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BBC Micro:bit at Creat-A-Con 2016

Sun, 31 Jul 2016

BBC Micro:bit at Creat-A-Con 2016

Yesterday was the latest Creat-A-Con, organised by SideFest and held in the Queens Building at De Montfort University. As with the previous events, this year's Creat-A-Con showcased "maker" organisations in Leicester and was aimed at young people and their parents.

I attended with an Interact Labs stand that included some of the projects we have been working on of the past year. We had the Pollock drawing robot, Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi, The Painting With Light system, some wireless micro-controllers and - for the first time - the BBC Micro:bit.

These new little micro-controllers are being given to all year 7 school pupils with the aim of helping to improve their programming skills. I have just managed to get my hands on some (thanks to STEMNET and LEBC) and Creat-A-Con was an opportunity for me to start exploring what they can do.

I was pretty impressed with them. They are physically robust and are easy to program using the web-based development environment (with a choice of programming languages). The built-in LED matrix gives them a simple display, and an accelerometer and magnetometer gives them some input sensors. There are also some input/output pins that can be used to connect other sensors and actuators.

There was also lots of interest in them from the attendees. Many people had heard about the Micro:bit (and a few pupils already had one) and I think there is some excitement about what they could be used for. Of course, the key thing is that the teaching staff get up to speed with them at schools. We'll certainly be doing out bit at Interact Labs by making good use of them in the Code Club.

There are a few pictures from our stand at the Creat-A-Con event here.

Author: Sean Clark