Friday, 11 September 2015

Everyone can be a Maker - A BBC Make It Digital Campaign

The BBC initiative Make it Digital continues on its campaign to build awareness of digital skills with the launch of a major new content season, including TV and Radio programmes, and online content. The campaign hopes to build interest amongst young people in the technology industry as the UK faces a huge skills gap. The Make It Digital live tour over the summer was a success according to the BBC and there are still a few event dates for September. We were lucky enough to go to one of the events close to home, with our kids. They had a fantastic time trying out the new Doctor Who Game Maker and exploring the tiny programmable computer, Microbit. In September the BBC is putting on a huge amount of content to inspire a next generation of digital makers.

We took a closer look to help you navigate what is on offer and what content you would like to watch, listen to or make online.

Nine programmes on TV: The full listing of programmes are available here. It already started with a programme about a key code breakers during World War II on the 7th of September, but it is available on BBC iPlayer now. Other programmes during this season include The Gamechangers, a two part drama series, Girls Can Code, a talent show with a difference and more. They are only airing in September, so make sure you don't miss you.

Over 25 programmes on Radio: A full list of radio programmes can be seen here. Again they are running in September with the first show kicking off this week on Radio 5 and next week on Radio 4. It looks like an interest list of programmes, so get those digital radios tuned in and check the BBC schedule.

Online Content: The BBC is making available a range on new online content, mostly on iWonder, including the exclusive availability of the BBC Four archive collection of Back to BASIC.

Intelligent Machines Week: From the 14th to 19th of September the BBC will air special reports across TV, Radio and online about anything from artificial intelligence, to robots transforming the world we live in.

Digital Initiatives: This includes a range of content namely The Mixital, Doctor Who Game Maker (launches 15 Sept and will be available here: and Matchr, a way for 16 - 19 years old to discover digital career opportunities.

The Mixital website offers over 13 year old the opportunity to make digital creations. It is still in BETA version and so testing it out and providing them with feedback helps make the site better. The website is part of a range of content the BBC is putting together to promote digital skills in the UK. The Mixital site can be viewed without being signed in, but if you would like to create, save and share content you'll need to sign up for an account. Under 16s will need a parents permission and the BBC states all content is moderated to keep the site accessible and friendly for all to enjoy.

-BBC Introducing: Vizii - add visuals to a music track and share your creation. There's a library of music and graphics to choose from.

-Robo-Dancers: Make a robot move but changing the code. You can do this either by changing sliders or dig into the code and change variables, and see how your changes impacts the movement of the robot.

-Wordcraft Vizii: Inspired by George the Poet, audience can select a poet and make various changes to the background, font of words, font of words, speed and rhythm of the display.

-Ten Pieces: Super Conductor: choose a piece of classical music and make a dramatic visual to accompany it.

-Coming Soon: Eastenders: Soap Factory

We are very excited about the launch of this campaign to help raise awareness of the fantastic opportunities the tech industry offer kids of today.  I heard someone say the other day, "The Rock Stars of tomorrow are the Geeks of today" I say, move aside footballers, here come the geeks.

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