BBC

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The Organisation

The British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) mission is to enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.

www.bbc.co.uk

The Challenge

The UK is facing a significant skills shortage, with 1.4m digital professionals needed over the next five years. The BBC has united major organisations from across the UK in a new nationwide project: “Make it Digital” aims to capture the spirit of the BBC Micro, which helped Britain get to grips with the first wave of personal computers in the 1980s, for the digital age. The challenge is to put digital creativity in the spotlight like never before, and help build the nation’s digital skills through an ambitious range of new programmes, partnerships and projects.

Expertise Sought

  • Coding and programming skills
  • Coding hardware engineering skills

The Solution

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that you can code, customise and control to bring your digital ideas, games and apps to life. Measuring 4cm by 5cm, and designed to be fun and easy to use, something simple can be coded in seconds – like lighting up its LEDs or displaying a pattern – with no prior knowledge of computing.

The School of Computing and Communications (SCC) at Lancaster University has research expertise in communications and networking, computer systems, intelligent systems, software engineering, and human-computer interaction. 

Computer scientists from the School of Computing and Communications are at the forefront of this UK-wide BBC initiative to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology. Dr Joe Finney, School of Computing and Communications, helped develop the coding and programming behind the BBC micro:bit – a pocket-sized, codeable computer. The university is also working closely with teachers to support the introduction of computing into the national curriculum in primary schools.

Impact

The BBC micro:bit allows children to get creative with technology. In the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative for 30 years, up to 1 million devices will be given to every 11 or 12 year old child in Year 7 or equivalent across the UK, for free in October 2015. It has the potential to inspire and motivate a new generation of computer scientists.

Benefits to the company

  • Their most ambitious education initiative for 30 years
  • Potential to help build the nation’s digital skills, through an ambitious range of new programmes, partnerships and projects

Benefits to the university

  • At the forefront of a nationwide campaign
  • New collaborative partnership potential with BBC

Benefits to society

  • Will help build the nation’s digital skills “in a defining moment for digital creativity here in the UK”
  • Potential to inspire and motivate the next generation of computer scientists
  • Up to 1 million devices will be given to children across the UK

Company Feedback

“Channelling the spirit of the Micro for the digital age, the BBC micro:bit will inspire a new generation in a defining moment for digital creativity here in the UK. All you need is your curiosity, creativity and imagination – we’ll provide the tools. This has the power to be transformative for the UK. The BBC is one of the few organisations in the world that could convene something on this scale, with such an unprecedented partnership at its core.” Tony Hall, Director General, the BBC.

University Feedback

“Lancaster University has an excellent track record in Computer Science research, teaching and public engagement. BBC "Make it Digital" and micro:bit provide us with the opportunity to combine these strengths and reach out to every Year 7 child across the country to inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists.” Professor Sharon Huttly, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), Lancaster University.

Future Plans

The BBC also regularly provide placements for Lancaster University students and experts for events, and continue their relationship with the university.