Your child's digital skill gap worries BBC

BBC has finally launched its much-talked-about Micro Bit, a pocket computer for British sixth-graders to code and hone their digital programming skills.

Deeply worried that your younger ones could suffer from a skill and knowledge gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the new programme should let them be more resourceful for developing computer games and smartphone apps of the future. The news corp is giving out a million devices to sixth-graders for free.

BBC says the device is a “stripped-down gadget designed to make it easy for kids to start writing their own code” which should work as a stepping stone for kids to work on more complex devices like Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

The move could also be a result of an ambition to see future technologies and apps churn out from British shores to compete with existing tech hubs like China, Korea, Japan and the United States.

As of now British developers have designed only three of the top ten apps used in the UK.

Micro Bit, which is no larger than a credit card, contains a Bluetooth antenna, LED lights, motion sensor, and ability to write codes like Python, C++ and Microsoft's TouchDevelop in simple forms.

To make the device lighter and easier to carry, BBC has removed a battery slot in the latest update to the device, letting kids to use additional power packs to run them.

Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC’s technology correspondent, said, “It's seen as being an echo of the very successful BBC Micro which gave many people an introduction to computers in the 1980s, and the hope is that it will inspire the next generation of tech pioneers.”

Micro Bit will be available for sale to adult users later this year through a non-profit company.

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