…but BBC promise to deliver on their most ambitious campaign yet
The long-awaited and highly anticipated BBC Micro:bit rollout has been delayed…again. But this time promises to be the last.
Due to have made their way into classrooms at the beginning of the new term way back in October 2015, the BBC halted the movement, informing schools that the pocket-sized computers would be introduced not in October but after Christmas due to power problems with the board.
Christmas and New Year came and went, and with the impending release (hopefully) imminent, there appeared to be no word on the issue aside from the results and feedback of a pilot scheme that took place in November.
Cue press releases that stated the rollout would be pushed back even further, meaning the Micro:bit would not enter schools until after the February half-term. Some schools have received their devices but it’s now March and many teachers, let alone pupils, have yet to even catch a glimpse of the wonder-device.
Upon taking the Micro:bit to the Bett Show in January, the BBC heralded the reactions from attendees as ‘overwhelming’, and even went as far as to say the device ‘stole the show’. This may be so, but in failing to deliver on their implementation promises, there has been a lot of frustration surrounding the continued rollout delays.
However – and we say this with much enthusiasm – with the BBC now seemingly starting to make headway, covering lost ground by providing some teachers and educational institutions with their boards towards the back end of February, it finally looks as though the Micro:bit is ready to make a huge and important impact.
In what has been the most ambitious education campaign the BBC’s Learning department have ever delivered, Sinead Rock, head of BBC Learning said: “It has been a joy to see these Micro:bits make their way to educators across the country over the last couple of weeks. It feels like the adventure into the world of coding is really gaining pace. And so it’s with great excitement that we will be starting our delivery to pupils on March 22.”
March 22nd. That’s almost six months after initially expected. Hoorah for the BBC! And hoorah for the Micro:bit! In what feels like an unnecessarily long stretch on the Green Mile, schools in the UK will definitely, as promised, get their hands on this exciting piece of technology before Easter.
Or will they? The BBC has already warned that delivery will take ‘several weeks’, meaning it could actually be after the Easter Holidays before all Year 7 pupils across the country receive their much sought-after devices.
In what will be a welcome relief to everyone involved (including the BBC, we’re guessing), and in what will undoubtedly be a revolution in technology and learning, it’s also a huge shame for all those pupils who could have been getting to grips with the device since October.
Pupils will now only have one more term before the Summer break to begin using their Micro:bit alongside the CS curriculum. It really should have been sooner.
On a more positive note, the App for Android went live at the end of February which enables the Micro:bit to connect with smartphones and tablets allowing young people to code their Micro:bits on the go. There’s also an iOS app in development, meaning most pupils will be able to practice with the device whether they’re at home or at school.
In what has been a significantly long-time coming, we now just hope that the Micro:bit is worth the hype and that the unfortunate delays in implementation will not be of detriment to those frustrated, impatient but never-the-less, excited Year 7 pupils.