Institute of Imagination teams up with British Council to deliver creative learning workshops in locations around the world.

The iOi are excited to be teaming up with British Council to support Do your: bit – the Micro:bit Global Challenge, an international competition for young people led by the Micro:bit Educational Foundation. This week we’ve touched down in Hong Kong to support teachers to transform classrooms into creative, interdisciplinary learning spaces as part of the project.

What’s the Micro:bit Global Challenge?

This competition challenges children aged 8-14 to get creative with the micro:bit, a tiny programmable computer, and invent a solution to two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

Anyone in the age range can enter from around the world until 23 March 2020 and children with the winning ideas will be awarded a trip to London with their parent/guardian, funded by the Foundation.

There will be 6 regional winners – each from Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Pacific, Africa, and Middle East. The competition is all about invention, imagination and social good, encouraging children to respond to the real world challenges around them.

Hackathons and having ideas

You can support young people to get involved in the competition by hosting a Hackathon. These one-day events celebrate how the world could be improved through design thinking and innovation, using the micro:bit as a tool. But how do you run a Hackathon? That’s where we come in!

In partnership with the British Council, we’re supporting educators to run engaging Hackathons that will inspire children to think creatively with their digital projects. It’s all very well knowing how to make a micro:bit work, but how do you create an environment for children to invent ideas across subject disciplines? Ideas like last year’s winners from Europe, ‘Team Veliki’, who created ‘spine:bit’ – a device that tells you if your posture is incorrect. Quite an amazing application of the tech!

Training the trainers

This week, two of our expert facilitators, James Brown and Michelle Borda, are in Hong Kong to deliver teacher training workshops. The workshops aim to help teachers to use digital tools imaginatively, to support a variety of learning needs across subject disciplines. A problem that teachers have often expressed is that they know how micro:bit works, but don’t feel confident working with it creatively to spark the interest of students. As well as supporting teachers directly with workshops, we’ve co-created a Hackathon guide with British Council which suggests the tools, techniques and spaces you might need to run a Hackathon yourself in the classroom, an informal learning space, a community hub or even at home.

The workshops focus on creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication as much as the coding skills needed to make the Micro:bit work. They allow participants to combine the tool with low-tech materials like cardboard, rubber bands, wire, motors, LEDs and speakers to bring ideas to life. The focus is on limitless creative capacity – there are no set outcomes, so tinkering and experimenting is encouraged. The environment is supportive and interdisciplinary and encourages teachers to set up a similar spaces in their classrooms. Inclusivity and playfulness work just as well with digital tools as low tech materials do, even more so when you combine them. The workshops use ideas for running a Hackathon as a starting point, but most importantly give teachers inter-disciplinary approaches that can be used in the classroom for any project, whatever the tools available.

Resources for you

If you’re looking for resources to support running a Hackathon or getting involved in the competition download the Hackathon guide here, co-created by Institute of Imagination and British Council.

You can also check out the micro:bit foundation website and the British Council Connecting Classrooms resources.


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