Digital teaching tips & tricks, ideas, examples, and general thoughts and reflections. Follow my Inquiry.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Makecode and Microbit - ISTE 2018

As part of the CS Firehose I went to hear about MakeCode and Micro:bit.

Micro:bit is a pocket size computer, in a similar style vein to a Raspberry Pi, (though not as powerful I believe, more like a code-able Makey-Makey), and Makecode is visual based coding software that can be used to programme it.

I thought that MakeCode was a very similar to Scratch and wouldn't be an issue for students or teachers to switch between them. The logic was very similar, as was the interface, AND IT WORKS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BROWSER! (and therefore is ready to go on the chromebooks!)

Image result for makecode

I also really liked the Micro-bit, and what it can do. There were some really cool and easy-to-get started ideas that are fun and engaging. 

Within 30 seconds of opening the software and plugging in the Micro:bit I was able to get my name to scroll across the LED lights on the device... Really cool, really simple.
Within 10 minutes I had a simple question across the screen, with 2 answer inputs and relevant responses for them.
Is this fun?
[Yes] ---> Awesome!
[No]  ---> Boooo!

This straight away told me that this product has a very accessible floor, where pretty much anyone can plug it in and run with. Yet in the presentation I also got to see examples of some really cool robotic projects, where the ceiling was far far higher. 


Another really cool think about the MicroBit, is that is compatible with Scratch. Therefore there is this fantastic opportunity to extend the Scratch projects that the learners are creating using physical and tangible objects. At least thats the pitch I was sold, I din't get a chance to do this myself, but it's definitely an exciting concept that I'm interested to try out.

Overview (Copy pasted from site) 

  • 25 individually-programmable LEDs
  • 2 programmable buttons
  • Physical connection pins
  • Light and temperature sensors
  • Motion sensors (accelerometer and compass)
  • Wireless Communication, via Radio and Bluetooth
  • USB interface
  • Let's take a look at what these components do and discover how to code them!

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