Free Workshop for Secondary Teachers: Introduction to BBC micro:bit

Interested in getting hands experiences on with the BBC micro:bit, due to land in the hands of every Year 8 student in the summer term? Now’s your chance!

Farset Labs will be running a free, hands on “Getting started with the BBC micro:bit” Computing at Schools Northern Ireland Hub workshop on the 10th March 2016 from 6:30pm-9:00pm at Farset Labs.
We will hope to cover
– What is the micro:bit?
– Getting started and making your first programs
– Brief overview of the different programming environments available
– More in depth look at Python on the micro:bit
– Ideas for use in the classroom

We will have a few computers available at Farset, but if possible, please bring your own laptop.

If you have any queries or questions, feel free to drop myself (Andrew Mulholland, Outreach Manager @ Farset Labs) an email at

This event is supported by the Python Software Foundation, Farset Labs and Computing at Schools NI.


Do I need to have any previous programming experience?
Nope! We are targeting the workshop at those will little or no programming experience.

I am not a secondary school level teacher (am a primary school teacher, higher education academic or from industry), can I come down and take part?
Unfortunately we expect high demand for this workshop so have to prioritise secondary teachers for now. If we still have space closer to the workshop, we would still love to see you there though. Put your name down for the waiting list for the “Other” ticket type and we will be in contact closer to the date.

If there is sufficient demand, we well look into launching follow-on events for a wider audience.

Do I need to provide my own BBC micro:bit?
Nope! We have been kindly been provided a set by the Python Software Foundation.

Is there anything then I need to bring?
If you have a laptop running Windows, Mac OS or Linux, then it would be great if you could bring it. Although we have some computers available, it is better to learn and practice on familiar equipment.

Is there free parking available nearby?
Yip! Weavers Court Business estate (which Farset Labs is located within) has ample onsite free parking.

Eventbrite - Introduction to BBC micro:bit

The Latest Flacknite: BBC Micros, Culture Night & more

As our members and followers, will be aware, Flacknite is our semi-regular monthly hackathon, spanning at least 24 hours, which is open to everyone. It provides a bed, a home and an excuse for projects that have been put back, and a lively environment for more time-sensitive ones. As always, they’re catered with food and drink, which this month was generously sponsored by Instil Software.

This month’s Flacknite ran on September 15th and 16th, and brought to life several different projects. Several internal software projects marched onwards towards completion, piecing together our in-house management system and building control network.

Culture Night Preparations
Electronics and LED-testing going on into the night

The more exciting and eye-catching work took the form of some preparations for Culture Night, which has been making news throughout Belfast and scheduled for tonight, Friday 21st September. Robin, an artist attending Culture Night, built and tested several high-power LED array bars, to be used in his project to under-illuminate a table. His work will be on show tonight near the Hayfield Market in Belfast City Centre.

A welcome break came in the form of Opera Pizza, which delivered a substantial order to our door for all to graze on. Beer and pizza flowed plentifully for several hours after the delivery.

The BBC Micro lives!
The BBC Micro lives!

Work continued in other parts of the building, with Dan Reid and Tom Gilmour working with others to bring to life two BBC Micro computers, both of which had dead power supplies. They were successful and much of the remainder of the night was spent programming the Micros, and upgrading their RAM installations. Dan continued in the following days to install more RAM and software, and the two computers are approaching “perfect working order” condition.

Others worked on personal projects and private endeavours, and most stuck around until the daylight hours on Sunday. Numbers waned due to sleep, but recovered later on Sunday. Overall, numbers were good and the atmosphere was great. Our next Flacknite will be next month, on the 20th October, and will be publicised heavily to let everyone know.

Thanks again to Instil Software for their generosity, and for everyone that came along to such a good night!

See you next time.