BBC is giving away 1 million mini computers so kids can learn to code: Prediction — little impact on broadening participation
I agree that these boards are cool, but I’m a geeky white guy. I predict that they’ll have little impact in increasing access to computing education or in diversifying computing. Bare board computers are not more attractive to teachers, so we don’t get more teachers going into CS. They’re not more attractive than existing computers to women who aren’t already interested in computing. Why are people so excited about handing out bare board computers to grade school children? Is this just white males emphasizing the attributes that attract them? Judith Bishop of MSR (whose TouchDevelop will work on these new computers) says that she’s seen girls get engaged by these new computers, but nobody has done any research to see if that’s more than the 20% of females who get interested in computing now, or if that happens outside of the pilot classrooms.
Currently in development, the Micro Bit is a small piece of programmable, wearable hardware that helps kids learn basic coding and programming. It could act as a springboard for more advanced coding on products, such as the single-board computer Raspberry Pi, according to the BBC.
Children will be able to plug the device into a computer, and start creating with it immediately.
“BBC Make it Digital could help digital creativity become as familiar and fundamental as writing, and I’m truly excited by what Britain, and future great Britons, can achieve,” BBC director general Tony Hall said in a statement Thursday.