(Pocket-lint) – The BBC micro:bit is a clever little piece of technology designed to help people learn to code on the small scale. The original was launched in 2016 – with 5 million in use across 60 countries – and there’s a new version 2 that’s going to be available from mid-November.
While the overall design of the micro:bit board remains similar, there are additions to give it new skills straight out of the box. There’s now a built-in speaker and microphone, expanding the range of potential applications – including a LED indicator revealing when the microphone is active. That will mean that teachers can cover topics like privacy.
There are also power boosts, doubling the flash storage, while there’s an eight-fold increase in the RAM on the board, which runs at 64MHz rather than 16MHz of the previous version. That gives it the power to run AI and machine learning applications, so can be used to teach these skills in the classroom.
The logo on the new version is also a capacitive touch sensor.
The aim of the micro:bit is to make digital skills accessible, with the BBC’s Make it Digital campaign providing a micro:bit for all Year 7 students in the UK when it originally launched in 2016. It’s used in most secondary schools to teach digital skills, while also being popular in primary schools too.
It’s found fame globally too, widely-used in educational settings to develop these skills and equip students for the future.
The new version is back compatible, so it will support anything that’s been done on the previous version.
“From the very beginning the BBC’s purpose has been to inform, educate and entertain – qualities which are all reflected in the micro:bit project. Since its launch through our Make it Digital campaign, it has helped transform digital skills and learning. I have no doubt the updated and upgraded micro:bit will drive further innovation and creativity, both in the UK and around the world,” said BBC director general, Tim Davie.
Writing by Chris Hall.