Last May, the BBC announced an ambitious plan to give 1 million schoolchildren a micro device designed to motivate them to learn coding. Now, after a few bumps on the road, the mini drill finally falls into the hands of the children.
This miniature device can be plugged into a computer and programmed to do all kinds of cool things, and seventh graders in Britain are told that this is their business.
Some early exposure to microbits came up with amazing projects-such as a school in Yorkshire ballooned a microbit 32km (20 miles) into the air, bringing back pictures of its journey to the edge of space.
But with all the excitement of young people getting a new toy, this is where the serious stuff begins. How this project is changing the way children learn and participate in technology has put forward a lot of demands. Now, it's up to the teacher to do it.
I talked to two people who had different ideas about the microcosm. Steve Hodges, an engineer at Microsoft who was closely involved in the design of the device, drew Buddie, a computer director at a girls'school and President of the Educational Technology Association naace.
Steve told me that his entire career in computing began with the microcomputer in the 1980s.
"I begged my parents to buy me one to go home. I told them that if they bought me a BBC micro-tv, I would never ask for anything again! " He recalls.
He hoped that the micro-drill bit would be equally inspiring.
Unlike his generation, today's children already have access to all kinds of computers, so the goals are different.
"We built a small, low-power "embedded" device that actually needed a normal computer to program. In a world of wearables, connected gadgets and the Internet of Things, micro bit is both relevant and unusual, just like BBC Micro 35 years ago," he says.
Drew was so passionate about micro-world goals, he thought back to his childhood.
"For those of us who work in the BBC micro-department, we feel that we are at the forefront of the revival of that era," he said.
But he was frustrated by the repeated delays in introducing the device to the school.
Teachers have been in the micro position for several weeks, but they are sent to children at the end of the term.
"BBC seems to have a view that once these devices are available, teachers are ready to give up everything to use them," Drew said. "
Procrastination is understandable - bringing together a consortium of companies to produce something that must be exciting, educational and safe is always a challenge. A difficulty arose when the team realized that the original version of the small watch battery could pose a choking hazard to the siblings when the device was brought home.
"The real challenge is the scale of the project, " said Steve Hodges.
Usually, a company will start producing thousands of new equipment.
“But we knew that we would be manufacturing one million devices from day one so we needed to plan for every eventuality we could think of to make the device as feature-rich, safe and robust as we could,“ he explains.
I asked Steve, wouldn't it be better to give the children a raspberry skin? Raspberry peel is a popular quasi-system computer.
He thinks the two devices are used at the same time, but he says the, Micro Bit is designed to attract "students who prefer a more hands-on and tactile learning style, otherwise they will find programming less attractive".
A key characteristic of microstops is that they do not belong to schools or teachers, but to children. However, it seems that some teachers do not agree with the idea.
Drue said a large body of data "seems to suggest that they will try to preserve school equipment by preventing students from bringing it home" .
But he said it wouldn't happen in her school.
"my attitude is that I will give them to the girls because they belong to them," he said.
He is still keen to start some projects and thinks that his students will be keen to use their micro bits to make some wearable technologies. However, he said that some early motivation has been lost, and micro drills will be taught at lunchtime and after-school clubs instead of being included in the curriculum.
The BBC program focuses on pupils who entered seventh grade last September.
So what happens to those who enter seventh grade in September?
There is talk of turning the microbit into a commercial product, which is certainly a possibility given the interest in it. Then the school must decide whether to buy more equipment.
BBC Micro had a great influence in schools and other places throughout the 1980s, inspiring a generation of computing and game entrepreneurs.
It is a big act to follow, but let‘s hope the Micro Bit can now begin to open a new generation‘s eyes to the creative potential of computing.