Microsoft Touch Develop and the BBC micro:bit

Tom Ball, Jonathan Protzenko, Judith Bishop, Michal Moskal, Peli de Halleux, Michael Braun, Steve Hodges, Clare Riley

ICSE 2016 Companion |

Published by ACM - Association for Computing Machinery

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The chance to influence the lives of a million children does not come often. Through a partnership between the BBC and several technology companies, a small instructional computing device called the BBC micro:bit will be given to a million children in the UK in 2016. Moreover, using the micro:bit will be part of the CS curriculum. We describe how Microsoft’s Touch Develop programming platform works with the BBC micro:bit. We describe the design and architecture of the micro:bit and the software engineering hurdles that had to be overcome to ensure it was as accessible as possible to children and teachers. The combined hardware/software platform is evaluated and early anecdotal evidence is presented. A video about the micro:bit is available at http://aka.ms/bbcmicrobit.