Micro:bit – flawed genius?

I have some genuine and hopefully not contentious questions for teachers and anyone with info regarding the strategy behind the BBC Micro:bit roll out.

Very sad to see some of these now appearing on eBay – whilst this was predictable it is a sad state of affairs IMHO.

ebay_scum

I was unclear from the campaign and available information whether the Micro:bits were being given to the students as a personal device or whether they were for the school, but for the children to use. However I do now believe it is the former. This leads me to some questions that I would very much like to find answers for.

  • Is the Micro:bit being given, as a personal device to each student?
  • Are Micro:bit lessons being integrated as part of the curriculum?
  • What happens in September – do next year’s year 7s get a Micro:bit too?

If the answer to the last question is no, if I was the parent of a current year 6 I would be mighty upset right now.

If lessons are not mandated, and the device belongs to the student I cannot see anything other than a significant percentage of them ending up on eBay and in the bottom of drawers across the country.

Every child *should* have the opportunity to learn to code – but not all of them will want to, that to me is obvious.

Am I completely misunderstanding the grand plan?  РI would sincerely love to be told that yes, I am!

I welcome all comments / opinions / replies about this (except the usual auto spam bot ones.)

DP.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Micro:bit – flawed genius?

  1. The microbot is actually a great device but the roll out delays have meant that it is a wasted opportunity.

    We have just received the devices in school and they are to go direct to students. We only have just over half a term to use the device with students (we are keeping the devices in school and giving them to the students at the end of the year or even this would not be possible).

    The original plan was to have the devices at the beginning of the year so we could spend a year working with them and that would have been a bit better, but this is still a one hit wonder.

    With devices being given to the students it will not be possible to use them with next years y7. Realistically it won’t be possible to use them with next years y8 either as how many will still have them / know where they are / remember to bring them to school.

    If they had done what they did with the BBC Micro and give the devices to school then they could have muchore impact.

    Unfortunately I gear this has been a massive waste of time and money due mainly to the logistics and the decision to give the devices directly to a small group of students.

  2. Some good questions, and ones which I think most people that have an interest in Computing in schools, would like to know the answers to.

    I’ve been trying to find out whether the two secondary schools in Bicester have even applied for their Microbits yet, but this information seems to be very hard to get hold of. Any parents that I have asked have no idea what I’m talking about! I help out with Computing in my son’s primary school, so am keen to find out if Yr7s have got their hands on them yet (and if I can get hold of any ‘unwanted’ ones!).

    My personal opinion is that the major flaw was in allocating them to Yr7 students. KS1 & 2 students are now learning Scratch and a lot have been introduced to the Raspberry Pi. I think the Microbit would be better given to KS2 kids, as it’s much more ‘plug & play’ than a Pi, and doesn’t require investment in extra equipment to get started.

    As for the question of ownership, I’m really not sure. It just doesn’t seem right that they are being given, free, to a whole year group, with the schools being expected to build them in to the curriculum, and then the following year the school is told they will have to pay for the next batch themselves. If they can’t afford it, the school will have to change the curriculum again and you’ve got a whole year group that have had special treatment. Also, I’m sure I remember reading that their were only going to be a certain amount made – so what happens then?

  3. Lots of great points.

    Being a primary school computing teacher I can’t wait till they can be bought. I think they are a great device for students to use quick to start using but challenging to master.

    I agree the roll out is a massive issue. It should have been part of a transition project with year 6 to year 7.

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