Micro:bit SLUG

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Micro:bit Sri Lanka User Group

Micro:bit Sri Lanka from its initiation has strived to empower the community. The mother organization, Micro:bit Education Foundation which promotes coding among the younger generation is based on UK and they were mainly focused on expanding its reach across Europe. There was no initiative to educate the Sri Lankan student community about micro:bit based coding. Therefore, by reaching the Micro:bit Education Foundation and presenting our plans we established the Micro:bit Sri Lanka as the local community organization. When Sri Lanka became a part of the micro:bit community we received devices and learning materials with the mission of helping future innovators to increase computer programming capabilities and empower every child in Sri Lanka. Micro:bit Sri Lanka conducted its first awareness session in the rural village of Udubaddawa, Kuliyapitiya through an hour of code for school children rather than kickstarting with an introductory session in Colombo.

From that day onward, we have conducted awareness sessions, distribution of free micro:bit devices, conducted ideation competitions and provided support for micro:bit user groups abroad. The organization consists of young 500+ volunteers from professional organisations and universities to lay the foundation of coding among youngsters in Sri Lanka. The target student audience is from 11- 13 years, 14- 18 years and university students. Thereby it has been proved that Micro:bit Sri Lanka was established, carried out and will be striving in the path to empower the community. Micro:bit Sri Lanka was presented with a special award by mother foundation, The Micro:bit Education Foundation as the first official Micro:bit Community Organization in the world due to its initiatives to introduce children to programming. Please read our annual report for more information: http://microbitslug.org/report

The newly launched Micro:bit communities in Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Croatia have adopted the programs and are now following the footsteps of the volunteers in Sri Lanka. It can be considered as a major victory for the Micro:bit Sri Lanka since we empower not only the local community but also in a global scale. National Hour of code session in Temple Trees, the American Center Colombo, Defense Services College Colombo and 300+ sessions island wide. (Please visit our Facebook page and web site for more & latest info) Micro:bit in Library Program (Library members can borrow Micro:bit device along with a starter guide book which is available in English and Sinhala from the Colombo Public library. We are planning to launch this program in couple of other libraries soon) Teacher Training Workshops Volunteer Training Workshops District wise mini Hackathons Microsoft Make Code platform localized in to Sinhala and Tamil This is the block-based platform which can be used to program the device. Micro:bit Global web site and its contents including tutorials localized in to Sinhala and Tamil Help Support desk and knowledge base is running in Sinhala, Tamil and English Hack:Bit Island-wide hackathon Video Tutorial Series for beginners. Educational tutorial series on Nenasa educational TV channel. 200+ Micro:bit devices given away disadvantaged school children.

Our objective was to let kids learn computer programming in a different way. We have to use computer screen and the keyboard for inputs and outputs when we learn computer programming in the traditional way. What we tried was to find a solution to let kids learn computer programming in an interesting way. Micro:bit was the best option. Originally Micro:bit and its eco-system was targeting European countries. It is not possible to use it as it is in Sri Lanka. Micro:bit SLUG team used innovative ways to take this device to children. That is how Micro:bit Sri Lanka User Group came in to the picture. Target group is 11- 13 years, 14- 18 years and university students. Micro:bit Educational Foundation, UK is our main supporting body. Apart from that for certain projects we are partnering with local organizations like Microsoft and UNICEF to find required funds. We are a fully volunteer based organization. We have 400+ registered volunteers from all around the country. They are the ones who conduct and monitor those activities. Micro:bit Sri Lanka recently held the first ever micro:bit based hackathon in Sri Lanka, Hack:Bit 2018 for schoolers and university students. The first round of the competition-the ideation stage was completed recently, where 25 teams were selected to the finals (14 school teams, 11 university teams) The final competition will comprise of a hackathon and a presentation in front of an esteemed panel of judges where the winners will be selected on 7th of July at Trace Expert City. The objective of the competition is to promote and motivate students to engage in digital innovation using micro:bits. At the end of 2018, we have estimated a reach of 10K+ children island wide thereby getting close to the aim of promoting coding among children.

Please visit microbitslug.org for more information.