The BBC has launched a nationwide initiative, called Make it Digital, set to inspire children to get into coding and programming.
The broadcaster will be giving a coding device to every child in year 7 across the UK.
It’s an attempt to to address the country’s skills shortage of some 1.4 million over the coming five years.
By autumn this year every year-7 student in Britain will receive a “Micro Bit” coding device – 1 million devices in total.
According to the broadcaster, the Micro Bit is a small wearable piece of programmable hardware that will help children learn basic coding and programming.
Make it Digital is set to help young people in the UK become more familiar with coding and computer programming.
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said:
“This is exactly what the BBC is all about – bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions. Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future. Only the BBC can bring partners together to attempt something this ambitious, this important to Britain’s future on the world stage.
“BBC Make it Digital could help digital creativity become as familiar and fundamental as writing, and I’m truly excited by what Britain, and future great Britons, can achieve.”
Once kids get their hands on the Micro Bit they will will be able to plug it into a computer and immediately begin creating stuff with it.
The Micro Bit can also act as a springboard for further learning and more advanced products such as Arduino, Galileo, Kano and Raspberry Pi.
BBC has partnered with 50 organisations, including Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and Code Club, to develop new initiatives like the ground-breaking Micro Bit and Make it Digital Traineeship.
The broadcaster is also going to offer a range of formal learning activities and resources as part of Make it Digital.
Jessica Cecil, Controller of BBC Make it Digital, said:
“BBC Make it Digital is hugely exciting and will shine a light on digital creativity like never before. There’s a real opportunity in the UK to help fill 1.4m digital jobs in the next five years. But we won’t do this alone – we are proud to partner with an amazing range of fantastic organisations across the UK, which will open the doors to new opportunities in the future.”
“With a dedicated season of programming on the BBC, 5,000 digital trainees, 1 million children who take their first steps with a Micro Bit, and a host of educational activity, we hope to inspire a new generation to get creative with digital.”