Micro:bits workshop

In April 2024 School of Informatics PhD students Vid and Kim ran a Micro:bits workshop at Deans Primary School in Livingston.

Vidminas Vizgirda is a PhD student in ILCC, working on facilitating the discoverability of educational resources in schools in Scotland. His project is about investigating the needs and challenges of primary and secondary school teachers in Scotland involved in finding, using, and sharing educational resources online. The first exploratory stage of his project involves interviews with primary and secondary school teachers, teacher trainees, and other school staff to define the processes involved and how these processes are situated in the teacher’s work context. 

In return for teachers’ time, he offers to run workshops for teachers and/or pupils on computing topics such as making games with Scratch, hardware computing with Micro:bits, or generative AI.  

One of the teachers who took him up on the offer was a science teacher from Deans Primary School in Livingston and she suggested a Micro:bit workshop was what would work best for her pupils. 

Vid enlisted the help of a fellow PhD student, Kim Stonehouse. Kim is doing her PhD in ICSA and is interested in compilers, operating systems, parallel architectures, and virtualisation. 

Photo of a child's hand on a laptop keyboard

Kim and Vid, supported by the teacher ran w day of Micro:bit workshops for children from different age groups (from P4 to P6). Most pupils were completely new to Micro:bits.  

Topics covered during the workshops included 

  • what the various parts of a Micro:bit are,  
  • how to safely and correctly plug in USB cables (into the right port and the right way around without breaking!),  
  • how to open a code editor in a browser,  
  • how to arrange code blocks to draw a shape,  
  • and how to upload the code to a Micro:bit and see it running.  

Some of the more experienced children went on to make animations and add interaction with buttons.  

A photo of a child and an adult in front if the laptop screen

At the end of each workshop, participants reflected on where they might see something like the Micro:bit LED arrays in real life. Children produced examples like traffic signs, bus labels, and shop displays – someone even said, “it’s like Micro:bits are everywhere!”.  

When asked how much they enjoyed the workshop out of 5, many raised 10 fingers (both hands) or even 20 (including feet). We hope these workshops inspired pupils at Deans Primary School and showed them how computing can be a fun subject to study! 

In the coming months, Vid will continue his outreach and would be happy to organise more workshops, so the research is not just about taking time but also giving back to the participating teachers.  

Interested teachers are welcome to sign up.  

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