be supporting BBC Make it Digital to promote the world of digital creativity and inspire the next generation to get involved with what is fast becoming one of our most exciting and creative industries.”

BBC micro:bit

As part of the initiative, the BBC has partnered with 29 organisations including the IET to create a small programmable hardware device, nicknamed a micro:bit. This device will help younger children to start learning basic coding and programming, acting as a springboard for further learning and more advanced products like Arduino, Galileo, Kano and Raspberry Pi.

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that can be coded, customised and controlled to bring digital ideas, games and apps to life. Measuring 4cm by 5cm, and designed to be fun and easy to use, the micro:bit can create anything from games and animations to scrolling stories at school, at home and on the go - all that is needed is imagination and creativity!

Teachers of Computer Science in schools across the UK received their micro:bits in February 2016 and now Year 7 students and their equivalents (aged 11-12) will start receiving their very own individual micro:bits from 22nd March 2016.

Introducing the BBC micro:bit: an IET perspective

IET involvement

The IET education team have been working on this exciting project in four main areas:

1. Teaching resources - production of a full suite of resources, each with accompanying video-related material from IET.tv. Find out more and download the resources.

2. Faraday Challenge Days - 129 events taking place between January and June 2016 aimed at Year 7 students and their equivalents throughout the whole of the UK. These off-timetable STEM activity days aim to encourage creativity, team working, problem solving and the application of the technology to real-life situations. See all host schools and league tables.  

3. Teacher CPD - CPD sessions run in partnership with the National STEM Centre and D&T Association. 

4. Regional events - 6 drop-in style events around the UK where the general public will be invited to come along and have a go at coding as they make their way through our 3 fun zones of collaborate, compete and just4fun!

All of these events aim to promote this coding device and encourage its use both in school and at home as the students will be able to keep their coding device and take it home to carry on the learning with their parents.

The 'BBC micro:bit Quick Start Guide for Teachers' from Hodder Education is now available to explain how to use your BBC micro:bit.