Drive to get children coding sees more than 500 pocket computers donated to Norfolk libraries

PUBLISHED: 14:07 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:07 21 November 2017

One of the micro:bits. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

One of the micro:bits. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council

Children across Norfolk will get the chance to improve their digital skills, after hundreds of pocket-sized, codeable computers were donated to the county’s libraries.

Camilo Cervantes, aged 10, tries coding with the micro:bit at King's Lynn library. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Camilo Cervantes, aged 10, tries coding with the micro:bit at King's Lynn library. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

The BBC micro:bits are available to hire from every Norfolk County Council library and can be used for all sorts of digital creations, from games to robots to musical instruments.

More than 500 of the devices have been donated by the Micro:bit Educational Foundation as part of a drive to encourage children to get creative with technology - rather than just tapping away on tablets.

The micro:bits can be borrowed for free for up to three weeks on any library card and come with instructions, a USB cable and battery holder.

They can be programmed via any desktop or laptop computer and can also be used with mobile phones or tablets using Bluetooth technology. The devices have built-in displays, buttons, motion detection, temperature and light sensors.

Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee, said: “We are very grateful for the donation.

“Many of our libraries already run successful computer coding clubs and we are increasing our other digital services.

“The micro:bits mean all Norfolk children have free access to learn how to code, create and have fun, improving their digital skills for the future.”

Coding was added to the national curriculum in 2014. Research has shown the majority of children using micro:bits in schools found computer science more interesting and highlighted that anyone can code.

The King’s College research found:

• 90pc of students said the micro:bit showed them that anyone can code.

• 86pc of students said the micro:bit made computer science more interesting.

• 70pc more girls said they would choose computing as a school subject after using the micro:bit.

• 85pc of teachers agree it has made information computer technology/computer science more enjoyable for their students.

• Half of teachers who have used the micro:bit say they now feel more confident as a teacher, particularly those who say they’re not very confident in teaching computing.

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