Credit-sized BBC Micro:bit is available in a range of packages and bulk options as it looks to expand its audience for coding mission
Element 14 has signed an exclusive 15 month contract to manufacture and distribute the BBC micro:bit, helping to bring the credit-sized coding computer to a wider audience.
Every year 7 student in England and Wales, Year 8 student in Northern Ireland and S1 student in Scotland has been given one of the computers for free part of the BBC’s ‘Make It Digital’ campaign – one million pupils in total.
However schools, and other enthusiasts, can now buy individual units for £12.99 or a start kit comprising a micro:bit, mini USB, battery pack and four project ideas for £14.99. A club pack comes with 10 computers and materials to set up a coding club and costs £140.
Element 14, which also manufactures and distributes Raspberry Pi devices, will also accept bulk orders or more than 90 computers and says it is looking at the possibility of selling the micro:bit outside the UK.
“We are very excited about making this product available to buy in the UK and anticipate massive demand from parents, teachers and makers alike,” said Richard Curtin, strategic alliance director at element14.
“Following the initial distribution to one million year 7 school children through the BBC’s Make it Digital programme, we are gearing up our supply chain and manufacturing to make these devices available to buy.
“We expect the BBC micro:bit to be a hot item on Christmas lists in 2016 and in preparation for this we are also applying our experience with Raspberry Pi to build an ecosystem of accessories and programming projects for the BBC micro:bit to help coders of all ages bring the device to life.”
The BBC’s Make it Digital initiative aims to get schoolchildren and teachers of all abilities learn the basics of making computer programs by teaching them to code. The initiative follows on from the BBC’s Micro programme that was introduced in the 1980s, and is a partnership between the BBC and some of the world’s most notable technology companies such as ARM, Microsoft, and Samsung.