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Inspiring Digital

Making it Digital: 

How the BBC and its partners unleashed the UK’s
Digital Creativity
Introduction from Director-General Tony Hall ....................................4 Make it Digital Partners ..........................................................................36
Introducing Make it Digital .......................................................................5 Apps for Good ..............................................................................................................................37

Introducing Make it Digital ..........................................................................................................6 ARM .................................................................................................................................................39

Jessica Cecil .....................................................................................................................................7 Barclays ..........................................................................................................................................42

Claire Rice ........................................................................................................................................8 BT .....................................................................................................................................................43

Computer Science for Fun .........................................................................................................45

Andy Wilson .................................................................................................................................. 11
Freeformers ...................................................................................................................................46
Make it Digital Projects ...........................................................................13
Futurelearn ....................................................................................................................................47
The BBC micro:bit........................................................................................................................14
MicrosoY ........................................................................................................................................51
Weather Watchers .......................................................................................................................17
Nominet Trust ...............................................................................................................................54
Build it Scotland...........................................................................................................................20
Tech London Advocates .............................................................................................................56
Careers Quiz .................................................................................................................................. 22
Teen Tech .......................................................................................................................................58
Big Life Fix .....................................................................................................................................24
Kerensa Jennings .........................................................................................................................60
Radio 1 Teen Awards...................................................................................................................26
Ian Livingstone .............................................................................................................................62
Can Robots Love Us ....................................................................................................................32

Doctor Who Game Maker ..........................................................................................................34 Credits and Contributors ........................................................................64

Tony Hall
Over the last three years Make it Digital has inspired a generation BBC’s unparalleled access to audiences, and our overriding focus
to be creative with digital technologies. A million children have on our public mission. Together the thirty organisations that made
learned to programme with the BBC micro:bit, distributed for free the micro:bit possible show us just what we can achieve when we
to 11 year olds. Others have shared weather reports and work together to serve the public, and offer a model for future
photographs with Weather Watchers and had the excitement of development of the UK’s creative capacity.

seeing their images used on TV weather forecasts. And thousands 

have benefited from Make it Digital traineeships, enhancing their The BBC micro:bit may stand out because of the complexity of
skills and helping them into work.
 designing, manufacturing, delivering and supporting a million

 computers, but the other Make it Digital projects also had a
We’ve achieved this – and a lot more – by working in new ways and significant impact on audiences, and similarly relied on
in close partnership with others. Make it Digital exemplifies the partnerships. You can read about them all elsewhere in this ebook.

BBC’s goal to work collaboratively, to be open to the opportunities 

offered by partnerships, and to achieve things none of us could do I set the BBC a challenge to unleash the UK’s digital creativity, and
 I believe we have delivered. But we’ve also learned a lot along the

 way and you’ll see that reflected in the way we cover technology in
This is most clearly shown by the BBC micro:bit, the successor to our programmes, in the way we build and nurture partnerships,
the much-loved BBC Microcomputer and a project of enormous and in the ways we engage with our audiences in a world that will
ambition that could only have been delivered through the be increasingly shaped by digital tools and technologies.
concerted efforts of a coalition that brought together hardware and
software skills, educational expertise, marketing and branding,
and legal and financial understanding – all able to benefit from the

Here’s a title
Introducing Make it Digital

Make it Digital
Over three years, Make it Digital has drawn One million were manufactured and almost It is seen as a bold innovation by the BBC Another example of Make it Digital’s
on the wealth of BBC brands to produce every 11 and 12 year old in state schools abroad - Iceland has distributed BBC innovation around trusted BBC brands is
informative, educational and entertaining received one free in 2016. It has been micro:bits to all its 11 and 12 year olds, and Weather Watchers, a crowd-sourced
content on this theme across TV, radio and hugely successful, and used widely in other governments and organisations from weather club where members upload
digital. We have worked with services schools across the UK. It has been used to Norway to Singapore are using them. The weather reports and photographs.
across the BBC including Radio1, BBC One, write code 17 million times. Girls report BBC micro:bit is on sale across the EU, US
Uploaded audience photos are now used to
BBC Three, BBC Four, English Regions and they are 60% more likely to study and Canada.
tell the story of the weather across all our
Nations, CBBC and Weather to create news computing after using it. 88% of all children
In addition to programmes, partnerships weather reports UK-wide, and in the
stories, documentaries, drama and say it shows them coding is easier than
and hardware the BBC has worked in skills Nations and Regions. 1.7 million photos
children’s shows, each tailored to specific they thought.
development and outreach via the the have been uploaded, and Weather Watchers
audiences. Overall, the audience has been
Our partners told us only the BBC could Make it Digital Traineeship. Around 2,500 is the first continuous interactive service
over 23 million.
convene an alliance of this ambition, young people have gone through a where audiences shape our editorial offer.
Make it Digital also worked with BBC because the BBC is trusted by them as an potentially life-changing 6 to 8 week course
Those with low digital skills have been
programmes and services to motivate honest broker, and by our audiences. which was designed by the BBC Academy
encouraged to become Weather Watchers -
millions to go further and build their skills and drew on BBC programme brands to
Our on-air talent played an important part and to get help to get started at one of
in partnership with outside organisations. teach basic digital and digital production
in promoting the BBC micro:bit, on hundreds of partner libraries across the UK.
and employability skills.
The prime example of this was the BBC children’s and sports shows, and on social
These are just a few examples of how Make
micro:bit, a small computer developed and media. Trusted BBC faces can inspire our
it Digital has inspired millions to get
delivered by a coalition of 31 partners led audiences to action in their millions.
creative with digital technologies.
by a team in BBC Learning.

Jessica Cecil
Controller, Make it Digital
In 2013, Tony Hall said he wanted the BBC in 2015 to ‘inspire a new
generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology’,
and to do that with a new approach to partnership for the BBC. To deliver this
level of ambition, Make it Digital became a multi-year initiative involving
many areas of the BBC including BBC Learning and the BBC Academy.

Behind this lay an understanding that digital disruption was changing all of
our audiences’ lives, and looked likely to continue to do so – but none of us
could predict exactly how. So giving everyone the ability to understand this
changing environment and then giving specific groups the skills to create in
the digital world was the best way to help them to thrive.

We are going through a revolution every bit as The BBC is for everyone – we reach 95% of the UK And our partners have shown faith and open
profound as the industrial revolution over a century population every week – and we are trusted, but our mindedness to go on the journey with us, to work in
ago, which altered our landscape and transformed desire to make change work for everyone is shared a new way, and recognise that a highly unusual
the lives of almost everyone in the UK. by lots of different organisations. That’s why coalition can work towards something very precious:
partnerships have been at the core of Make it Digital helping our audiences work out how they and their
Digital change is giving way to what those in Silicon from the very beginning. families can be successful in a new world.
Valley are calling hyper digital change – where
computers are linking us together in new networks Make it Digital has been a huge experiment: it has Working in a different way means we have created
and are even figuring out how to complete tasks in been about we wanted to do, and there are capacity in the BBC to do something original and
ways you could almost describe as creative. fascinating contributions in this ebook about this. important, as well as developing new ways to work
But it has also been about how we have done it. We with partners to deliver something that could not be
This is changing our lives and our communities have worked with all parts of the BBC. We have more timely, relevant and important.
profoundly. From transport to education, and the worked with the teams leading our most popular
jobs we do to the way we communicate with each shows and programmes, and asked them to think Thank you to everyone who took part, inside and
other, change is here, or it is around the corner. about how working with us can be relevant to their outside the BBC.
audiences. There has been huge faith and
We want to inform, educate and entertain our enthusiasm amongst senior management and their Jessica Cecil is Controller, Make it Digital
audiences, as we always have, so that these changes teams to do something new.
work for all our audiences. In the midst of change
that every one of us finds bewildering at times,
nothing could seem more relevant.

Claire Rice
The Editorial Mission
Make it Digital’s editorial strategy really had two main functions: to
ensure the many initiatives for all of our audiences across the UK
had relevant homes across our broadcast platforms; and perhaps
more importantly, to develop bespoke content that complemented
these initiatives and drew an audience in, who at first glance may
not think the topic of coding or digital disruption was of interest or
relevant to them.

The key question our editorial approach had to keep asking was
‘why should our audience care?’ We needed to show that this was
for them in an entertaining and informative way. Key to making any
headway with this huge ambition was to identify the key audiences,
the tonal fit for each of those audiences and the platform approach.

We also had to decide what content was stand alone with a sole job
of raising awareness and entertaining to bring us that less engaged
audience, and what was going to be connected to initiatives with the
purpose of getting our audience active.

A great early example of the get An original example of standalone moving very fast and therefore as
active approach was a fantastic content was Girls Can Code, a talent content creators wanting to tell the
commission from CBBC called show where the contestants didn’t stories and reflect the impact on our
Technobabble - a magazine style know they had talent! It was a two audiences life we have to keep
show for the CBBC audience that part documentary for BBC Three that moving it to remain relevant and
focused on tech news and featured saw four girls who were big tech trusted.
the games made by its watching consumers but never tech creators
Make it Digital has played an
audience via the Mixital Game maker dropped into the world of idea
incredibly important role in giving
– a tool which allows people to make creation, investment and app making,
content creators at the BBC the
games based in BBC brands like East with support from strong female role
opportunity to experiment with
Enders and Doctor Who - whilst models who were hugely successful
different approaches to storytelling in
explaining the basics of in the digital world – which at the
this space and I believe we leave our
computational thinking. time of broadcast were not massively
colleagues in a strong place to
represented on our screens.

continue entertaining and informing

our audiences about the ever
This I think reflects what has turned
changing world.
out to be the most interesting part of
the Make it Digital journey. It is Claire Rice was Editorial Lead for
obvious that the digital world is Make it Digital until 2017

Andy Wilson
‘Great things happen when we work together’ was a phrase that Greg
Dyke used to describe the power of collaboration across the BBC,
and never has it been more true than when you think about the
diverse companies, organisations and institutions that came
together to form the Make it Digital Partnership.  

From digital start-ups to global tech firms, charitable trusts to local

libraries, they all contributed their expertise to help UK audiences to
learn how to code, improve their basic digital skills, or understand
the new digital opportunities available to them. And what a

Whenever the BBC needed a contributor, a connection or even a

venue, the partnership came through with expert on-screen
contributors, high tech facilities and a contact list which even Bill
Gates would marvel at.  

That’s what Make it Digital was all about: Make it Digital helped to bring the history, The Make it Digital Traineeship sits at the And of course, let’s not forget the BBC
helping to inspire new tech talent; the need the present, and the future of computing to centre of the campaign, a partnership micro:bit - the device that many will look
to grow the next generation of digital audiences. Whether that was through TV between government and industry to back on as their entry point into computer
innovators; and supporting older audiences and radio shows such as Girls Can deliver nearly 2,500 traineeship places with science and coding which relied on a close
to get online and get involved. All working Code, The Gamechangers, Live businesses across the country. This gave internal partnership with BBC Learning as
together to have a bigger impact. And there Lessons, Appsolute Genius, Radio 1 Teen thousands of young people a chance to gain well as a wide range of external partners.
truly was something for everyone.  Awards, The Doctor and the Dalek, or training and work experience in digital
actually bringing the history of computing skills, developed by the BBC and delivery
It included local libraries helping
to audiences through a partnership with partners across the country.   
pensioners get online and upload pictures
the Centre for Computing History as part of
of the weather where they lived for Hundreds of young people gained new jobs, Andy Wilson was Partnerships Lead for
our nationwide Make It Digital roadshow.
Weather Watchers - with over a million making the most of their social media Make it Digital from 2014-2016
reports sent in within a matter of months - The initiative helped to make coding skills, to kick start a new digital
and Barclays Digital Eagles running code something that you could do near you, revolution.  
playgrounds in branches up and down the thanks to our partnerships with Coder Dojo
country, providing a high street location to and Code Club. Providing local support and
help children to understand the value of encouragement to children.  
coding and learning how to use the BBC

Here’s a title
Make it Digital Projects

The BBC micro:bit
Andy Wilson
The BBC micro:bit was something that or the internal resources of BBC
very few organisations would, or could Learning and the engineering skills of
take on. 
 BBC Research and Development. 


Build a new hardware platform, aimed And support is exactly what the project
at 11 year olds, in an incredibly short needed - to make a million pocket-sized
time, with the world watching. 
 micro-controllers that would inspire
Most companies would run a mile. 
 the next generation of digital makers

 takes some doing. And every company,
But then most companies lack the group and individual that was involved
support of ARM, Barclays, element14, always went further than we could ever
Lancaster University, Microsoft, Nordic have imagined to make the BBC
Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, micro:bit a truly brilliant learning
Samsung, ScienceScope, Technology device and prototyping platform.
Will Save Us and The Wellcome Trust

Building on Howard Baker’s brilliant The next challenge was to take this Through multiple revisions of the Then they took apart a remote
idea to reinvent the BBC prototype and make it mass market. 
 hardware, to make the device more controlled crane and rebuilt it using
Microcomputer for a new generation, 
 user friendly we solved the many the micro:bit as the controller. It was a
with a bit of inspiration and advice Led by a team in BBC Learning, the problems needed to ensure that the huge success. The great thing was that
from Eben Upton too, BBC Learning partnership really came into its own. BBC micro:bit was ready distribute. everyone who saw it was impressed
and BBC Research and Development Building on the hardware and wanted to get involved.
It was unveiled to teachers at Bett
came up with a prototype device that development brilliance of ARM, the
2016 and the response was We started a micro:bit loan scheme to
children loved - even if it was a rather user experience and design was
overwhelming. Hundreds of teachers enable companies big and small to
basic breadboard with lots of wires created by Technology Will Save Us,
clamoured to see the new device and borrow the devices to develop their
and lights hanging off it. It put the components supplied by Nordic and
have a go. 
 own accessories and add-ons - from
child in control. They could be the NXP, manufacturing by element14,

 cardboard robots to plastic cases. And
inventor, and the possibilities were software and coding environments
And it wasn’t only teachers that were some of the creations blew us away.
only limited by their imagination. from Microsoft, Samsung, Lancaster
interested. Small educational
University, with support from
companies were keen to get involved,
Barclays, The Wellcome Trust and
making accessories or kits to enhance
the device. Kitronik, one of the BBC
Make It Digital partners, were the first
to make an edge-connector so children
could connect multiple devices to
their micro:bit.

One of our first loans went to Artronix, The Python MU tool, developed by But of course the device needed to be And that’s where the story really starts.
who posted a video of using the Nicholas Tollervey, was a massive hit, delivered to the schools, which is much What happens next? We just don’t
micro:bit to make a Star Wars inspired especially with the python community. harder than you might imagine! With know. Will we have the next Tim
cardboard headset. Set to very loud The great work of Martin Woolley from the help of the Scottish and Welsh Berners Lee, Martha Lane Fox, or Ada
dubstep music, we knew it was going to the Bluetooth SIG ensured that the government and all distribution being Lovelace in our midst who was inspired
be a hit with kids. micro:bit could work with mobiles, and managed by Findell Education from by the BBC micro:bit? We hope so.
enabled communication between their huge automated distribution Because the future of the device is
Support didn’t stop there - Bright
devices. This was vital for The centre, the rollout day finally arrived. 
 really the future of hundreds of
Future, CISCO,Code Club, CoderDojo,
Bloodhound team to make micro:bit 
 thousands of children across the UK,
Code Kingdoms, Creative Digital
equipped rocket cars for their Thousands of devices arrived at the and now a growing number globally.
Solutions, CultureTECH, Decoded,
challenge. Findell warehouse for launch day. In And that’s all thanks to the micro:bit
Institution of Engineering and
the coming months two million family - the passionate individuals and
Technology, London Connected
batteries, a million USB cables and of organisations who made it happen.
Learning Centre, Open University,
course a million micro:bits all made
Python Software Foundation, Andy Wilson was Partnerships Lead
their way into the hands of children up
STEMNET, TeenTech and the Tinder from 2014-2016
and down the country.
Foundation all provided support and

Weather Watchers
Olivia Lockyer
We’ve done a range of different moment – but with everyday
things as part of BBC Make it services increasingly going online,
Digital, many of which have this can pose difficulties for those
focused on inspiring children, less experienced.
teens and young adults - who are
We know how much British people
fairly used to using technology in
love talking about the weather and
their day to day lives - to create
after some conversations working
things and increase their digital
with our amazing colleagues at
skills, thinking of future careers.
BBC Weather, we decided to
We recognised though, that there
combine people’s favourite topic of
are still many people who aren’t so
conversation with a gateway into
digitally savvy and perhaps don’t
the world of digital.
feel a need to get online at the

In 2016 we developed BBC Weather Users can upload photos of the Local libraries have been partners in be a Weather Watcher and how to
Watchers, an online weather club weather in their local area with Weather Watchers right from the post your reports. We also included
aimed at getting older people more details about the temperature and start, and they’ve been a great way handy guides for aspiring Weather
confident with digital technology, conditions, enabling people all over for people to get online, sign up and Watchers to get onto email and use
where members share photographs the UK to see the picture of weather share weather reports. Some search engines.
and other weather data on a trusted across the country and giving the libraries have used Weather
Copies of the Guide have been sent to
BBC platform. 
 audience a chance for their photo to Watchers as part of their strategy to
many local libraries, but you can also

 be featured on BBC programmes, as help their visitors learn digital skills,
download a printable version and
Since launch it has been really Weather Watchers pictures are used using our packs with displays,
print your own. We hope people will
popular and has given us a brilliant across BBC television – locally and posters and activities around the
use it to increase their skills and
chance to directly connect with our nationally. 
 topic of weather. We felt we could
become Weather Watchers. Our aim
 use our relationship with libraries to
is to get people enjoying the internet
There have been almost two million do more across the country for those
and being able to explore their
reports so we’re thrilled at how many with lower digital skills using
hobbies online so hopefully Weather
people have joined the conversation, Weather Watchers so decided to
Watchers and the guide can do that.
but we felt that there was still work create a small booklet which has
to do to get more people online and information about BBC Weather Olivia Lockyer was Digital Content
enjoying BBC Weather Watchers as Watchers alongside various how-to Producer for Make it Digital,
much as our current users do. 
 guides, including how to sign up to 2014-2017

“Hi, my name is Chris – I’m alpaca lady on Weather Watchers. I only
started to use my tablet from January this year and joined Weather
Watchers straight away: before then I had never used a computer!

I have great fun taking photos for Weather Watchers as I do not have
a camera, all of my photos are taken with my tablet. When I get an
editor’s pick I am delighted. First thing in the morning can be fun as
if the sky looks good I will put my wellies on whilst still in my p.j’s
and pop out to the field to take a photo or two after climbing over the
next door neighbours fence!

Weather Watchers has helped me enormously with using my tablet,

people who know me can't believe I use a computer let alone write
emails and post photos as in the past I refused to go digital. I would
encourage anyone to join as it is great to learn about the weather
from around the country and see the lovely photos people put on,
and sometimes see your own photo on T.V.

Thanks BBC for helping me go digital!”

Build it Scotland
Marcus Herbert
Few things represent the condescension that accompanies a
opportunities – and quirks – of the seven year old trying to explain his
digital age better than the or her Minecraft project to a
phenomenal success of 3D clueless parent (and I speak from
modelling games like Minecraft. 
 personal experience here).


Those simple blocks have spawned So what better tool to use to excite
a global community of builders, those children about the wider
bloggers and YouTubers, and possibilities of the digital world?
introduced millions of children to
That was the insight behind Build
digital creativity. Nothing quite
it Scotland, a Make it Digital
sums up the generational digital
project during 2016 that
divide as pithily as the eye-rolling
encouraged primary-level children

to use 3D tools to recreate local Teachers told us they would welcome a imagination, and demonstrate all the Build it wrapped up in November 2016
landmarks, as part of Scotland’s 2016 project that helped them tap into their ways to get involved. And we partnered with a finale celebration in Dundee. More
Year of Innovation, Architecture and students’ existing passions, and connect with Education Scotland and Scottish than 100 of the 3D-printed model were
Design, and the Festival of Architecture. these to wider learning outcomes like Libraries to spread the word.
 on display at two locations, and a
The idea was that all the creations would research skills and organisation, as well 
 Minecraft map of Scotland, showing the
be uploaded to a virtual map of as encouraging an understanding of The results far exceeded our pupils’ digital designs, was projected
Scotland, to form a permanent digital geography and the built environment. expectations. Around 5000 children took onto a city centre building as part of
resource for schools and organisations to And of course, the underlying principles part, from more than 200 schools. But it Dundee’s own Light Night celebrations.
utilise and contribute to, while a of coding.
 was the sophistication and the effort that
And we’re pleased the project lives on.
selection of designs would also be 3D 
 had gone into the entries that most
The Children’s University and libraries
printed and put on display at locations But some also told us they felt ill- impressed. The complex architecture
across Scotland are using the BBC online
across the country. equipped to manage a classroom full of and engineering of structures like the
resources in workshops to encourage
Minecraft-masters (that generational Falkirk Wheel, or Glasgow’s “Armadillo”
more children to explore their digital
divide again), and we also needed to exhibition centre had been cleverly
creativity through 3D modelling tools.  
ensure that the project was open to recreated. One school had exquisitely
schools and children using the full range rendered their own building, complete We’re inspiring another digital
of available modelling programmes, such with details like screen savers on generation. Block by block.
as Tinkercad and Sketchup. So we desktop computers. And it was clear that
worked closely with teachers and many had been inspired to head out into Marcus Herbert is Head of Online and
technical partners to develop a suite of their local community, sending models of Learning, BBC Scotland
online resources, and ran workshops town halls and sports centres.
across Scotland to help fire up people’s

Careers Quiz
Olivia Lockyer
When we first began Make it towards traditional career paths
Digital, one of the most shocking and girls especially were missing
things I learned was that there out on the early career
would be over a million new jobs development opportunities
created in the tech sector and not needed for technology jobs.
enough skilled people to fill them.
We wanted to open up the
This statistic proved a huge
possibility of technology careers
motivation behind many of the
to young people by helping them
projects we did and very much so
to see the possibilities. It is not
with the Make it Digital Quiz.

just those with a natural

inclination towards logical,
Reports were still showing
mathematical thinking that can
teenagers were being encouraged
succeed in this world.

There really are options for everyone The main idea behind the quiz was able to build a quiz using the DISC tools done some really cool stuff in the world
with job roles ranging from robot helping young people to see the variety as a base while asking easy questions of tech and digital, as inspirers. They
technician to meme editor (much to the or jobs available to them and to also be about what you do at the weekend and told us how they got where they are
delight of many of the teens we’ve done able see people who looked like them how you like to organise your study now and give a bit of advice about how
workshops with)! 
 succeeding in the tech sector. We area. Users are given one of ten “type” others could follow in their footsteps. It

 wanted a fun way for people to find out profiles, for example ‘Creator’, was inspirational to see the cool jobs
We know that it can be a bit daunting what may be a good option for them and ‘Entrepreneur’ and ‘Experimenter’. 
 these mentors had and we hoped that
when it comes to thinking of your what skills they may want to improve 
 their enthusiasm would be contagious.
future so we wanted to make starting on. 
 Attached to each profile is a video
Everyone has talents, it’s just a case of
the journey a bit easier. 
 interview with a young inspirer, as well
finding out what they are!
Although we kept the quiz fun and easy as links to courses and information to
to use, the questions are actually help young people increase their skills
inspired by a behaviour assessment tool to hopefully help them see their
called DISC. This tool is based on the potential in a digital career. The links
work by a US psychologist called were assessed for us by students at Ada
Olivia Lockyer was Digital Content
Moulton Marston. We tried out a wide Lovelace College, to ensure they were
Producer for Make it Digital from
range of different questions, designs interesting and relevant to the target
and types until we settled on the audience.

current version.

 We brought on board some great young
Thanks to the BBC Taster team we were people to feature in our videos, who've

Big Life Fix
Bill Thompson
The enormous success of the BBC designers found solutions that
Two television series Big Life Fix, could change people’s lives touched
screened at Christmas 2016, millions around the country.
prompted a lot of interest in the
Make it Digital worked closely with
team of ‘fixers’ who worked so hard
the Big Life Fix production team to
to solve the challenges posed. These
find ways to share their amazing
ranged from helping a photographer
work more widely, and even made
who can no longer use his hands to
one of the designs - the camera
operate a camera, to trying to stop
mount developed for James by Jude
sheep rustling, to developing a pen
Pullen - available as an openly
that can be used by someone with
licensed product you can print on
Parkinson’s Disease, and the
your own 3D printer.
resulting stories of how leading

In 2017 we went behind the scenes to As the BBC’s initiative for digital users. In this way, we hope that the
talk to some of the fixers about their creativity, Make it Digital worked to digital message can be spread more
inspiration, their interests, and their create a level playing field when it widely.
work as designers and developers. In comes to digital tools, and we think
We kicked off this process with a
four short films on the Make it Digital these films are relevant to any budding
special screening at Barclays Eagle Lab
website, Yusuf Muhammad, Ruby Steel, designer, engineer or technologist. 

in Brighton, attended by guests from
Jude Pullen, and Haiyan Zhang explain 

the local digital scene. Jessica Cecil
what led them to become designers, We’re also eager to support
spoke about the importance of the
where they get inspiration, and how organisations that are doing so much to
mission and the achievements to date,
they work. raise awareness of the creative
and there was a wide-ranging
potential of the computers in our lives,
Each film explores the working life, discussion about the importance of
especially makerspaces, fab labs and
creative inspiration and design practice digital tools in society, what makes a
other organisations that offer access to
of one of these inspirational figures and good designer and how the education Bill Thompson was Partnerships Lead
tools like 3D printers, laser cutters and
uncovers the processes they use on a system can best develop people who for Make it Digital, 2016-2017
electronic components, so we’ve
daily basis to deliver a wide range of are able to express their digital
licensed the four films to be used at
projects and products. creativity.
events and shared with members and

Radio 1 Teen Awards
Claire Rice
Make it Digital and Radio 1 have Radio 1’s Teen Awards celebrate
worked really successfully together incredible young people that have
over the years and the pinnacle shown real courage, made an impact
came in 2016. Following on the lives of those around them,
conversations with some of our and inspired people.
partners, including TeenTech and
In 2016 we were thrilled to partner
Apps for Good, it was clear that we
with them with a very special Make
needed to find a way of shining a
it Digital Award, celebrating young
light on the amazing young people
people that have used their digital
these organisations and others were
skills to either inspire people or
supporting to explore their digital
make a big difference in the lives of
creativity and help them see how it
their peers.
can be life changing at a personal,
community and international level!

As we started on the journey we days before the actual event which This project was a real example of
knew this was going to be exciting meant we reached millions of what the BBC can do when its
and it quickly became apparent young people with the message. component parts work hard
that we could use the very high together for a focused audience
The day of the event was incredible,
profile event to capture the need. A real success story!
our winners Lauren and Lucy were
imagination of a teen audience with
presented with the award in front
inspiring stories and encourage
of 10,000 teenagers by Greg James,
them to get hands on too, and
Radio 1 DJ. It was an incredible
promote the Make it Digital Quiz 

and refreshing moment to hear Claire Rice was Editorial Lead for

young female engineers celebrated Make it Digital until 2017
The event and the support of Radio
as heroes and we hope a sign of
gave us an incredible platform to
things to come!
push the quiz; Grimmy and Clara
Amfo, Radio 1 DJ’s even completed
the whole quiz live on air a few

Lauren’s Story
BBC Radio One’s Make it Digital team have offered so much support
in everything that I have done, even after the Teen Awards.
Remembering how it felt to even find out that we’d been nominated
to actually winning the award made all of the hard work worth it, it
made me feel as if the message we’d been trying to spread had been

I love seeing other pupils enter the world of STEM and am so excited
when more young people, especially girls, step forward to show an
interest in engineering. Although more females are entering this
sector there is still a gaping hole that needs to be filled. For the BBC
to acknowledge this issue and to recognise and praise the work put
into making sure more leading members in industry understand this
problem is incredible! They gave so much encouragement to spread
our concern for women in the world of STEM and helped to share
this message across a variety of platforms.

They also gave a great insight into The award ceremony itself was the The whole team made me feel very
the BBC itself and I was shown the icing on the cake for me! I was so welcome and wanted to know how
endless opportunities available honoured to be presented this Lucy and I had got to where we are
within the company. It is such a award by Greg James and to just be and our individual stories outside
vibrant place to work and to be there soaking up the atmosphere. I the Teen Awards. They were
shown this amazing workplace and was so proud of all of the other interested in my school career and
to meet the people that make it that Teen Heroes as we had all become Teen Tech Ambassador role, as well
way was so much fun! Everyone friends very quickly. We have as my Arkwright Sponsorship and
went out of their way to give us the stayed in contact and as we were all my future hopes and dreams.
best experience possible. From kindly given the chance to go Radio
I will never forget my time with
having a wild day with other Teen One’s Big Weekend this year we
Radio 1 and all of the fascinating
Heroes filming around the BBC managed to see each other again!
people I met, thank you for making
studios to meeting Benedict
it such a special time for me - I have
Cumberbatch, it really doesn’t get
incredible memories that I will
any better!
treasure forever thanks to you.

Lucy’s Story
With a previously small focus on STEM subjects at school, the Teen
Tech Awards and BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards brought a huge amount of
vibrancy to not only the lives of Lauren and me, but to our whole
school as well as surrounding schools. All in all, I’m hugely grateful for
the experiences that we were able to have- never did I expect to be
standing in front of 10,000 people in Wembley arena alongside my
childhood crush Joe Jonas or Greg James!

It all came as a bit of a shock that we were even nominated for the
Award, let alone being told that we were going to win it! I remember
receiving what I thought was a phone call from Maggie Philbin about
new opportunities and further expanding our project for TeenTech,
but instead was faced with the voice of Greg James on the end of the
line telling us that we would be visiting Radio 1 and Wembley Arena to
receive our award. To be honest it was all slightly surreal and at first I
was so shocked I told Greg we were expecting a phone call from
someone else, only to be told by my mum that there was in fact no
other phone call- this was the surprise they had been holding in for

From there on, we were so well Getting to visit the BBC just brilliant, many of whom we are made me more proud than ever is
looked after by the Make It Digital headquarters was fascinating both still in contact with now!
 being able to say that we have been
team; we went to record a piece because I got to explore so many 
 the inspiration for at least some
with Lemonade Money in Borough departments and have numerous Being a part of the whole journey young people out there looking to
Market about our journey, we got to discussions with everyone from the was eye opening, and so many pursue a career in whatever they
spend an incredible day at Radio 1 broadcasters to the technical things have come from it. Since want to do - without barriers.
itself meeting members of the team, producers and editors, as well as becoming a Teen Hero and
A massive thank you from me to
other winners and nominees, being seeing iconic things such as The TeenTech ambassador, I have been
Radio 1 and TeenTech for allowing
part of the whole Wembley One Show set and the BBC Weather able to work with international
us to have a platform on which we
experience, meeting Benedict area. 
 students promoting STEM and also
were able to share our hopes and
Cumberbatch (being a VIP at the 
 within our school, as well as
aspirations- I am forever thankful
Doctor Strange Premiere!) and The whole team at the BBC was helping at other teen tech events to
for the unforgettable memories!
even being recognised by DNCE. very accommodating and not only inspire young people, particularly
gave us a great insight into working girls, to get involved in Science and
there, but also were genuinely Technology. 

interested in our story. We met so 

many inspiring people and being Being able to receive such an
able to share the adventure with amazing award really has been
awe-inspiring people our age was incredible but the thing that has

Can Robots Love Us?
Claire Rice
There are many rich stories to tell My biggest challenge was always to find
around the digital and technological the content that would be entertaining
changes we are all currently seeing and in and of itself to reach an audience
experiencing. However, finding ways to that did not consider themselves
ensure these stories feel entertaining interested in the topic. Big Life Fix,
for a broad audience (and convincing made for BBC Two by Studio Lambert,
commissioners of the same) has not was a big turning point in this
always been so easy. When we first crossover with many, many, millions
started looking at how to approach this watching the incredible clip when
in 2014 many of the dramas and Emma, who suffers from Parkinson’s
documentaries took a historical look, was first given the “Emma Watch”, to
which delivered some fascinating help with her tremors, created for her
content but it would also be fair to say by Haiyan Zhang, one of the Big Life
that they probably spoke to an Fixers.
audience that was already interested.

Make it Digital worked with the Big Because from the beginning we BBC Three wanted to emphasise The success of the documentary yet
Life Fix team to create inspirational were clear the objective of this the heart and emotion of the stories again demonstrates how as a topic
content for makerspaces across the content was to be entertaining and and we at Make it Digital also this can be of real interest for a
UK, but it was also the catalyst to raise awareness and in doing so needed to emphasis the tech sitting younger audiences.
revisit a longer form documentary create debate of the ever growing behind a lot the developments in
that tapped into the emotion the impact of tech on our lives, as this space, in particular AI and the
series had shown was about tech opposed to driving people to get implications of this. It was an
but worked for a younger audience. active themselves, we had great incredibly tricky thing to balance
scope to dig into the best stories but the results speak for
Working with the Digital Story
and talent.
 themselves and the stories
Telling team in BBC Studios we Claire Rice was Editorial Lead for

 definitely stoked debate amongst
started to develop an idea that we Make it Digital until 2017
Getting James Young on board as our key audience, with over 4,000
thought would work for BBC Three. 

the presenter was key, as we knew comments around one clip on BBC
he was passionate about the topic Three’s Facebook page alone – very
and had the ability to turn complex high engagement.
tech into accessible language. Then
followed the stories about sex,
relationships, mental health and

Doctor Who Game Maker
Martin Wilson
Most of us, I’m sure, have dreamt of economy. So, asking fans to get
taking control of the Tardis to creative with one of the BBC’s
explore new worlds with the most-loved brands seemed the
Doctor. Games are a brilliant perfect commission. 

medium for storytelling, 

entertainment and adventure. So, At its heart, the Game Maker is a
making it possible to create games simple proposition: a kit to enable
with the Time Lord in the blue box users of all abilities to make games;
seemed a no-brainer. Make It a set of beautifully designed assets
Digital had already identified how of heroes, monsters, props and
important creativity was to young worlds to play with; and a place for
people trying to make the most of fans to publish their games so that
the opportunities of the digital others could play them.

We knew there was a huge appetite It launched on September 15th, 2015. to the principles of coding and game Digital Awards in 2016 for Best
among young people to make games Young fans of the show, with no design.
 Children's Content. The judges
The key challenge, though, was to technical knowledge, were able to 
 praised this 'innovative way to engage
build something all ages and abilities create games on their tablets or A specially built arcade enabled users children.' They were particularly
could enjoy. It would need to be easy desktop. It was simple enough to to post completed games and share impressed by the BBC’s decision to
enough for young fans to create make a great game in minutes using them with players around the world. open up one of its flagship brands to
simple games but have the depth and drag and drop from a set of pre-made The best games posted could be such experimentation.

sophistication to allow for more templates. 
 ‘featured’ by editorial teams. The 

complex games. 
 game maker was a huge success. More It was a huge step in Make It Digital’s

 As users progress , the choices than 250,000 games have been made ambition to create a generation of
It was a terrific collaboration between become increasingly broad, so far. Makers and players have spent digital creators and help meet the
BBC Digital Creativity, Aardman introducing logic, sequencing and an average 18 minutes per session. UK’s need for software developers
Animations and BBC Digital Wales – computational thought. The variety of But the most exciting aspect of the and game designers – and it remains
all under the Make It Digital umbrella. games that could be made was project was the creativity it inspired. online for you to have a go yourself!
enormous. Digging deeper into the Game makers started to develop new
inner workings, it was possible to games that we never imagined
influence how items and characters possible when the tool was designed. 
 Martin Wilson is Head of Digital
interacted, to add special effects and 
 Creativity, BBC Design & Engineering
to animate objects. The sophisticated The Doctor Who Game Maker was
logic system was a great introduction awarded Winner at the Broadcast

Here’s a title
Make it Digital Partners

Apps for Good
Sarah Wisbey
Access to inspirational role models in the digital in 2016 was a fantastic way to showcase some of
world has always been an important way for Apps our inspirational students to an even wider and
for Good to engage students who may not have relevant audience. The creators of the app I’m Okay
previously taken an interest in tech. It’s one of the aimed to help young LGBTQ people see that they’re
key stepping stones in breaking down the barriers not alone - and get answers and information they
some young people face to accessing technology need. In their selflessness, the team created a
education and particularly important for girls who youth-led movement driven by peer support and
often lack young role models inspiring them to encouragement.
pursue study in the male dominated STEM field.
The app has had thousands of downloads, in the
Role models are also important to encourage young
UK and beyond. Since their nomination for the
people to create technology which solves problems
Make it Digital Teen Awards the girls have been
that are important to them and the world around
working independently to challenge stereotypes in

tech and encourage more girls to follow a career

path in technology. They have spoken at events,
The Apps for Good courses have always enabled
such as Oxfam’s Women in IT Day, to show that
our students to help inspire younger generations to
girls can be just as successful in the digital world as
take an interest in learning important tech skills.
Collaborating with the Make it Digital programme

The other young team who were nominated for the Make programme that proves to all of our pupils, regardless of
it Digital Teen Awards created an app called WeKonnekt age or ability, that they can achieve whatever they want
to help young carers. Many of the young people they to, as long as they believe it.”

spoke to said they felt isolated and did not know where to 

turn for help. “We wanted to show them that there were The exposure these young, relatable role models had
people and resources that they could connect to. Our app through the Make it Digital campaign has been invaluable
helps them socialise with each other, get the support they in helping our mission to inspire young people to take an
need and feel less alone.” The app gives users access to interest in technology; not only technology for
peer support as well as practical information, like technology’s sake but to use it to make a social impact.
emergency numbers and pharmacy opening times. 
 With the work from teachers and graduates of our course,

 such as those mentioned here, young people up and down
WeKonnekt is free to download, making it readily the country have been inspired to create their own tech
accessible to teens who can have all the information for good ideas. Closing the huge digital skills gap in the
directly on their phones. Through exposure in the Make it UK has long been an impact goal for Apps for Good and
Digital initiative many students from the Luton school our students’ involvement in the Make it Digital
the boys were from and far beyond have been inspired to campaign was only just the beginning of making this
create technology for good causes and consequently happen. 

signed up to the Apps for Good course. Emma Darcy the 

teacher from the boys’ school had the following to say:
“Luton, as you know, sometimes receives negative (and
Sarah Wisbey is Communications & Events Manager at
very undeserved) coverage in the press and it has been so
Apps for Good
wonderful to have an inspirational and aspirational

Like to learn more about Apps for Good and these inspirational
38 students? Visit www.appsforgood.org
Jonny Austin
In April 2015, I spent a lunchbreak However, the BBC micro:bit wasn’t measure a rocket car’s acceleration,
searching my local supermarket for designed to be just another tell the interactive story of pizza,
the cheapest thing I could cannibalise programmable ‘development board’, build a portable heart-rate-monitor,
to finish a demo for the BBC. but a seamless plug and play tool that or invent a ‘rain detecting hat’.
puts creativity, learning and ease-of-
What they saw that afternoon was These ideas capture the exhilaration,
use for teachers and young people
the battery clip from a £1 alarm clock, simplicity and creative potential of

glued onto an early BBC micro:bit the BBC micro:bit, and I’m sure it will

prototype. I was building a demo as help many more people become a
As an engineer on the project, the
one of the 31 partner organisations coders and inventors.
most compelling thing about working
that the BBC had recruited to help
with the BBC micro:bit is seeing the
them deliver a bold and audacious
exciting (and sometimes ridiculous)
project, to give a coding device to
things these new audiences choose to
every year 7 in the UK, for free.
do with this technology: build a team
game based on a teleporting duck,

Part of the magic of the micro:bit is The micro:bit isn’t really about This approach helps engage new The cool design, broad appeal and
how effortlessly it brings the virtual learning to code–it’s about learning to coders of all ages. Independent technological simplicity of the
and physical together. Within minutes, do things that you care about with research tracked the progress of micro:bit comes as a direct result of the
things you’ve made with the computer technology. Learning to code happens micro:bit in the UK during its first year diverse backgrounds, outlooks,
start controlling the real world. It’s this along the way: you learn about loops and found that that 85% of teachers communities and interests within the
physicality and immediacy that create almost by accident because you’re who used the micro:bit agreed that it micro:bit partnership. This broad,
the ‘micro:bit moment’. making your micro:bit dance, and the made Computer Science more interdisciplinary team has shaped the
song has a verse and chorus that enjoyable for their students, and 90% device, the editors, the learning
It’s amazing to see people of all ages
repeat. of the children who used the micro:bit materials, and the concept of the
have that empowering experience
said it helped show them that anyone micro:bit itself into a truly unique
when they realise the potential of the
can code. ecosystem.
device in their hands, and want to
make something new with it; the Jonny Austin was technical lead for
moment people start to feel excited ARM on the BBC micro:bit project and
about playing with technology, instead is CTO of the Micro:bit Educational
of nervously holding back from it. Foundation

Louise Pancott
Barclays was thrilled to be a key remember the BBC micro and the with all of the different micro:bit
partner to Make It Digital including impact it had on a whole generation partners – pooling all of our
providing support to manufacture in the early 1980s.
 strengths and resources to create the
and distribute the BBC micro:bit. It 
 micro:bit and inspiring young people
was such an obvious partnership for We felt privileged to be able to to get coding. Only the BBC could
us building on our Digital Eagles incorporate the BBC micro:bit into bring everyone together and lead
programme and our Code our digital education programmes this initiative from day one. 

Playground initiative to inspire such as Code Playground, where 

children up and down the UK to get children, parents and teachers can We have 17,000 colleagues trained as
into coding, programming and digital learn coding online or in branch – Digital Eagles, many of whom got
technology, helping everyone build and LifeSkills, where young people involved, supporting young people to
digital skills and confidence.
 can learn the skills to land their explore the BBC micro:bit as part of

 dream job in the digital economy. 
 our desire to help them learn to code
At a personal level it was especially 
 both online and in branch.
pertinent given I am of an age to Especially rewarding was working

The BBC micro in the 1980s was a ‘once in playground team create a Pedometer for didn’t take long before the children were panic button to be able to call for help –
a generation’ intervention to make sure Wellbeing Week using their micro:bits. miles ahead of us with their skills and genius
the UK stays ahead. The BBC micro:bit There were children walking around the knowledge and were really putting us to
Just a few of the many stories. At the heart
was the next intervention for this session and showing off how many steps shame!

of them all though is how the BBC
generation of children. History will judge they’d done and one girl realised that if 

micro:bit became a means of engaging
its impact, but I think we all feel proud to she skipped everywhere it was more steps!
 Another success story came from Salford
children and the wider community with
have been part of wanting to make 
 where we had 7 schools attend an event
technology and coding in a way that
something happen.
 We also brought the BBC micro:bit to a with 12 students from each to think about
wasn't threatening (or boring), but was

 community and school in Scotland - St some of the issues in the local community.
useful and fun.
The launch was a big celebration - our Mungo’s Roman Catholic Primary School These particular students were thinking
Digital Eagles ran a number of events to in Glasgow - that hadn't seen anything like about accessibility and how they could use Who knows how we may have inspired the
get the BBC micro:bit off the ground – to it before. We had loads of fun showcasing a BBC micro:bit to sense movement of next Dyson or Branson for the digital
demonstrate the technology and bring it to some simple games and putting the elderly people which could be connected revolution…
life in a human way and it was wonderful children head to head with each other (and to Amazon echo and call for help if
to see such a positive public reaction. Just us!) - and it was the start of a great required from either the carers or
a few examples bring this to life.
 partnership in the area with the school ambulance crew. The students thought
Louise Pancott is Director of External

 and community centre to be able to build about using the micro:bit as a form of
Communications, Barclays UK
Liverpool Digital Eagles helped our code the children’s skills using the micro:bit. It

Liz Williams
Technology is shaping every aspect up for personal and professional Education, working with BCS (the
of our lives. It’s changing how we success in a world shaped by tech. Chartered Institute for IT ), BT,
think and how we learn; how This is more fundamental than Raspberry Pi, and teachers, put in
governments govern; how society’s knowing how to use an app – it place a one year intervention, the
problems are solved; and how news means being fluent in Barefoot Computing Project, to help
is shared. Our ability to tap digital computational thinking and teachers with the new subject.
technology’s potential depends on problem solving.
 Make it Digital, also in its infancy,
having a very broad base of people 
 supported the project with access to
who understand how to harness BT and the BBC share a vision that BBC brands.
and use tech well. Both BT and the digital creativity is of critical
The following year, BT took up the
BBC have recognised that this isn’t importance for young people. In
baton to fund and manage Barefoot,
just about having a highly skilled 2014 computing was introduced to
in partnership with BCS, and has
workforce – important though that the curriculum in primary schools
developed and expanded the
is – but about setting young people in England and the Department for
project across the UK.

Barefoot is now active in all 4 nations, and about how technology actually works, The last crunch-point is the transition to
had reached more than 1.25 million confident and in control of it, and work, where we must show young people
children by the end of the school year in ultimately moving towards becoming active that tech will be in every job and is the new
July 2017. A study by Ipsos Mori has shown creators. It’s all about preparing the next way to get ahead. We’re focusing on
its impact, with primary school teachers generation to thrive in a digital world. disadvantaged young people through work
now more confident with the computing placements and reaching the hardest to
We’ve designed our programme around
curriculum. 99% said that computational reach in partnership with the Rio Ferdinand
three crunch-points in young people’s lives.
thinking helps pupils solve problems, 82% Foundation.
The first is in primary school, where tech
said it helps pupils work together more
literacy needs to be a foundation skill as Tech literacy is a shared challenge and can
collaboratively, while 96% said it improves
important as English and maths – and we’re only be cracked by working together across
pupils’ numeracy and 69% their literacy
making strides towards that ambition sectors, scaling up what’s working well and

through Barefoot. The second is the early sharing learning. It is not a one-off

teenage years, where we must inspire corporate social responsibility initiative, it’s
It’s part of BT’s long term commitment to
mainstream teenagers to want to build their a long-term business critical agenda that
build a culture of tech literacy for the
tech know-how, and support them to live has to be part of what we do and engage all Liz Williams is Director Tech Literacy, BT
nation, with an initial goal to reach 5
their lives online safely and confidently. our employees. Make it Digital is doing just Group
million young people by 2020. That means
We’re working on plans with BT Sport and that as it becomes embedded across the
helping young people to become curious
5Rights to make that a reality. BBC.

Computer Science for Fun
Paul Curzon
The BBC are brilliant at combining and it is often treated as Much computing research is
entertainment with education. indistinguishable from naturally fun. It has tentacles in
However, unlike mainstream programming. It is actually much whatever discipline interests a
subjects from Astronomy to History broader, and more exciting than person, and there are stories there
where there is plenty of experience that. That broader subject needs to tell. Computational techniques
in how to educate, entertain and exposure. have changed the way other
inspire, Computing is a new disciplines are done, providing
Queen Mary University of London’s
challenge. It involves intangible novel virtual ways to run
‘Computer Science for
concepts, separated from the real experiments, for example. Once one
Fun’ (www.cs4fn.org) project faced
world. Attempts to turn it in to realises that computing is about
these problems. Our solution was
successful TV can degenerate into computation not computers, and
built on two foundations: telling
just enthusing about technology. that computation occurs in many
contextually rich stories about
There is minimal experience of how forms, new hooks can be found.
computing research, and unplugged
to teach it to kids, even in schools,

Make It Digital used the link between Unplugged explanations and Computers may not have been around
dance and algorithms in the Strictly activities involve getting away from long compared to other subjects, but
Micro:bit Live Lesson that we were computers and explaining concepts Computing is still rich with
involved in, for example. Algorithms with physical computation using fascinating and fun stories waiting to
also have a deep history stretching ‘Blue Peter technology’ of rope, card, be told, whether by unplugged or
back millennia with lots of scope for tubes and sticky backed plastic. other means. Make It Digital has been
rich stories to be told. The important up for the challenge, but there is
You can act out computation, dance it
thing with any story, though, is not to plenty of scope, and certainly a need,
(as in the Strictly Live Lesson), play
gloss over how the technology works for more of the stories to be told in the
games, do puzzles and even use magic
but use the stories as an opportunity future.
tricks to illustrate invisible computing
to explain. Otherwise technology is
concepts in fun ways. This approach
just reinforced as ‘magic’. Paul Curzon is Professor of Computer
is successfully being used to explain
Science at Queen Mary University of
complex topics even to primary
school kids. Combined with fun
stories it makes for powerful lessons.

Lucy Lyall Grant
For everyone at Freeformers, the know many of those working in background, gender or job.

BBC’s Make It Digital campaign was business would have experienced this 

an exhilarating initiative to be part of. shift, but what about all of those who We had no doubt at Freeformers that
But it was also an amazing series of were not working such as the Make it Digital was going to change
events to be involved in personally.
 unemployed, students, those under 16, perspectives nationwide and create

 and even the retired? 
 the momentum needed to drive the
This is a time when technology is 
 motivation for, and an understanding
massively disrupting all sectors, They do not deserve to be excluded of, the need for people to upskill
resulting in the need for a huge change from this fast pace of change. That is digitally.
in mindsets and skillsets from the 21st why the purpose of the Make it Digital
So as a company dedicated to making
century workforce. 
 campaign - to ignite digital confidence,
a social impact, fostering a diverse,

 knowledge and awareness - struck
young talent pool and creating the
For the BBC to throw their weight such a chord for me because it aimed
future workforce now, we jumped on
behind that was so crucial. In my role to do this across the entire country,
board running various projects and
of Business Strategist at Freeformers, I regardless of age, educational

These included coding workshops to But by far, the most impactful and eye- Back-to-back sessions such as our ‘How to
targeted groups of girls and those socially opening initiative we ran at Freeformers develop an app in 20 minutes…' event
excluded. We were even featured on the as part of Make it Digital was participating showed how digital can be fun and
BBC Three programme Girls Can Code. in the UK tour. Held during the summer of interactive. It was really special seeing
2015, it aimed to boost digital skills across grandparents with their grandchildren,
From the pool of those we trained, we also
the UK by inspiring people of all ages to couples, families and friends learning
helped select young people for the chance
see why the changing digital landscape together - that was the moment it all
to be a part of the BBC Youth Panel,
was so exciting and important. 
 clicked for me and proved Make It Digital
running intergenerational workshops with
was a success.
people from the BBC and creative and
ambitious 16-25 year olds. One young man The tour lasted around three months from Everyone at Freeformers was so proud to Lucy Lyall Grant is a Business Strategist
impressed so much, he went on to get June until September and took in 13 have helped make Make It Digital a at Freeformers
work experience at the BBC. locations with Freeformers playing a role success and remember the impact made
in Blackpool, Hull and Lewisham. Through and the reactions on people’s face still
We also spent time coaching DJs and
tech talks and immersive workshops, we now. The campaign proved that when
producers from BBC Radio 1, including
wanted to get audiences to think about the partners work together united in a
Greg James, in digital skills and
positive possibility of digital-led careers, common aim, everyone benefits. And the
whether for people now or in the future or UK certainly benefited from being helped
for their children or even grandchildren. to Make It Digital!

Justin Spooner
When the BBC first told us about Similarly, our Higher Education that connected and expanded on
Make it Digital, I knew it would be partners had always expressed a the big themes that the BBC was
an initiative that FutureLearn and clear sense of the importance of focusing on. The level of debate,
its partners would want to get supporting young people and collaboration and coordination was
behind. The team at FutureLearn professionals to develop their truly inspiring and showed how
was all too aware how big a role digital understanding in flexible working with a much-loved
digital skills played in their own and relevant ways, so they were national broadcaster can really act
professional and creative lives, so also happy to lend their support to as a catalyst to develop exciting
knew first hand how important the campaign.  
 new ways of working.
these skills were to being able to 

From those initial workshops, all
imagine and shape the future of our To get started,  I set up some group
sorts of great course ideas were
world. calls that brought together many
developed, tweaked and delivered.
universities, where we explored
how we could create online courses

The University of Reading created a The university collaborated closely with We got a lot of positive feedback from FutureLearn were proud to be part of a
fantastic introduction to mobile game the BBC to relaunch this teacher training teachers including some reassuring national moment for digital skills and
development, and a course to help course, integrating brilliant new online messages about how useful the course creativity and we have continued to build
learners start to make and program resources the BBC had created for Make it was including: on the energy and excitement it
robots. King’s College London created a Digital to give teachers lots of options for generated.
‘It has given me more confidence and some
groundbreaking introduction to the world how they might approach classroom
useful ideas, especially on planning and
of Internet of Things. And the University activity.
assessment. I now would like to learn more
of East Anglia created a course aimed at Justin Spooner leads on the
The BBC then promoted the 6 week about coding. Thank you.’ 
teachers to help them build their development of the digital skills
course which helped it reach a new
confidence about the new computing and about how the collaboration had portfolio at FutureLearn.
audience of over 3,000 teachers, who
curriculum that had just been introduced unlocked some new ideas:
created over 7,000 comments that
in primary and secondary schools.  
enriched the course, comments and ‘Great resources to use. I hadn't even
The UEA course was a fascinating discussion being one of our key measures thought of BBC Bitesize before it was
example of how Make it Digital could of whether a course is successful.  flagged up here.’
help build excitement, momentum and
trust around a critical digital skills issue.

Clare Riley
For me, the BBC micro:bit was campaign to introduce a computing was still true that parents – and many
magical: like the last piece of a jigsaw curriculum for 5 – 16 year olds in students making GCSE and/or life
puzzle – or the keystone in an arch. England. Conscious of the need to choices - were unsure about the
Of itself, it was the most wonderful help teachers, Microsoft had also merits of computing versus
little gadget but it also changed the invested in developing the Computing Information and Communication
game for computing at school by at School (CAS) community and co- Technology (ICT).
bringing parents, families, clubs and funding Quickstart professional
Despite great evangelism by Code.org
everyone into the story, along with development with the Department
and others computing was not yet
schools and educators.
 for Education, to give a bigger pool of
seen as delightful and critical to

 teachers the confidence to enjoy the
almost any job which would be
With Simon Peyton-Jones in new curriculum. 

available when the students of 2015
Microsoft’s Research Lab in 

move from education into the world
Cambridge, and colleagues from BT, Our passion for computing had
of work.
Google, Raspberry Pi and across helped to lay a good foundation
Microsoft, I’d been part of the across the education sector. But it

That changed when the BBC micro:bit The decision to join the BBC’s Tom also introduced me to Steve Hodges, Back at home, the UK Education team
came along – and started a national partnership was easy because it was a from MSR Cambridge, and his experience commissioned a Quickstart Guide for
conversation about these issues, great idea; we had much to contribute; of building prototype hardware was teachers, written by a professor, a teacher
involving families, clubs, and businesses, and our entire business model is based on invaluable to the Farnell, Nordic and and a student, as well as delivering a
as well as academia. partnership! Microsoft Research (MSR ARM team who were shuffling the roadshow to introduce the BBC micro:bit
Redmond) built the coding platform: sensors and design elements to give the to over a thousand CAS Master Teachers,
Around the world, there was a great deal
great kudos to Tom Ball, Peli de Halleux, half-credit-card-sized BBC micro:bit the starting a cascade of training across the
of excitement about the internet of things
Michael Moskal and Jonathan Protzenko most astonishing functionality. country. The roadshow was a brilliant
and small board “physical” computers,
for a design which allows ALL students to moment in time because, up till then, we
with many organisations designing little Others who saw the idea in development
code. had been working together frantically to
devices like the BBC micro:bit. It was got swept along too. Eric Anderson
deliver what looked like the right solution
very special, even as a prototype and one integrated it with Kodu Gamelab, so that
in the light of all the research.
of the two precious samples that Jessica it could be used as a games controller for
Cecil and I took on a tour of the Microsoft Kodu – programming it to race and shoot
campus in Seattle in early 2015 ended up – or eat apples in the Kodu world of 3D
with Bill Gates - and it was thrilling to get visual programming.
the message back that “it looked like a
winner”. 😊

Some partners were hardware experts, Microsoft’s then very new CEO, Satya Restless minds at Microsoft also kept So many new friends. Maybe one day
some funders, some software and some Nadella, along with the BBC’s Director micro:bit ideas bubbling along and it’s we’ll all get an invitation to meet again
were teacher engagement specialists. General, Lord Hall, joined a hands-on wonderful to see MSR and the Visual for Sue MacGregor’s Radio 4
Together, though, with the BBC, we class with the students at Eastlea Studio product team develop a global, programme “The Reunion”? I hope we
produced something that none of us school in Newham and, like me, was learn-to-code platform for physical might inspire others to embark on
could have delivered on our own – and blown away by the ambition of their computing – Microsoft MakeCode ambitious partnerships like this one: it
none of us was sure how it would land ideas. With just a few weeks to explore (www.makecode.com) – with the was so worthwhile and so much fun!
with friendly sceptics like the CAS the BBC micro:bit they had working micro:bit at its heart and freely
Master Teachers. I will always models of robotic arms to handle available around the world in every
remember the buzz of the first training dangerous chemicals; wristband maths country with a passion for the
day – and the tweet that told us we challenges and a micro:bit powered micro:bit.
were on the right track “I really already blimp using the compass to take letters Clare Riley is STEM and Computing
see the hype for the #bbcmicrobit is to the North Pole for Father Christmas. 
 lead for Microsoft Education in the UK
absolutely well founded. Totally game- 

And one-time journalist and film-
changing.” Great teachers, like Stephen Richards,
maker at the BBC
were the springboard for the micro:bit
to take flight right across the country.

Nominet Trust
Vicki Hearn
Nominet Trust’s purpose is to Our experience over the last ten For Nominet Trust, the Make it
transform lives with tech. As the years has amply demonstrated the Digital connection was born out of
UK’s leading funder of socially strength of working in partnerships our Make Things Do Stuff initiative –
motivated tech, we want all young that bring together cross-sector a pioneering campaign and website
people, regardless of background or expertise and resources, particularly we launched with Nesta in 2012 to
circumstance, to have access to the when it comes to digital skills encourage young people to become
skills and opportunities that will delivery. By convening a diverse creators of technology, and not just
enable them to thrive in our digital range of organisations with a shared consumers. The website created a
world. Nominet Trust is proud to goal, Make it Digital has made a unique, non-commercial space for
have been a member of both the significant contribution to young young people to engage with digital
Make it Digital Partners’ Forum and people’s lives, to the capabilities of making opportunities, and to share
the BBC’s Digital Advisory Council. the UK’s digital workforce and the easy-to-digest tutorials for digital
future success of our digital economy. projects.

During the two-year campaign, more The Trust’s founder, Nominet (the At Nominet Trust, we continue to Our co-funding of Wavemaker with
than 70 organisations provided public benefit company responsible support initiatives working to make Comic Relief, has created a
100,000+ digital making experiences for running the .uk domain the full benefits of digital technology community makerspace in Stoke-on-
for young people nationwide. Our infrastructure) has also been part of accessible to all. In partnership with Trent. We’re also providing grant
parallel Digital Makers Fund the Make it Digital story. In 2016, Creative England, our £1million funding to youth organisations
supported innovations boosting the Nominet’s research team collaborated iAMDigital fund invests in supporting the hardest to reach young
number of young people participating with the BBC to develop the organisations tackling barriers that people in the UK through our Digital
in digital making activities. In total, connectivity that turns BBC are limiting people’s digital Reach programme. There is still more
14 ventures received funding, micro:bits into Internet of Things capabilities. iDEA, founded by to be done, but as Make it Digital has
including CodeClub, Technology Will devices. Nominet is also a founding Nominet Trust and The Duke of York, demonstrated, by working together,
Save Us and Makerversity. From the partner of The Micro:bit Educational KG, is equipping young people with we can transform more lives with
end of 2014, the success of Make Foundation. digital and entrepreneurial skills. tech.
Things Do Stuff was championed and
Vicki Hearn is the Director, Nominet
scaled through the BBC’s Make it
Digital campaign.

Tech London Advocates
Russ Shaw
Make it Digital has been an Britain’s technology sector faces a The campaign ran smoothly
ambitious project and a real success serious shortage in skills. Research throughout, despite the logistical
for young people and media shows that tech companies create difficulties associated with the
veterans alike. In particular, I think jobs at three times the rate of the design and development of the BBC
that the campaign around rest of the economy, and are central micro:bit, as well as the creation
distributing BBC micro:bit to economic growth. This makes and distribution of the devices and
computers to year 7 pupils across campaigns such as Make it Digital their learning resources, all on a
the country was something that not just ambitious, but imperative. I nationwide scale. This success can
will make a pronounced and lasting believe this initiative is a crucial be attributed to the unprecedented
difference on the next generation of step in cultivating the young tech collaboration of the many separate
coders and tech entrepreneurs. minds of the next generation. partner organisations.

At the heart of the campaign was the It is also a testament to Make it Digital’s was a slightly riskier and more expensive
female-led startup Technology Will Save ambition that the campaign was hardware strategy, but one that paid off and made
Us, which creates educational kits to teach rather than software-led. Using software for an excellent campaign.
children how to use technology. would have probably meant supplying
The Make it Digital campaign is a great
login details to all year 7s. Not only would
The startup designed the shape and feel of British success story that will have
this restrict students that don’t have their
the micro:bit device, which was designed repercussions for generations to come.
own computers or Internet access, it
to be fun, easy to use and aesthetically Technology is a source of wonder and joy
would also be competing for their
appealing, as well as being available in a for young people, as well as a driver of the
attention with other platforms such as
range of colours. British economy. Tech London Advocates
Facebook and online gaming sites. 

was proud to support this fantastic
The company is a British manufacturing 

success story, run from the unlikely Giving students a piece of hardware such
location of East London, and is the perfect as the BBC micro:bit meant that it was far
example of the kind of entrepreneurship more tactile and easy to play around with.
This catered to different kinds of learning Russ Shaw is CEO of Tech London
we are trying to instil in these year 7
styles, and gave the students a greater Advocates
degree of ownership over the project. This

Maggie Philbin
TeenTech were an enthusiastic partner in Make It rewarding careers. We recognised Make It Digital as a
Digital. From a personal point of view I felt very proud powerful platform to help more young people
of the BBC for embarking on such an ambitious project understand careers in technology are open to everyone,
and bringing so many creative and diverse irrespective of gender or social background. It’s not
organisations together to make it happen. 
 about tech per se, it’s about teamwork, creativity, people

 and having a stake in the world.

TeenTech’s role was to provide some context for where 

digital skills could take you. Our mission for the past 9 We began by making a short film at Bristol Robotics Lab
years has been to help all young people, their teachers illustrating some unexpected aspects of robotics and
and families understand opportunities in contemporary then ran workshops with hundreds of young people
industry and the skills needed – personal, practical and helping them and their teachers understand the
academic - to take advantage of them. Digital skills potential of a small device which seemed to capture the
underpin every job and cut across every industry and imagination of everyone who held one. When we filmed
it’s never been more important to ensure that everyone in the Bristol lab with one of the first ten prototypes for
has access to the tools of the future.
 the BBC micro:bit, the engineers and students were

 crestfallen when we said we had to take it away and we
I often say it was only when I started work on only got it back on condition they were sent some as
Tomorrow’s World that I had any idea of just how big soon as they went into production.

the world of tech really was, the many different roles 

and pathways which lead people into fascinating and

The most significant aspect of Make It Digital was the For TeenTech it was especially gratifying to see many
way it not only encouraged everyone to have a go but students, previously with little interest in tech, now
provided a piece of kit with which they could do this. I wanting to become TeenTech Young Ambassadors.
particularly liked the way they belonged to the child Many went into primary schools to share their
not to the school, so they were were free to take them experiences. After listening to one team of girls talk
home and develop their own fun projects. 
 about their project, a young lad put up his hand and

 asked ‘Can boys do this too?’ One team skyped schools
It was only matter of weeks before we saw the BBC in Spain, Colombia, Finland and Hungary encouraging
micro:bit being used within projects entered for the them to enter the TeenTech Awards and then
TeenTech Awards and TeenTech City of Tomorrow– mentored them through the process. We were
from devices to ensure you brushed your teeth incredibly proud when Radio 1 crowned Lauren and
properly to ways to ensure less time was wasted in Lucy ‘Teen Heroes’ for this work.
schools by queuing. It was thrilling to watch this
happen. Many teams who might previously have
lacked resources to go beyond a concept idea to ‘make I’m looking forward to the game-changers of the future
life better, simpler, safer or more fun’, were now able to saying, ‘It all began when I was given a BBC micro:bit’!
build a prototype.
Maggie Philbin is Chief Executive of TeenTech

Kerensa Jennings
The Early Days of Make it Digital
Towards the end of 2013, in my capacity as the It became clear very quickly that there was so
BBC's Head of Strategic Delivery and with a much good stuff going on that the BBC needed
background in both broadcast and digital to ensure whatever it did was not duplicative
content production, I was asked to develop the or patronising. We decided that the
initial strategy for what was to become BBC centrepiece of the strategy should be the idea
Make it Digital. I began with desk and that our role at the BBC should be to 'shine a
interview research among the digital light on the wonderful world of digital’.
community to conduct gap analysis and ask
Core to this was an appreciation that
what tech insiders thought the BBC could
partnership would be key to our success.
usefully do for the public in the digital world

As I was researching who to speak with, the

task snowballed and I grew to love and respect
the incredible educators, inspirers and makers
of the digital ecosystem.

With that in mind, we identified a range of It had LED lights, little toggle buttons, and This meant the tenets of the strategy were
influencers and proposed that we should small holes for crocodile clips. You could genuinely informed by the people who
start a series of roundtables where we could make it spell messages and use it to operated within the digital community, and
engage people, involve them as both programme tech like a mini server. It was in many cases, ran it. One of the key lines in
stakeholders and shapers of what we were brilliant. the original strategy was: ‘We want to
doing; and hopefully build a community of channel the spirit of the BBC Micro for the
At the end of the demo, I promised him I
advocates. digital age.’
would get this idea looked at by the higher
An amazing innovator from BBC Learning echelons of the BBC. Meanwhile, my inner At the time we had no clear idea what that
called Howard Baker heard about the hunt strategist leaped with excitement, thinking would be, but I was very conscious of the
for the digital age equivalent of the BBC this might be not just the digital age Micro, impact the BBC Micro personal computer
Micro. He came to London from BBC but a way for us to deliver something that and the BASIC language had on me
Manchester and gave a demo of a early could deliver the project’s ambition to reach personally, and wondered what the
version of the BBC micro:bit. a large group of people. 
 equivalent would be in the digital age when

 every single one of us carries a personal
It reminded me of the Raspberry Pi... but Kerensa Jennings was BBC Head of
In the end, BBC Learning delivered a million computer in our pocket - our phones.
smaller, more compact, and with the Strategic Delivery from 2010 to 2016
BBC micro:bits and gave one to every year
capacity to be easier to grapple with as a The impact Make it Digital has made and is
seven in schools that asked for one - a
learner with no prior knowledge. continuing to make will live on. The aim
remarkable achievement.
was to shine a light on the wonderful world
of digital; channel the spirit of the BBC
Micro for the digital age; and bring digital
home. I hope, and feel, that we managed to
do all of that.

Ian Livingstone
The Case for Creative Computing
Creativity is a core strength of the UK and gives times faster than other industry sectors. And,
us an edge as a nation. The UK excels at creating like most industry sectors, it is becoming
original Intellectual Property. Celebrated around exponentially reliant on digital creativity.
the world, UK music, television, film, games,
I’ve been privileged to work in the UK’s world-
fashion, publishing, theatre, art, design,
beating videogames industry for over three
advertising, crafts and architecture is the by-
decades. Videogame development exemplifies
product of a long history of culture - and counter-
the marriage of art and science, requiring a
culture. Modern Britain is an open, multi-cultural
combination of technical expertise and creative
society, a rich talent pool where ideas stream
flair. The industry relies on a skilled workforce
from diverse free-thinkers collaborating to create
that can adapt to furious rates of technological
innovative new products and services. However,
change. Unfortunately, the education system has
beyond giving immeasurable pleasure and
not kept up with this change and is not meeting
enjoyment, the creative industries are vital to
the needs of children who seek careers in the
economic success. They are an important driver
digital and creative industries.
of growth. In the UK they provide almost 2
million jobs and contribute £84.1 billion to the
economy – that’s £9.6 million an hour. It’s also a
very dynamic sector, currently growing three

Of course not every child will want to Computers are a tool to enable digital born digital natives, but they need to be Digital-making skills should be seen as
become a software engineer, but it will creativity. And computer science is not creators of digital technology as well as a priority investment in children in
help them if they know how code works just about coding. It’s a discipline; a consumers of it. They need to be given post-Brexit Britain to power the
in order to become able digital citizens. broad mix of computational thinking, digital-making skills to enable them to knowledge economy. That is why I’ve
They need to be in the driving seat of problem-solving, decision making, create their own digital content. been proud to support the Make It
technology, not the passenger seat. In intuitive learning, logic, analysis and Digital initiative, and both the BBC
Education needs to reflect the world
the 21st century, digital literacy is creative thinking to be used cross- micro:bit and the Raspberry Pi as
around us. A digital economy cannot be
almost as important as literacy and curricula to solve problems in multiple enabling platforms for digital creativity
built with a nation of digital illiterates.
numeracy. The solution is not just to ways. It is a vital, analytical discipline and contextual learning.
Therefore it is important that the
give every child a computer or tablet that is as relevant to the modern world
Computing curriculum inspires
and think ‘job done’. as physics, chemistry or biology. It is the
creativity in children. It requires a mind
combination of computer programming Ian Livingstone CBE is Chairman
shift from using proprietary technology
skills and creativity by which world- Sumo-Digital Ltd
to being creative with technology. A
changing companies such as Google,
code club in every school in the country
Facebook and Twitter were built. 

would help to accelerate the learning

process, encouraging children to
Indeed, in a world where computers
collaborate and hack their knowledge
define so much of how society works,
with the help of their peers and
from how we do business to how we
enjoy ourselves, computer science
should be regarded as 'essential
knowledge'. 21st century children are

Here’s a title

Apps for Good
Sarah Wisbey Contributors

ARM Freeformers Tech London Advocates

Jonny Austin Lucy Lyall Grant Russ Shaw

Barclays Futurelearn TeenTech

Louise Pancott Justin Spooner Maggie Philbin

BT MicrosoY Ian Livingstone

Liz Williams Clare Riley

Computer Science for Fun Nominet Trust Kerensa Jennings

Paul Curzon Vicki Hearn

Jessica Cecil Paul Coslett
Controller, Make it Digital The Make it Digital Team Online Producer

Andy Wilson Anthony Garvey Anya Saunders

Partnerships Lead Senior Partnerships Producer Editorial Lead

Bill Thompson Claire Rice Ewan MacNeil

Partnerships Lead Editorial Lead PA & Team Assistant

Kat Wong Kerensa Jennings Matthew Kirkland

Editorial Lead Head of Strategic Delivery, BBC Project Director

Niall Brady Olivia Lockyer Sophie Brendel

Programme Manager Digital Content Producer Head of Digital Communications,

This booklet was produced by the Make it Digital team in October 2017

Many thanks to the contributors

Edited by Bill Thompson

Editorial Assistant Ewan MacNeil

Production Support Olivia Lockyer and Hanna Adan

Design by Complete Control

Laid out in Reith

© 2017 BBC or individual contributors