If you are interested in teaching your students how to code using hardware or simulated hardware, you have come to the right place. Here, we are going to show you how to get started with building out your own micro:bit classroom. This classroom is going enable you to assign projects and code to your students. You’ll then be able to monitor student progress in near real time. If you’ve been thinking about wanting to use micro:bit in your personal class, but weren’t too sure on how to get started, then this article is just for you. Not only is utilizing micro:bit in your class a great idea, but it allows you to expand the learning potential of your students. Go to micro:bit classroom – Beta to start your classroom session.
Follow the steps below to get started.
Give your activity a name. Name it something fun!
Choose Your Language
Choose the programing language you will like your students to use. MakeCode uses blocks and Python is using the micro:bit python code.
Determine Your Storage Preference
Select whether your will be using micro:bit’s temporary local storage or opting out. I highly recommend you opt in to use micro:bit’s temporary storage as it will try to save your session in case you lose your internet connection or something goes wrong.
When you’re done with all three steps, simply click on the dark gray button that says Launch classroom.
The next page that will display is for information only. It gives you instructions on what each of the top right menu bar selections are.
By clicking on the Show me the …. it will simply highlight one of the menu options to guide you on what it is described in the box.
Using the Coding Editor
To start with some code that you can provide to your students click on Editor on the top right menu bar.
To get started, you can drag blocks that you would like your students to use. You can also write a small program and test it to make sure it works, then you can pull the blocks apart. You can add a comment by right clicking on the work area and select Add Comment. The comment area can be a place for you to provide students with instructions. When you are done providing the code blocks and instructions make sure to click on Share code with students button. This is a very important step as this is what allows your students to see the code that they will be using to get started with. You will get the window below letting you know that you have shared the code.
Utilizing the Dashboard to get students in your micro:bit classroom
Now let us go to the Dashboard menu bar selection. Click on Dashboard and this is where you will find the information to share with your students so they can join the classroom.
Let us discuss what you will see in the Dashboard. The student will need the URL, Classroom name (Color, Animal, Transport, and Object), and the PIN to join the classroom. Make sure to prove the students with the details they will need to join the classroom. The URL listed is where your students need to go to enter the classroom. Micro:bit classrooms require a two factor authentication for students to join, one of them is the Classroom name and the second is the PIN. Note that the Classroom name and PIN are automatically provided to you by micro:bit. The values are choose at random and will change if you leave the classroom. If you need to resume your session just give your students the new values and they’ll be able to rejoin your classroom. Please note that as long as you diligently save your session, your students should be able to come back with new values and pin to resume their progress. Finally the last thing you will see is the number of students that have joined the class, this is for your own records, students do not need this.
Monitoring Student Progress
The next menu bar option is Student code, basically this is where you get to see the code your students are working on.
Please look at our article, “Observe, Help and Report using micro:bit classroom“, for more information on this page.
Saving Your Classroom
The final menu option, Save classroom, allows you to save the session and your students’ work. It is important to note that as the teacher/instructor running the classroom, it is important that you save often. Saving often will make copies of the work students are working on in case something goes wrong.
The classroom session will be saved as an html file that you can open by double-clicking. It is also important to note that the teacher/instructor should maintain their session active so that students can work on their activities/projects. When the class is over and it is time to move to something else, make sure to click on Download classroom html file and then End session. End session will terminate all students activities.
In this technical article, you learned how to start your own micro:bit classroom and got an overview of what it has to offer. Follow us to continue reading on more micro:bit classroom functionality and what it has to offer. Also look forward to reading more on other STEM tools, and projects that will be coming soon.