The BBC has announced it plans to give away one million mini-computers to schoolchildren across the country.
The move is part of its ‘Make it Digital’ initiative, an effort to broaden computing horizons for the current generation of students.
The computers, dubbed ‘Micro Bits’, are barebones systems reminiscent of the Raspberry Pi microcomputer.
Typically, the complexities of computing systems create a barrier to entry for many children.
The basic design of these computers, however, should make it easy for schoolchildren to get to grips with the inner-workings of computing systems.
All pupils starting secondary school in the coming autumn term will receive the computers.
The BBC also hopes to launch a programming-centric television series, including a new documentary based on the making of the Grand Theft Auto video games.
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According to the BBC, the UK is facing ‘a significant skills shortage’, with 1.4 million digital professionals estimated to be needed in the next five years.
The Make it Digital initiative is backed by a host of technology organisations, including Microsoft, Google, and BT.
Tony Hall, director-general at the BBC, said: “This is exactly what the BBC is all about – bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions.”
“Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future.”
He added: “Only the BBC can bring partners together to attempt something this ambitious, this important to Britain’s future on the world stage.”