Getting with the program! New computer club proves popular

Year 7 boys are enjoying learning about computer coding at a new QE club linked to a BBC initiative.

Every Year 7 child in the country is eligible to receive from the corporation a free Micro:bit – a handheld, fully programmable computer. Head of Technology Sheila Patel and Year 12 pupil Sam Friend are running a Micro:bit club every Monday, with 25 Year 7 boys attending so far.

""“Pupils who attend will have an opportunity to discover programming at whatever level they feel comfortable,” said Ms Patel.  “Members have already programmed their Micro:bits to do a whole variety of things, from flashing messages to coding an actual game.

""“With today’s growing programming trend, the club is a fantastic opportunity for our Year 7s to explore what coding is all about and, more importantly, have a go at it themselves and get real end-results.”

The Micro:bit includes motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, yet it is both 70 times smaller and 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computers that were widely used in schools in the early 1980s.

""Other Micro:bit features include 25 red LED lights that can flash messages and two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. The device can detect motion and tell you which direction you are heading in, and it can use its low-energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the internet.

Users can choose between various programming languages and editing software, such as Java Script, Microsoft Block Editor, Microsoft TouchDevelop and Python.