The project includes 84 percent of all primary schools in Croatia, involving more than 2,200 teachers and 38,000 students.
Yesterday and today, 38,000 BBC micro:bits will be distributed to schools throughout Croatia. All sixth-grade students in 84 percent of primary schools in Croatia which are taking part in the project will use them in class and for extracurricular activities, as well as at home.
The ProMikro project is the collaboration of the Institute for Development and Innovativeness of the Youth (IRIM), CARNet and the Ministry of Science and Education. The aim is to introduce digital literacy and computing in an interdisciplinary and creative way. The project continues the highly successful STEM Revolution initiative in which over a thousand educational institutions in Croatia received 20 micro:bits each.
In the meantime, by using this same technology, some local self-government units have introduced computer science classes in their schools – Varaždin County for all students from the first to the fourth grade, Osijek for fifth-grade students, etc.
BBC micro:bit is an exciting new technology which, at extremely accessible prices, offers a productive programming environment and a whole ecosystem which has already been used as an important teaching tool in schools, in, for example, Great Britain, Iceland and Singapore. The non-profit Micro:Bit Foundation was established by BBC, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, ARM and others, and the IRIM is their partner in Croatia.
Microcomputers for all sixth-grade students in Croatia have been provided by the CARNet – and other schools can still apply for the project.
The IRIM has designed the project, administered applications, developed teaching content and organised training for teachers. For 2,200 teachers, two cycles of training workshops were held (introductory and for individual subjects). About 1,750 teachers attended the workshops – since some of them had already been educated as part of the STEM Revolution project. The third cycle of advanced seminars is also planned.
Financial support for training was provided by the Croatian Employers’ Association, while the Croatian Post distributed the micro:bits.
Teacher education is a vital part of the project and has been completed with excellent results. For example, among teachers who attended the second round of workshops, as many as 40% of them (around 700) had never programmed before. After just two workshops, most of them felt capable of teaching students programming on the BBC micro:bits (data gathered on a sample of over 1,000 respondents). This percentage will undoubtedly continue to grow after further training. Undoubtedly, this is a transformational initiative in the education of teachers.
Apart from workshops, educational materials are also available online at an instructional website where people can see how to use microcomputers in various subjects, educate themselves about the basics of using microcomputers (basic and advanced level), and can also view various projects created with a micro:bits.
All project participants, as well as others interested parties, can use the micro:bit forum to discuss, post new information and search for solutions if they have difficulties using the equipment.