What is Micro: Bit and how is it used to learn robotics?

The micro: bit is known for its extraordinary potential for programming.

Despite the extremely small size, this tool does not disappoint and is a great tool for learning to write code and bring interesting creations to life.

In addition to bringing students closer to the world of programming, micro: bit still contributes significantly to the development of logical reasoning and improves concentration.

So what is micro: bit exactly?

The beginning of everything

Developed to assist directly in teaching programming to children and teenagers, micro: bit is a project of the BBC, the UK’s public radio and television corporation. 

The creation of this device began in the 1980s when the broadcasting company started an educational program that seeks to promote the approach of children to the world of computers and to awaken interest in science and technology.

From the initiative, BBC Micro was born, a computer created in partnership with Acorn Computers, whose system was the great inspiration for the micro: bit. 

Micro: bit was born only in 2015, the year in which the state-owned company also publicized its Make It Digital initiative, aimed at encouraging “visionaries of the future.” 

Currently, micro: bit is considered an extremely interesting and fun tool for teaching programming, with an affordable price, versatility, and very easy to program.

Meet the micro: bit

Despite its five centimeters, the micro: bit is a powerful tool! The gadget features a 32-bit ARM processor with low power consumption. 

It has a micro USB port and also a connector for two external batteries – two AAA batteries. 

The micro: bit has a reset button and two programmable buttons, called A and B.

Students can also make use of its five O / I extensions.

The device has a matrix with 25 red LEDs arranged in a 5 x 5 format, whose light can be programmed to display messages or form images. 

The gold pins, located at the base of the board, allow connection to other devices. 

Bluetooth can also be used to connect it to tablets, smartphones, or another micro: bits.

The board already comes with interesting sensors integrated into it.

Among them, thermometer (temperature), lux meter (light intensity), magnetometer (magnetic fields), and accelerometers (movement and acceleration).

Now let’s see how to program with the device…

How to program Micro: Bit Step by step 

Micro: bit is extremely easy to program platform

The official website offers two programming environments, both free and online; that is, they run in the browser and without the need to install any software on your tablet or computer.

For beginners, the JavaScript Blocks Editor is an interesting option, as it combines pre-defined codes in blocks, streamlining the learning process. 

The student can still write the codes and test them in a special virtual environment – an interesting solution for those who still cannot acquire a physical micro: bit. 

The platform also allows the migration of the code to the JavaScript language, which provides the student with the opportunity of contact with this professional language that is widely used in the market.

The other programming environment available uses the Python language, which is very interesting and equally powerful. 

This system has basic features but still allows the user to explore more advanced features, such as speech synthesis and local data storage.

After each student has developed his own program, the student should just download the file, which will be in .hex format and transfer it to his micro: bit. 

The process is fast and signaled by the small yellow LED, located next to the reset button.

Endless possibilities of Micro: Bit

There is no doubt that one of the biggest strengths of the micro: bit is the possibility of letting the imagination run wild and giving rise to extremely interesting and fun systems. 

The device can be used to create a small electronic badge, a step counter, and even a thermometer that performs instant measurements. 

The brand also offers a session on its website with many ideas and projects to inspire children, teenagers, and teachers around the world!

The micro: bit can be a very interesting tool to bring children and teenagers closer to the world of programming, helping in the development of logical reasoning, curiosity, and concentration.

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