Singapore has become the latest country to join the micro:bit revolution, with the country's Ministry of Education supporting a national campaign to roll out more than 100,000 of the devices in a bid to nurture a new generation of digital makers.
The Digital Maker Programme is a two-year initiative developed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), running from April 2017 to March 2019. Singapore schools that enroll on the programme can select the level are granted the opportunity to send up to 5 teachers to a special educators workshop, where they will receive training on how the micro:bit can be incorporated into their lessons. Teachers can be nominated from any of the major teaching subjects - from computing and design to mathematics, art, music and physical education.
Training is provided by Microsoft Singapore, another key partner in the micro:bit program, while special challenges and events will be organised by IMDA. The only requirement of the participating schools is that they share one lesson plan within six months of receiving the devices, demonstrating how they have used their micro:bits in the classroom. In this way, it is hoped that a vibrant educational community will develop around the micro:bit, with educators sharing ideas and showcasing the work of their students.
Early adopters to the program have already come up with a wide range of innovative projects at a range of educational levels. Highlights include a pull-up guide to help students improve their form and posture during physical education, a device that alerts drivers when they are breaking the national speed limit and an experiment to measure light and soil moisture levels while charting plant growth. Detailed lesson plans for these and other featured projects are available at digitalmaker.sg.
The BBC micro:bit is the result of a collaboration between 29 industry partners, including the BBC, Premier Farnell, Microsoft and many more. An innovative pocket-sized computer featuring motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, copies of the BBC micro:bit were distributed to one million UK students across the UK in 2016, as part of the foundation's Make It Digital initiative. Since then, the device has been adopted by governments and educational initiatives in countries all over the world, including Iceland, Croatia, Japan, Lithuania, The Netherlands and the USA.