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The BBC micro:bit is a small embedded system that can be used to help teach programming. A micro:bit should have been provided to all year 7 students during summer 2016, but they are also available to buy for anyone that didn't get one free.
It is not possible to program directly on the micro:bit. Instead a program is created on another computer and then uploaded to the micro:bit using a USB cable or wirelessly using BlueTooth.
There are a number of different programming languages supported, including Microsoft Block Editor and MicroPython. Using either of these the user programs can be created in a web browser then downloaded as an executable ready to be transferred to the micro:bit.
Below is a presentation I gave to STEM Ambassadors explaining about the micro:bit
As well as programming the micro:bit is a good platform for physical computing. It includes 3 input/output terminals that can be connected with crocodile clips and more if using an add-on connector. In addition to the example in the above presentation I have used the micro:bit to control disco lights.
I have also used the built in accelerometer to control a Raspberry Pi based robot. The micro:bit robot controller source code is available on github, although there is no error checking included so it does sometimes get confused. You can see the Robot in action here.