Senior Front-end Developer - Freelance (9 -12 months position)
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is looking for a freelance front-end developer to lead the development of an innovative web application to support teachers finding, planning and delivering lessons using the BBC micro:bit.
Working in conjunction with education experts you will lead the creation of a web application for delivering lesson material, both for display inside the microbit.org website, but also interactively during lessons in schools around the world. We need to help educators in the classroom to teach complex issues like cyber security and the Internet of Things, without compromising the privacy of children – meaning minimal backend services, no user accounts, and much of the ‘magic’ happening in the front-end.
The challenges are unique, for example interfacing directly between micro:bit hardware and the browser, allowing teachers to initiate a browser-based lesson environment that students can easily join, and interaction with web-based IDEs (including web-based compilers) to enhance the lesson experience and help establish ad-hoc, secure, networks of micro:bits in the classroom.
The micro:bit draws on technology from our partners around the world and you will be working closely with engineering teams inside Arm, Microsoft, MIT, Nominet and with the global Python Community to deliver innovations that transform the way computing is taught around the world.
You will be working in a project team on a standalone project with key strategic importance to the Micro:bit Educational Foundation.
This is a freelance position at the Micro:bit Educational Foundation. We’re looking for someone to lead a project team alongside a more junior fullstack engineer and a UX expert. We're flexible about whether or not this includes full line management responsibility for these two team members.
Team size: 3 in your direct team, 5 in the wider micro:bit tech team.
Location: This position is based in Oxford, UK, however a significant amount of flexible working is possible.
There is a digital skills shortage in the UK and a gap that needs filling. Being digitally skilled will give a person access to better paid jobs while low skilled jobs are at risk of being eliminated by automation. Children need to have greater digital skills to be able to have improved life chances.
It is our long-term goal that digital skills should be seen by teachers and students as important as literacy and numeracy, and taught to the same level, rather than Computer Science being seen as a specialist topic just for technically minded students.
You will be working on a project to transform the micro:bit offering from a hugely effective educational product that is well received by digitally confident teachers to a comprehensive educational platform for all teachers.
You will be helping to redevelop the micro:bit platform (UX, entry points, support materials and classroom management functionality) to ensure that it supports all teachers, whatever their digital skill level, to use the micro:bit, so enabling digital skills to be applicable across all subject areas as they will be across all job sectors in the future.
We’re looking for someone who...
- Is entrepreneurial and works collaboratively to get things done.
- Works independently to a high technical standard and is ready to lead a small team of contributors.
- Is diligent in delivering robust and maintainable solutions.
- Knows how to balance doing things properly with doing things fast, and choosing where appropriate compromises can and can’t be made. Experience of how things get out of hand, and how to avoid it, is valuable.
- Understands the implications of multilingual, international sites and translation requirements.
This is a new project with very little legacy to complicate the design process. There are some dependencies that must be interfaced with, but the nature of these interactions are to be defined by the project team.
Our plan is not to over specify the tech we use until we hire into this role - having someone with the right attitude, experience and approach is as important as the technologies involved.
The BBC micro:bit is one of the most recognised tools in the UK providing a child’s first step in their journey with technology. Thanks to its founders and a national distribution drive of one million units it is in 87% of schools in the UK and has been used by 75% of all computing teachers to provide that easy first step.
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a UK-based not-for-profit organisation with the global vision to inspire every child to create their best digital future. We enable children around the world to get creative with technology and invent in school, in clubs and at home! Our first year has shown that the BBC micro:bit encourage a higher percentage of girls to learn about technology. Our mission in The Foundation is to take the hardware, and the magical end-to-end experience provided by the online micro:bit editors, and make it available around the rest of the world.
We are part of a diverse, global micro:bit community of young people, teachers, and parents who value effective collaboration. We are committed to understanding and defining the technology education sector in order to present micro:bit users with a stable, tested release of all the things you need to make the unique and productive ‘end-to-end’ micro:bit experience.
One of the greatest benefits of working at micro:bit is knowing that the work you're doing is contributing to something positive, constructive and with beneficial social outcomes.
We’re a small organisation with a large audience and reach. We thrive on creative problem solving and are open to new ideas and solutions. This gives each individual the chance to have enormous impact, as well as ensuring that your days will be diverse and the challenges complex.
There is no fixed closing date for this role. We will be conducting interviews on an ongoing basis.