Disclosure: The product was provided free for review.
It’s all about tech these days, and while knowing how to use it is one thing, knowing how to program it is a whole other aspect. I admit to having a slight head start in this area, as an ex programmer, but the way I learnt to program, on a ZX81 typing in games out of a magazine wouldn’t really hold my kids’ interest.
Fortunately, there is a whole range of products out there that can help even the most tech illiterate of parents with their children’s IT needs. The one we are reviewing today is the BBC micro:bit, supplied for review by PiHut – see more here
The BBC micro:bit comes beautifully packaged in a small cardboard box with everything you need to get going. And when you first turn it on, it already has some programming.
This is a good touch, as it means that your test child is likely to be intrigued by the flashing lights and you get a quick win.
Once we’d exhausted the provided program (which did not take desperately long it has to be said) we headed online to look up how to write our own code.
After an abortive attempt to link with my phone (I don’t know quite what went wrong there, but it was not playing) we ended up at Microsoft Makecode. This has a number of example projects and rock paper scissors (no lizard Spock variation though) was a clear winner.
The editor is a drag and drop format, which means even the most code fearing parent will be able to get to grips with it. Although you’re unlikely to be needed much, except maybe for downloading the code to the microbit once written, and possibly for the occasional moment of trouble shooting. Once Tigerboy got to grips with the editor he was off and running, and I would say that the micro:bit is ideal for 8 – 11 year olds, as long as they are reasonably literate, and a little tech savvy.
Highly recommended, definitely a good way to get your child into game coding as well as game playing.