In the United Kingdom, the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) is giving away tiny micro:bit computers to children in year 7 (I assume similar to grade 7 here in North America) across all of the UK. The computers are similar to how a Raspberry Pi would work and function. The idea is if they give the computers out to students it will encourage them to get into programming and teach them the basics of hardware design.
Later this summer the BBC is also launching a website that will teach kids how to program on their tiny computers.
This computer is actually the second generation micro:bit computer and has a ARM Cortex-M0 CPU which is a lot more powerful than the first generation. The micro:bit is based on ARM software and hardware development tools as well which are already powering many other development boards.
Interestingly enough Samsung has been involved in the project by developing the tools to enable the micro:bit to talk to smartphones and tablets. This allows people to control their phone’s camera remotely using the micro:bit. Samsung is currently working on a mobile coding application that will support the micro:bit on mobile devices.
This October marks the first shipment of the micro:bit that will ship out to roughly 1 million 11-12 year olds. The BBC says this project is open sourced and will launch a not-for-profit organization to help develop a commercial device sometime in the future.