100K BBC micro:bits heading to Canada to teach kids how to code

The donation is a part of a larger effort to help Canadian students build digital skills.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Tech provider Newark element14 is selling 100,000 systems designed for computer education to a Canadian nonprofit helping students learn digital skills.
  • Teaching students digital skills, including coding, can help prepare them for more advanced computer programming courses in college and help them get in-demand tech jobs.

Tech hardware and software provider Newark element14 is delivering 100,000 single-board computers called micro:bits to KidsCode Jeunesse, a Canadian nonprofit helping students learn digital skills, the company announced Thursday.

Micro:bits, which are designed by the BBC for computer education, can be used to teach students how to code. By enabling students to learn in-demand tech skills, the program can help better prepare them for advanced programming courses in college and help them fill tech job gaps. Early preparation can also level the playing field for underrepresented voices in tech, including women.

Similar education programs in the UK and Iceland have used the devices successfully, Dan Hill, president of Newark element14, said in the press release. Hill noted that education gives an entire generation a head start on tech skills, which could impact the country's economy as it becomes increasingly digital.

SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (Tech Pro Research)

Canadian government officials last week announced funding for the nation's CanCode program, which funds digital skills training for students, the release said. Micro:bits will be used by the program to teach coding in schools, libraries, and science centers.

Programs to bring young people into STEM fields are popping up in different countries as the world economy becomes increasingly tech-focused. For example, a Kentucky apprenticeship program run by Interapt teaches high school students about iOS and Android development.

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Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is an Education Reporter at Insider Louisville.

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