Making Things With Computer Hardware
The BBC Micro:bit is a small computer known as a "microcontroller" that you can program and add electronics to in order to create your own hardware projects. Unlike a full-sized computer, a Micro:bit does not have a screen or keyboard, instead, you connect it to a desktop PC or laptop and send custom programs to it via a USB cable.
We have standardised on using the Grove system for connecting additional electronics to our Micro:bits. Using a board such as the Bitmaker Lite it is possible to connect a wide range of sensors and controllers to the Micro:bit without soldering or plugging things in the wrong way around. Grove compatible hardware is widely available from UK and overseas sellers.
Alternatives to Micro:bit
The BBC Micro:bit is just one of many microcontroller systems that are available. We like the Micro:bit because it comes with onboard sensors, buttons and LEDs (and a speaker on the v2), it is easy to connect to a host computer and it can be programmed visually with MakeCode (or Scratch) and using the Python language (or Arduino IDE). It also has a great online community of users. If you want to try using some of the alternative systems then we suggest you start by looking at Arduino, Raspberry Pi Pico and Particle Photon.