In recent years, there has been a shortage of school leavers with the skills universities need for a career in computer science. The Confederation of British Industry stated that a quarter of firms who needed STEM qualified staff were having trouble recruiting.

 

Reports like the Government commissioned Next Gen report stated that this is due to an education system that didn’t understand industry needs. And so in 2012, the Education Secretary scrapped the existing ICT curriculum for new courses of study in computer science.

 

In 2016, school children in the UK will receive a device called the micro:bit for free. The BBC has already been working closely with hundreds of schools, so you may already know something about it.

 

The goal of the campaign is to inspire digital creativity in children. The micro:bit is a gadget aimed specifically at absolute beginners, teaching them software and hardware basics, but with interesting features such as LED lights, a compass and accelerometer.

 

We're already making a difference


Why is the micro:bit gaining attention? The popularity of games like Minecraft and the increasing popularity of hacker spaces shows that there is still an in-built human urge to make things. The resurgence of our personal ability to do this is called the maker movement.

 

Intel has been working in this area for a few years. We know kids love getting hands-on in building stuff and naturally gravitate to it – think Lego. With our Galileo programmable electronics board, we're getting students working on The Internet of Things (IoT) projects to develop their skills in electronics and coding.

 

More powerful than the micro:bit, the Galileo is aimed at students who've developed an interest in making stuff and want to know more. Year 10 and 12 Students from the Writhlington School near Bath have worked with Intel in using Galileo in capturing and analysing live web stream data.

 

And if they want something with even more potential for experimentation, students can also use the Edison development platform – a more powerful board which can be used for more complex projects.

 


The maker movement helps, as it encourages children to hack, build and make stuff. And with the availability of devices like the Galileo, Edison, micro:bit and Raspberry Pi, learning to code in a fun way has never been easier.

 

Why STEM and the Internet of Things matter


This is all feeding into an 'Internet of Things', understanding how things like watches, cars and buildings are getting smart through the connected world.

 

This stuff can change the world. Kids can get inspired and passionate about STEM subjects which will turn them into the innovators of the future. This starts with you – the teachers.

 

So are you prepared? Are you getting the help you need to handle IoT devices like the micro:bit and Galileo? Let us know.

 

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