Micro:bit launches first update to popular coding device

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

The BBC micro:bit pocket-sized computer has unveiled its first major update since appearing four years ago.

The affordable device was launched in 2016 with the aim of helping children learn to code and better understand how technology works.

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation says that the mini-computer has now supported as estimated 25 million children in 60 countries around the world.

An updated version will launch in November, at the same price as the original. Updates include a built-in speaker and microphone, hardware upgrades that will make it possible to explore, understand, and experiment with artificial intelligence and machine learning, double the amount of flash storage, four times the speed, and eight times the RAM.

All the existing lessons and code for the original micro:bit will be compatible with the new device.

When the micro:bit launched in the UK, free devices were given to every year 7 student as part of the BBC’s Make it Digital programme. The device is now commonly used in both the key stage 2 and 3 classrooms.

The foundation has also donated micro:bits to the likes of the National Centre for Computing Education’s schools lending scheme in England, the Digital Xtra Fund in Scotland, and the Ulster Universities and Libraries NI in Northern Ireland. During the Covid-19 lockdown, 5,000 micro:bits were offered to families in the UK.

Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, said: “The purpose of the micro:bit is to help children unlock their creative potential and learn how to shape the world around them. Learning coding and computational thinking can enhance their life chances in the 21st century.”


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