As part of its 'Make it Digital' campaign, the BBC will be giving a staggering 1 million mini DIY PCs, called 'Micro Bit', to year 7 (sixth grade) students across the UK later this year. The goal is to help students become familiar with product development, which will be aided by the launch of coding-based programs at the same time.
These Micro Bit PCs are similar in context to the Raspberry Pi, although they are much simpler in design. That being the case, the BBC is not considering it a competitor to existing products, but instead something that might spur kids to want to make the jump to more complex DIY boards and likewise, projects.
When the coding programs go live, students will be able to learn how to develop for the device via Touch Develop, Python, and C++. In a way, this is kind of like throwing them into the deep end of the pool, but learning even the basics of a language like C++ will help put them on the right path of understanding exactly how programs work.
While we're not sure what kind of specs these Micro Bits will have, there are many companies that have teamed up with the BBC to make it a reality, including ARM, Barclays, Element14, Freescale, Microsoft, and Samsung.
Coinciding with this launch, the BBC will also be releasing a couple of TV programs that can act as a way to get people more interested in development. One show is said to be based on Grand Theft Auto (so it seems that will not be targeted at children), while another will revolve around Bletchley Park, the famous code-breaking agency where the amazing Alan Turing worked during World War II.
Hopefully all of this will do well to get kids (and adults alike) more interested in development. It'd be great to see it prove to be such a great success, that the program would expand further, even into other countries.