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Microbit Educator Briefing

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer designed to introduce children and young people to coding and digital technology. It was first announced by the BBC in March 2015 and later launched in July 2016. The project, a part of the BBC's Make it Digital initiative, was aimed at inspiring digital creativity and developing a new generation of tech pioneers.

The micro:bit itself is a small, programmable device that can be used for all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments – the possibilities are endless. It can be coded from any web browser in Blocks, Javascript, Python, Scratch, and more; no software is needed.

Here are some key features of the BBC microbit

  1. Display: It includes a 5x5 LED matrix with 25 red LEDs to light up and can display animated patterns, scrolling text, and alphanumeric characters.

  2. Input/Output: It has two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. The micro:bit can detect motion and tell you which direction you’re heading in, and it can use a low energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the Internet.

  3. Sensors: It includes an accelerometer that detects motion and a compass for detecting direction.

  4. Connectivity: The microbit can connect to other microbits, devices, phones, tablets, and cameras and has a micro-USB and Bluetooth Smart Technology to get connected.

  5. Pins: It has 25 external connectors on the edge connector of the board, which includes an extensive array of input and output devices from sensors to servos.

The microbit is supported by the microbit Educational Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to make coding accessible and fun for everyone. It's a fantastic tool for teaching and learning coding and electronics, as well as for DIY projects for hobbyists of all ages.

Educational Level and Curriculum Compatibility

The BBC micro:bit is an invaluable resource for Australian educators aiming to enhance digital literacy from primary to secondary schooling, typically engaging students aged 7 to 14. Its adaptability across various learning areas makes it an excellent tool for meeting the Digital Technologies strand of the Australian Curriculum.

Primary School Applications:

  • Early Computing Skills: It serves as a friendly introduction to the fundamentals of computing and helps foster digital problem-solving skills.
  • Interdisciplinary Projects: The micro:bit can be woven into maths, science, and arts education, allowing students to build interactive projects that reinforce core subject learning.

Secondary School Integration:

  • Advanced Computing Concepts: For more mature students, the micro:bit is a practical asset in delving into complex coding, algorithmic thinking, and digital systems exploration.
  • Design and Technology: Students can use the micro:bit to bring their electronic inventions to life, integrating design principles with tangible programming tasks.
  • STEM Engagement: In STEM subjects, the micro:bit provides a hands-on approach to applying theoretical concepts in real-world scenarios, enhancing engagement and understanding.

Curriculum Compatibility:

  • Foundation to Year 6: The micro:bit aligns well with the introduction of basic programming skills, making learning interactive and enjoyable.
  • Years 7 to 10: It supports deeper engagement with the Digital Technologies curriculum, where students develop an understanding of information systems and software development.
  • Versatile Educational Tool: The micro:bit can be used across different year levels and various educational contexts, supported by a range of programming languages from block-based for beginners to text-based for advanced students.

For Australian educators, the microbit offers a platform that not only aligns with the Australian Curriculum's expectations but also provides a means to bring creativity and innovation into the classroom. The microbit Educational Foundation offers a wealth of teaching materials and project ideas to integrate the device into the curriculum, facilitating a dynamic learning experience that equips students with essential 21st-century skills.

Adaptability to Educational Systems

The BBC micro:bit boasts remarkable versatility, making it a particularly effective tool for Australian educators looking to bring a practical and interactive dimension to the Digital Technologies curriculum.

Curriculum Alignment: The micro:bit's capabilities dovetail seamlessly with the Australian Curriculum, particularly within the Digital Technologies learning area. Its use encourages students to meet specific content descriptions and achievement standards outlined for various year levels, from understanding digital systems to creating interactive solutions.

Skill Progression: The device supports a progression of skills suitable for all stages of learning. For younger students in Foundation to Year 2, it offers an introduction to computational thinking and simple programming through block-based coding interfaces like MakeCode. As students progress to Years 3-6 and beyond into Years 7-10, the micro:bit can be used for more complex projects that require text-based coding, such as Python, fostering higher-order thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Cross-curricular Integration: Beyond computing and digital technologies, the micro:bit can be integrated into science, mathematics, arts, and humanities, linking digital creativity with broader educational outcomes. This multidisciplinary approach aligns with the Australian Curriculum's general capabilities, including critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, and ethical understanding.

Professional Development: For educators, the micro:bit offers numerous professional learning opportunities. There are many resources available to help teachers understand how to use the device and how to integrate it into their lesson plans, regardless of their prior experience with coding or digital technologies.

Community and Collaboration: The microbit encourages collaborative learning and can be used in group projects to foster teamwork and communication skills. The global microbit community also offers Australian educators a platform to share ideas, resources, and experiences, further enriching the education ecosystem.

In summary, the adaptability of the micro:bit to educational systems, particularly within Australia, lies in its ability to engage students with the core principles of the Digital Technologies curriculum while also providing pathways to integrate with other learning areas, all within a framework that supports educators' professional growth and community engagement.

Functionality and Design

The BBC micro:bit is ingeniously crafted to serve as an educational tool, combining functionality with a user-friendly design that resonates well within the context of the Australian education system.


  • Coding Flexibility: The micro:bit supports various programming languages, including Scratch, Python, and JavaScript, catering to students' skill levels from beginners to those ready for more advanced coding challenges.
  • Sensors and Input/Output: Equipped with buttons, an LED display, motion detection (accelerometer), a compass (magnetometer), Bluetooth connectivity, and input/output pins, the micro:bit can interact with its environment and other devices. This allows students to develop interactive projects that align with the Australian Curriculum's focus on creating digital solutions.
  • Connectivity: With Bluetooth capabilities, the micro:bit can wirelessly interact with other devices and the internet, facilitating projects that require data sharing and remote communication.
  • Expansion: The edge connector allows for the addition of other components and accessories, like sensors and motors, providing scalability for more complex projects suitable for older students.


  • Compact and Durable: Its small, durable design makes it easy for young students to handle and integrate into various projects.
  • Clear Layout: The micro:bit has a clearly labeled printed circuit board that helps students understand the basics of hardware as well as software.
  • Inclusive Design: The simplicity of the micro:bit ensures it is inclusive for all students, regardless of their prior knowledge or abilities in digital technologies.
  • Educational Support: The design is backed by a vast array of teaching resources, including lesson plans and project ideas specifically tailored to the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum.

The micro:bit's design ethos is about accessibility and engagement. Its functionality encourages exploration and creativity in the classroom, allowing Australian educators to effectively teach principles of computing and digital technologies in a hands-on, interactive manner. This approach not only aids in the concrete understanding of theoretical concepts but also supports the development of essential life skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration among students.

Classroom Management Tools

For educators incorporating the microbit into their classrooms, there are a variety of classroom management tools and resources available to streamline the process and enhance the learning experience

  1. MakeCode Editor: The online MakeCode editor is a widely used tool for programming the micro:bit. It features a block-based coding environment which is ideal for beginners, and it also provides a JavaScript editor for more advanced students. Teachers can create and share projects with the class, and students can use it without the need to set up individual accounts.

  2. Classroom Accounts: For environments where individual student accounts are necessary, educators can use platforms like Microsoft MakeCode which allow the creation of classroom accounts. This helps manage students' work, progress, and provides a platform for submitting assignments.

  3. Micro:bit Classroom: This is a free tool provided by the Micro:bit Educational Foundation. It allows teachers to set up virtual classrooms, distribute code to students, collect their work, and provide real-time feedback. It's designed to work with both individual and group projects and requires no student log-ins, ensuring data privacy.

  4. Lesson Plans and Resources: The Microbit Educational Foundation and other educational resources provide comprehensive lesson plans, tutorials, and activities that can be filtered by subject, age, and duration. These resources help in effectively planning and executing lessons around the microbit.

  5. Project Sharing Platforms: Websites like GitHub and Scratch offer platforms where students can share their micro:bit projects and collaborate with others. This can be particularly useful for older students working on more complex tasks.

  6. Online Communities and Forums: Online forums and communities, such as the microbit Slack community and the microbit Community on the Foundation’s website, allow teachers to seek advice, share experiences, and find inspiration from other educators around the world.

  7. Assessment Tools: Various tools can be used to assess students' skills and understanding. These range from integrated quiz features in learning platforms to external tools like Google Forms or Kahoot.

  8. Remote Learning Support: For remote or blended learning environments, the micro:bit can be used in conjunction with video conferencing tools and learning management systems (LMS) like Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams, allowing for a seamless integration of hardware-based coding projects with digital classwork.

These tools and resources provide a structured yet flexible framework that can be adapted to different classroom settings, helping Australian educators to maintain a dynamic, interactive, and organized learning environment.

Support and Resources

Australian educators looking to integrate the microbit into their classrooms have access to a robust selection of support and resources tailored to facilitate teaching and enhance student engagement

  1. Micro:bit Educational Foundation: Provides a wealth of resources, including lesson plans, project ideas, and teaching materials. Their official website is a hub for educators to access all sorts of instructional guides that align with the Digital Technologies curriculum.

  2. Australian Computing Academy (ACA): Offers the Digital Technologies Challenges for different year levels, which are aligned with the Australian Curriculum and often incorporate the use of micro:bits. The ACA also provides professional development and support for teachers.

  3. Digital Technologies Hub: Brought to you by the Australian Government department of education, the DTH has resources and micro:bit lesson plans and resources aligned with the Digital Technologies curriculum.

  4. Code Club Australia: Offers free, step-by-step project guides to help children get the most out of their micro:bit. Although targeted primarily at students, these resources can be highly valuable for teachers as well.

  5. Grokmaker Education: Provides kits, resources, and workshops that include micro:bit projects, many of which are designed with the Australian Curriculum in mind.

  6. Professional Learning Workshops: Various organisations and educational technology companies offer workshops and professional development sessions for educators to learn about the micro:bit and how to use it effectively in the classroom.

  7. Online Forums and Communities: Platforms such as the micro:bit Community and Slack channels provide spaces for educators to connect, share, and seek advice from a global network of peers.

  8. Education Technology Distributors: Companies that supply micro:bits to schools often provide additional support, such as training or curriculum integration assistance, to ensure educators can effectively use the technology.

  9. Government and Educational Websites: State education departments and the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment may provide additional resources, funding opportunities, or guidelines for integrating technologies like the micro:bit into schools.

  10. Library Services: Public and school libraries often have technology resources and may offer workshops or lending programs for devices like the micro:bit.

These resources are designed to support educators through every step, from initial training and lesson planning to classroom implementation and student assessment, ensuring that the integration of the micro:bit into educational activities is as seamless and beneficial as possible.