Tynker and Micro:bit Educational Foundation Enable Next Generation of Makers to Program micro:bit Microcontrollers

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New 'micro:bit 101' and 'MicroPython 101' Courses Bring the World of Physical Computing to Kids of All Ages

micro:bit code on Tynker

Tynker’s unique and innovative micro:bit implementation will help students around the world bring to life even more creations, from wearables to multiplayer games and more---the possibilities are endless.

ISTE 2019 Conference. Tynker, the leader in enabling kids to use code to become Makers, today announced its support for Micro:bit Educational Foundation’s mission to enable and inspire all children to participate in the digital world. Tynker has launched 2 new courses—micro:bit 101 and MicroPython 101–to enable students to build micro:bit projects using Tynker Blocks and MicroPython programming languages. The combination of Tynker’s intuitive programming tools and student-focused approach to learning with the micro:bit pocket-sized computer’s many features will empower students to program a range of devices—ranging from motors to LEDs to speakers—to create their own inventions.

“Micro:bit Educational Foundation and Tynker share virtually the same identical vision: to inspire every child to create their best digital future,” said Hal Speed, Chief of Global Engagement, Micro:bit Educational Foundation. “Tynker’s unique and innovative micro:bit implementation will help students around the world bring to life even more creations, from wearables to multiplayer games and more---the possibilities are endless.”

MICRO:BIT PROGRAMMING IN TYNKER WORKSHOP, TYNKER APP AND TYNKER CODE EDITOR

For beginning coders to be able to customize the features of a micro:bit device in their programs, Tynker has released a new category of code blocks, accessible through a Web browser via Tynker Workshop as well as in Tynker’s free iPad tablet app.

More experienced coders can program a micro:bit device in Tynker Code Editor using MicroPython, a subset of the popular Python programming language which has been optimized to run on microcontrollers.

Students are introduced to these new coding blocks via two new courses: micro:bit 101 and MicroPython 101. Details about these new courses are available at http://www.tynker.com. The courses are included as part of Tynker’s Premium Plans and are also available for standalone purchase.

To give students a head start in building applications to control connected devices, lessons in the 2 courses will guide children to build a range of micro:bit projects, including:

  • Emoji Thermometer – Using the built-in thermometer sensor, program micro:bit to show a unique visual indicator based on the temperature;
  • Endless Racer – Using the built-in LED grid as a game display, implement an endless racer game using the accelerometer and buttons to tilt and move your racecar;
  • Morse Code Communication – Using the two-way radio, build a HAM radio communicator to send and receive Morse code signals between 2 micro:bit devices;
  • Wearables for Sport and Fitness– Build a pedometer by detecting the gesture of a running step and implement a lap timer using the built-in time functions;
  • Finders Keepers – Use signal strength to detect proximity and build a group Treasure Hunt game connecting up to 32 micro:bit devices where everyone hunts for hidden treasure – another micro:bit device; and
  • Insanity Game – Detect if the user can thread a key through a wire maze without touching the key to the wire and completing a circuit.

“Over 60 million kids have used Tynker to create apps, make games, write stories, and control drones and toys,” said Krishna Vedati, co-founder and CEO of Tynker. “By extending the Tynker platform to support micro:bit devices, we are expanding their coding skills to create applications that power smart devices in the world of physical computing, further enabling them to become hands-on ‘makers of tomorrow’.”

USE MICRO:BIT IN UNTETHERED MODE

In order to fully leverage the micro:bit’s portability, Tynker has built a tiny virtual machine extension to the micro:bit firmware so that kids’ Tynker Block programs can run on a micro:bit with no tethered connection from a desktop computer or tablet. Once the code is flashed onto the micro:bit device, children can wear the micro:bit as a bracelet or can pin it to their clothing or costume to show it off as they please. This enables students to build true wearable computing projects that can run autonomously on the micro:bit without requiring a computer or tablet to run any other code.

EMPOWERING A NEW GENERATION OF INVENTORS

With the addition of micro:bit to Tynker’s already growing collection of connected toys and extension libraries, students can now further unleash their imaginations to invent cool physical gadgets. Examples include:

  • Build a micro:bit joystick to play Minecraft
  • Create a micro:bit controller to fly a drone
  • Design a musical instrument with fruits and vegetables
  • Program Alexa to water the plants with a micro:bit moisture sensor

What will they invent next?

About Tynker

Tynker empowers kids of all ages to become Makers by enabling them to develop coding skills to design, develop, and power animations, games, toys, smart devices and more. The company’s award-winning platform helps to engage students at home, at school, and on the go, so they develop the critical thinking, reasoning and programming skills that turn them into the Makers of today and tomorrow. Tynker’s highly successful STEM teaching platform has been used by one in three U.S. K-8 schools, 90,000 schools globally and over 60 million kids across 150 countries. Tynker’s partners include some of the world’s most respected brands including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mattel, PBS, Lego and more. Tynker is accessible from any computer with an Internet browser, as well as via the Tynker and Tynker Junior mobile apps, and offers both a free and paid subscription option. For more information, visit http://www.tynker.com.

About Micro:bit Educational Foundation

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit organization with the vision of inspiring every child to create their best digital future. Originally developed by the BBC, the micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that makes learning coding easy and fun while enabling students to express their creativity. The micro:bit is available in over 60 countries with a large community of organizations providing teaching resources, software editors and hardware accessories. For more information, visit http://www.microbit.org.

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