When I came across an article on BBC micro: bit a few years ago, I immediately remembered of an 80s project called BBC Micro that had revolutionized not only schools in the UK but also has had a tremendous impact in creating and then growing the worldwide programming community.
Although my first microcomputer was the ZX Spectrum (again a UK product!), I had always dreamed of having a BBC B which at that time was considered the best in its category, especially where fast mathematical calculations were required.
Over the years, IBM PCs and DOS and then Windows took precedence, moving away from the almost magical feeling of programming in BASIC, the programming language that has been the primer of all enthusiasts time. In the meantime, IT technology has undergone tremendous growth and development, especially since the invention of the Internet, more specifically the World Wide Web.
Despite the colossal development both in terms of hardware and software in recent decades, there is more and more a gap in the offer for those younger people who would like to take the first steps in programming with something attractive for their age and not very expensive.
BBC micro: bit aims to fill exactly this gap, offering modern and at the same time simple technology, not ignoring the need of beginner programmers to carry out interesting projects, such as those that can be served with temperature sensors, light sensors , accelerometers, radio receivers, LED displays, buttons, etc.
Over 20 million children worldwide are now familiar with the first steps of programming via BBC micro: bit. Of course, in our schools this equipment will have a positive impact on the preparation of new generations in the acquisition of knowledge in the field of IT, a profession for which the demands are constantly growing in both the domestic market and the external.
Programming develops children's problem-solving skills based on predetermined logic and rules but also creativity and imagination, which not only makes future programmers good but also helps them later become problem solvers in all aspects of life.
It is never too early to start learning programming, only certain ages need to be provided with the appropriate technology according to their age, which BBC micro: bit fully meets for the age group of 10-15 years. It is at this age that the curiosity arises to learn new things, where the intelligence and creativity of children is expressed to the maximum, and then at an older age they are prepared for more serious and more complex challenges.
Although it is a small-sized device, it is worth noting that it implements interesting projects such as those related to: environmental protection, monitoring of climate change, tracking of animal movements, tracking of vital parameters, monitoring systems such as e.g. monitoring plant growth in the conditions of the International Space Station, etc.
The experience of ICK
At Innovation Center Kosovo, since its establishment in 2012, attention has been paid to activities related to bringing children and young people in the field of programming, but also in general - finding hardware and software solutions to concrete problems. Attention has also been paid to the development of entrepreneurial spirit among young people, preparing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to position themselves well in the international labor market and innovation. This has been achieved through courses, organization of workshops, attendance of international seminars and fairs, competitions up to those of NASA, where respectable successes have been achieved globally.
What should not be skipped is the participation of girls in the above mentioned activities and we as ICK are proud of the talents that have taken the first steps in us, while today they are engaged as professionals by offering to many western companies professional programming and design services.
Currently, in the international market, in addition to the increased demand for programmers, there is also a growing demand for experts in completely new fields that did not exist before, such as: machine learning, data sciences, artificial intelligence, financial technology, computer vision, etc.
I think that software will be the most profitable export for Kosovo as its development does not require capital investments or dedicated infrastructure, does not consume anything but electricity, can be easily distributed at no cost and most importantly: we have young people who just need support in acquiring knowledge. Then, they will know how to walk on their own path.
Web application development trainer