It is no secret the UK has a technical skills shortage with less younger people going down that chosen career route. This is why Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Libraries are helping to support Europe Code Week.

Newcastle Libraries in association with BBC micro:bit are encouraging young people, from 7-15 years old, to explore the wonderful world of coding by providing them with a chance to borrow a portable micro:bit kit and even take it home with them…all free of charge!

Newcastle Libraries and BBC micro:bit have been working together for a number of months. The partnership has seen young people, and sometimes their parents, dabble for the first time with coding – a subject that has numerous educational, professional and social uses. The Newcastle scheme is part of a national lending programme.

Newcastle Libraries has almost 100 BBC micro:bit kits available in libraries across the city that can be hooked up to any PC or even powered through a 9V battery.  The kits enable young people to learn basic coding that lights up LEDs on a palm sized circuit board. The LEDs will display shapes and sequences that are programmed into the micro:bit. A step-by-step instruction pamphlet is provided.

The Micro:bit Education Foundation is a non-profit organisation enabling children around the world to get creative with technology and gain digital skills in school, in clubs and at home.

Councillor Kim McGuinness, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities, said: “This simple but effective way of learning shows how diverse the Newcastle Libraries’ experience can be throughout the city. The library is providing useful and creative opportunities for young people to learn new skills that can be beneficial at school or even lead to a potential career pathway.

“It shows how far libraries have come from being a book lender to a hub for new skills, learning and creativity. This also represents our commitment to being a digitally friendly Council.”

Europe Code Week actually runs for a fortnight from 7-22 October 2017 #codeEU but the BBC micro:bit kits are available all year round from your local library. If for some reason they aren’t available, a kit can be ordered and reserved for you to use for up to 4-weeks. This could also be a wonderful outreach resource for primary and secondary schools to explore.

Website zone:

www.codeweek.eu / Europe Code Week
www.microbit.org / BBC micro:bit
https://library.newcastle.gov.uk / Newcastle Libraries

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