Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Virtual BBC Micro:Bit Now in Beta

imageCurious about the BBC MicroBit? There is a new web site about it that includes a virtual Micro:bit computer. There are tutorials and videos and various other bits and bobs of information at the site as well.
There is even the option to write code for it in a choice of languages. Two of them, TouchDevelop and a Microsoft Block Editor are available now. Two more are “coming soon” and include Python and JavaScript.
We're not going to see the actual hardware in the US (unless someone sends us some they don't want.) but at least we can try things out virtually. If one is teaching the right grade in the UK and knows they are getting some devices for their students they can of course start working on getting ahead of their students now. The Microsoft Block Editor looks a lot like Scratch, App Inventor, Blockly and many of the other drag and drop languages that many are already using in schools to teach programming to kids. I wonder if it is based on the same backend as TouchDevelop? I’ll have to ask someone. I am told that Blocks is built on top of Bockly.  In any case it should be very easy for beginners to pick up. I don’t expect using the virtual machine to be as fun as using the actual devices now would they (I don’t think) get kids as excited about computer science and programming. But for getting a jump start for teachers and others this site may be just the thing,

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