How to Use Microbits in Teaching?

The importance of microbits in teaching is reflected in the development of digital and programming skills in students, which is necessary for progress in the 21st century.

The microbits have arrived in our schools. I believe that now is important to provide good support for teachers to use them, and for that purpose I have designed a handbook entitled: "Control of electromechanical models using microbit devices'' which can be found on the website and which accompanies the program for technique and technology for eighth grade schools. The entire project was led by Petlja foundation under the patronage of British Council-a.

Handbook cover layout

When I started working on the handbook, I followed the eighth grade program for technique and technology on the one hand, and on the other hand I gave the handbook a personal touch, a personal contribution in order to draw attention to what is missing to understand the role of microbites and connect it to the smart, connected devices we use and are surrounded by. I pointed out that the broader context is actually cybernetics, which represents the logic of control and mechatronics, which combines knowledge from electronics, mechanics, computing and robotics.

Essentially, a microbit is a microcontroller that represents the mind of smart devices. The microbit board has several sensors on it, but it is possible to add more sensors next to them. The microbit is programmed in the MicroPayton, which is a scripting language, but it is also possible to program it in block languages.

In addition to acquiring technical knowledge, working with the microbit enables the development of students' motivation for technique and technology, as well as for informatics. The microbit is a teaching tool that rewards you, if you program it well, by making the device work according to your idea. If you do not program it well, it will not work the way you wanted, but it will give you the opportunity to correct it. By encouraging the student during the work with the microbit, the teacher builds perseverance in the student, while by praising the end result, the teacher builds persistence and the desire for the student to repeat that result.
The microbit handbook for technique and technology, which can be found on Petlja website, covers the areas of "Technical and Digital Literacy" and "Constructive Modeling".

The content of the handbook is as follows:
1. Theoretical part related to the design of smart devices
2. Basic components of ICT devices
3. Basic symbols in Electrical Engineering
4. Computer software for simulation of electrical and electronic circuits
5. Remote management of processes and things with the help of ICT
6. Development and management of electromechanical model
7. Modeling of electrical machines and devices
8. Trials with solar panels
9. Using the computer management interface
10. Making a simple school robot
11. Working on a project

The handbook is full of animations of ICT devices, and you can see some of them on this and the following link, as well as the steps on how to get from the idea to their realization. The basic steps are: making a logical table, drawing an electronic scheme, realization on a protoboard, demonstration of work from a video and program code in MicroPayton. Also, the handbook represents a big step towards the application of new technologies in education from a theoretical and practical point of view.

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