The Micro:bit Educational Foundation has recently released a beta version of the new micro:bit Python Editor.
The new editor has been built from the ground-up with classroom use in mind. It aims to make text-based coding more accessible to students who may find it hard to engage with the subject by removing known barriers to learning. It’s also designed to make computer science appeal to more diverse cohorts and hence expand their horizons.
📖 Browse working code samples and code reference
Starting out in text-based programming, it can be hard for students to know what to type.
The Reference section enables students to explore, drag and drop examples of working code into the editor and use them straight away. This fosters independent and creative learning by making it easy to learn discover and use micro:bit features and core computing concepts like loops, variables and selection.
✅ Intelligent Auto-complete
The auto-complete function gives you valid options as you type, to prompt you with possibilities and remove the need to remember the exact syntax of each command.
⚠️ Error detection
The editor also flags up potential errors such as variables or functions that have not been defined, or code that is unreachable. This can help spot simple typing errors before flashing code to a micro:bit.
🧱 Code structure highlighting
Teachers say that Python’s indentations can be a barrier to successful coding. So, they’ve added subtle line and color highlighting to show where code should line up and help teachers and their students de-bug code.
✨ A bright, attractive user interface
The Foundation aims to make text-based coding more appealing to more young people, so the editor is bright and colorful. Line numbers are clearly displayed and you can make the text as large as you need for showing to your whole class.
⌨️ Serial console
They’ve put a serial console into the editor so you can do more traditional Python coding using your keyboard input and printing to the screen. Your BBC micro:bit becomes a real, tiny physical Python computer you can program and hold in your hand!
You can also use the serial console to read any Python error messages that scroll across the micro:bit’s display, making it easier to debug ‘runtime’ errors.
Python is used worldwide, so educational content will be translated into different languages. The beta editor is already available in French – switch language by clicking on the cog in the sidebar.
Our knowledgebase support.microbit.org is continually being updated with guidance on using the new micro:bit Python Editor. Find out more about how to navigate the editor and how the features work.
Help improve the editor
Help us test and improve the new micro:bit Python editor by using it with your students. You can use the feedback button in the editor or reach out to the Foundation via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your experience in the user research study
The Foundation would like teachers to help them test and improve the new micro:bit Python editor by using it with students and help shape the future of learning text-based coding with the creativity of physical computing.
If you are a teacher and are interested in teaching Python with the BBC micro:bit, they would welcome your feedback. Fill out our short form to apply to join the user study.