PCMI package distributed to 6th graders in Putnam County.

The Putnam County Microcomputer Initiative (PCMI) was created to generate interest in physical computing in our area. The initiative was funded by the Putnam County Community Foundation on 6/7/19.

The idea is fairly simple: in the fall of 2019 we gave away a micro:bit to every 6th grader in Putnam County through the four Putnam County school systems and the Putnam County Public Library. Since then we’ve provided these kits to other organizations in our area. You may also be interested in our CoderDojo and Pi Makers meetup.

Resources/links for this initiative may be helpful for anyone interested in more about the micro:bit device. Since our initial distribution there has been a micro:bit upgrade to V2 (although still very hard to get), which added several features including a microphone & a speaker. More specific differences can be referenced here, but functionally they are the same and look very similar.

  • You can read about getting started with the micro:bit here. Please note you can also ‘pair’ the specific device to your computer, which lets you download directly to the device & not have to use the drag/drop feature.
  • micro:bit features may help you understand the sensors and has some simple projects to help you try them out. This webpage has instructions for hooking up earbuds or speakers to use the micro:bit sound output!
  • MakeCode is the block-based code editor from Microsoft that works with the micro:bit and some other devices.
  • There are other programming languages that can be used on the micro:bit. Go to the micro:bit code page for descriptions/links. The online MakeCode editor (and an available downloadable version) has tabs that will let you see and program in Javascript and Python.

Like a challenge? If you look in the Castlemakers front window on Franklin Street there’s a micro:bit running with a scrolling text display. By using another micro:bit to send a text message, you can remotely activate lights and sounds inside the makerspace! Here’s a hint on how to do it at the end of a blog post

Last updated on 12/13/21.

Funding Provided By:

And Sponsorship provided by:

Greencastle Indiana's Makerspace!