Setup the Software – BBC micro:bit

Great news! Nothing to setup, no registration, no installs, just go to https://www.microbit.co.uk.

There are 4 ways of programming a BBC micro:bit which all have their pro’s and con’s. We are mostly interested in controlling a robot & other physical computing activities and the micro:bit has 6 easy to program input/output connections. We can do plenty of things with 6 I/O pins but compared to an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi, this isn’t many. So we consider the micro:bit great for beginner activities and to that end, our examples use the Block Editor.

To get to the programming area, go to https://www.microbit.co.uk/app and click a “Create Code” link:

There is one top right on the menu:
microbit Top right menu

The other is at the bottom of the list on the left:
microbit Create Code

Choose the Block Editor icon and you’ll be ready to rock:
microbit Block Editor icon

If you know any Scratch at all, you’ll be right at home straight away with this way of programming. Don’t worry if you’ve never done Scratch before, these sorts of programming tools are literally drag & drop.

You’ll notice that there is a Sign In option in the top right – this is for teachers and authorised & vetted educators only and is not needed for normal use. The ChickBot head of hacking, Nick, has been given a login by the BBC so that we can share code snippets with you.

All your programs are saved in the browser that you use – they will not move from computer to computer unless you choose to save the program file. We recommend Google Chrome on both Windows & Mac OS as it seems to work the best but we’re quite happy with FireFox, Internet Explorer, Edge (Windows 10) and Safari (Mac OS).

Complete beginners intro videos

If this is your first time with a micro:bit we have a couple of recordings you can watch to see what all of this means.

First, here is a hardware overview so you know what all the parts of the micro:bit are.

This is a sequence of basic activities to introduce programming using the Block Editor.