Simplifying text-based programming - the micro:bit Python Editor, one year on
Celebrating a year of the micro:bit Python Editor, bringing simple text-based programming to even more students around the world.
Why a new Python editor?
Python is the most widely used and fastest growing developer language in the world and has a broad application of uses, but it can be difficult to get started with text-based programming and see how it works in the real world. Some of the common challenges associated with text-based coding include:
- the need to remember valid instructions and precise syntax
- student keyboard skills
- the need to remember to use indentations.
A user-centred approach
We created the micro:bit Python Editor to add additional features that give guidance in a simple and straightforward way, help identify errors and allow users to easily test their code. Creating the micro:bit Python Editor was a great journey for us. We took a truly user-centred approach, incorporating research with teachers and students at each stage to help us create the right set of features that work for an educational context.
A year later
A year on, our editor has been used over a million times around the world. Some of the most popular features to help overcome the common challenges include:
- the ability to drag and drop instructions from the Reference section
- the auto complete feature
- the error handling
- the simulator.
To support educators to teach using Python, we provide lots of resources that are completely free to use.
- Professional development short course: Introducing the micro:bit Python Editor
- A range of projects to use with the Python Editor
- Webinars (next one one on 15 November 2023)
Making further improvements
We are also working on a new professional development course and a set of teaching and learning resources to support the use of Python with the micro:bit, which will be available in 2024.
We continue to work on our editor to improve it for our users. To help us prioritise what we work on next, a survey is running to gather feedback from teachers who have used the micro:bit Python Editor. If you can spare time to complete it we would be so grateful. It includes a number of features we are considering for the future, from the option to login, to an offline mode, and you are welcome to add your own too.
Help improve the micro:bit Python Editor
What do you think of the micro:bit Python Editor? Complete our survey to share your views.
Work is also planned to further improve the accessibility. If you have accessibility needs, or teach students with SEND requirements, we would particularly love to hear how the editor has worked with this in mind and anything we could do to improve the accessibility.
The micro:bit Python Editor is currently available in nine languages with more to come. If you are able to support our community translation then please do register.