Inside information for the primary teacher thinking about adding Micro controllers to their primary computing curriculum or using them to enhance a STEM curriculum.
Never in educational technology has so much good kit cost so little money. With the Crumble classic weighing in at £9 (bulk purchase price) for the board only and the Micro:bit only costing £12.50 for the board only (bulk purchase price) both these accessories won’t break the school bank or cause the head teacher to lose sleep.
Both devices use free block-based programming languages which look and function like Scratch. The Crumble has its own downloadable language available on Windows and Macs. The Micro:bit edges it in this category as it will soon have Scratch 3 integration. Many primary schools use Scratch so this will be a big plus for the Micro:bit.
Currently Crumble programming needs to be done on a full computer where as the Micro:bit can be programmed on a tablet.
The light panel output on the front of the Micro:bit is easy to use for primary pupils and the built-in buttons programmed using Scratch 3 will be a great way to add a level of simple physical programming to lots of Scratch 3 programming projects. It is much harder to program and control motors with the Micro:bit making it less useful for many primary stem projects. The Micro:bit was originally designed for the KS3 market so it has built in sensor inputs and these are great to stretch your more able primary programmer. The Crumble is designed with Motors in mind and the easy connection and dual motor support is very useful for primary STEM projects.
There are plenty of output (lights, buzzers, motors) and input (buttons, sensors) accessories for both devices manufactured by a range of suppliers, so you won’t be subject to price hikes brought about by monopolies.
My advice would be to decide what you want to do with the devices before purchasing either. If you want to add an aspect of physical computing to your mainly screen based Scratch program of study in UKS2 then the Micro:bit will be your first choice. If you want to develop a primary STEM curriculum based around Computing and DT, then the Crumble is your best bet. What a great win win choice to have!
4th September 2018