Expedition micro:bit – inspiring Dutch children to code

Think back to your early childhood. What do you remember? Running around the school playground? Learning maths? Creating a huge mess in art class?

For most of us reading this, we’ll have plenty of memories from attending school as young children – but hardly any of us will have any memories of using a computer and learning to code.

Times have moved on, of course. Technology has changed so much for the better, and it will only continue to do so at a faster and faster rate.

For today’s children, this means that we all have a duty to provide them with the tools and knowledge they require, so that they can take advantage of the opportunity that technology (and the transformation it brings with it) will offer them in future.

As part of Europe Code Week, countries from across the world have run countless workshops and events to encourage children to embrace technology. In the Netherlands, one such initiative was Expedition micro:bit.

Inspiring the coders of the future
Launched by FutureNL – a foundation dedicated to providing children with digital skills – Expedition micro:bit aims to help reduce the digital skill gap of Dutch children, to ensure that future demand for technologically skilled individuals is met.

Working with schools, governments, universities and businesses like Microsoft – which supports the foundation through its YouthSpark program – Expedition micro:bit saw 474 primary schools in the Netherlands receive 20 miniature BBC micro:bit computers, alongside ten lesson plans designed to educate both students and teachers alike.

The micro:bit itself is a pocket-sized programmable computer which is designed to introduce children to coding, opening up a whole world of digital possibilities. Two of the device’s most popular code editors – Block Editor and Touch Develop – were also developed by Microsoft, providing users with a strong foundation to get to grips with the basics of coding.

Aimed at six to eight year-olds, the Expedition micro:bit initiative launched in late September, with the grand finale taking place during Europe Code Week.

Microsoft Netherlands’ General Manager, Ernst-Jan Stigter opened the final exhibition, stating that “If we want to stimulate the digitization of the Netherlands and its growth, then you have to start in primary school classes.”

Only through initiatives like these, will future generations be prepared to harness the good that technological change can bring. As an organisation whose mission is to enable each person and organisation on the planet to achieve more, Microsoft is proud to sponsor these initiatives to ensure the future is brighter for all.