BBC micro:bit hits milestone as 2m are distributed globally

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The Micro:bit Educational Foundation has announced the manufacture and distribution of the 2 millionth BBC micro:bit.

The Foundation has taken the BBC micro:bit global and the device is now available in over 50 countries - there are national projects in Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Iceland, Uruguay and Singapore under way.

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized codeable computer that has been developed to help young people get creative with technology, whatever their level of experience. Launched by BBC Learning in 2016 as part of the corporation's, Make it Digital initiative, it is intended to help develop a new generation of digital developers and up to one million micro:bits have been delivered for free to every year 7 student in England and Wales, year 8 student in Northern Ireland and S1 student in Scotland.

The micro:bit was inspired by the BBC Micro and its impact on home and school computing in the early 1980’s of which only 1.5 million were produced. The BBC Micro was a UK-focused initiative but, through the Foundation, the BBC micro:bit is now available internationally with a range of projects helping youngsters get creative with technology.

For example,

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced £10m in funding for the British Council to provide children in the Western Balkans region - over 4,500 schools in all – with access to a digital education.
  • The Danish national broadcaster DR is distributing 65,000 micro:bits as part of a three year programme, using them in classrooms to help transform Danish Year 4 students.
  • The British Council has used the micro:bit to improve student's skills and confidence as they prepare to enter mainstream schools in Greece. The British Council, in partnership with UNICEF, ran an education programme at the camp to provide quality English language and Life Skills lessons for children ages 12 to 17.

“The Foundation has made a lot of exciting progress since it was launched in 2016,” said Stephen Pattison, Micro:bit Educational Foundation chair and also vice president of public affairs at Arm. “This is a fantastic milestone, but it is only the beginning as we continue to grow the micro:bit’s reach globally to inspire the next generation of tech talent.”

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a not for profit formed in October 2016 by the BBC, Arm, IET and Nominet. Other founding partners are Microsoft, Samsung, Lancaster University, Amazon Web Services and the British Council.