Rollout of the BBC’s micro:bit computer designed to teach school children to code has been delayed until late February at the earliest.
After suffering delays to its original October rollout due to power problems, the micro:bit was due to be given to teachers before Christmas 2015 and to school students in 2016.
A BBC spokesperson told V3 that while the rollout is still on track for pupils, teachers can expect to recieve their micro:bits by the end of Febuary at the earliest.
“We’re still on track to begin delivery of up to one million free BBC micro:bits to all year seven pupils across the UK as part of the current term. Teachers are already getting hands-on via the website and a range of events, and they’ll receive their devices just after half-term," the spokesperson said.
The BBC also relayed the news at the London BETT education trade show at which BBC Learning executive Cerys Griffiths explained that the micro:bit still needs some fine tuning.
"We have created the hardware, and it's very complex, very sophisticated and very new. What we were really hoping for was that teachers would get their devices before Christmas,” she said.
"But our commitment to teachers has always been that we would give them the devices first to give them time to play and get familiar with them."
Despite the delays, some schools have been given access to prototype versions of the micro:bit.
Education, education, technology
The delay may be a disappointment for many teachers and pupils, but education secretary Nicky Morgan warned at BETT that technology should not be a substitute for core education.
Morgan emphasised that good teachers and their ability to relay knowledge to students should be aided, rather than dictated, by technology.
“We see education technology as an aid to excellent schools and excellent teachers, not a replacement for them. Probably the worst attitude we can take is that access to search engines is somehow a substitute for knowledge,” she said.
“And we’ve made it clear that teachers are our greatest resource because you can’t have an excellent education system without the highest quality teachers at its front line.
“But there are plenty of ways in which we see technology as an aid. As a starting point there are things that ease the smooth running of school days like capturing data for class registers, attainment and pupil progress.”
Morgan added that technology can aid teaching and that removing the reliance on paper records that sap teachers’ time is a priority. Data combined with open and common standards will facilitate productivity by allowing different education systems to communicate rather than requiring the same data to be replicated and processed several times.
In a bid to drive such an objective, Morgan said that her department is working on new systems for data collection and exchange based on open standards.
Another focus is the provision of broadband in schools, which Morgan said is needed to fuel innovation by young people.
Rolling out broadband to schools is part of the government’s "long-term economic plan" involving funding to the tune of £1.3bn to deliver superfast broadband to the majority of the UK.
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