DESIGNEDUCATIONALTECHNOLOGY

A COMPUTER FOR KIDS TO MAKE THEM CREATORS, NOT JUST CONSUMERS

18 January 2017 — by Fabio Guaricci

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DESIGNEDUCATIONALTECHNOLOGY

A COMPUTER FOR KIDS TO MAKE THEM CREATORS, NOT JUST CONSUMERS

18 January 2017 — by Fabio Guaricci

A computer for kids can be something that could be difficult to figure out. Ok, think about something saying to you: “Hello! I’m KANO. Thanks for bringing me to life. What should I call you?”. This is the first sentence that the Kano computer says. Kano is a DIY computer kit designed to help kids assemble a computer and learn basic coding skills.

What’s the reason? Today, children grow up surrounded by objects that appear magic. It’s rare for them to actually know how a computer works. The main aim consists in teaching non-experts how computers work ‘under the hood’. Kano speaks to a large trend, one that is replacing passive acceptance of technology with curiosity for what this stuff is really all about. Creating a connection between software and hardware children will have a deeper understanding of both. It’s very important that everything to be not only simple to use but understandable; if people can decode an object by looking at it, it helps them to understand it.

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In fact, the Kano‘s goal is to encourage kids to be creators of technology, not just consumers. From here, the idea to make a fun and smart computer kit that holds kids’ attention and actually teachs them something. Kano merges basic computer science concepts with functional design, turning anyone into a computer maker and so teaching to code.

The kit includes everything required to build a functioning computer that can be hooked up to a monitor: 1. Raspberry PI 3, that is the computer’s brain; 2. Wireless Keyboard + Touchpad; 3. DIY Speaker, that is its voice; 4. Custom Case, to protect it; 5. SD Card (8GB), to save games and apps; 6. Power Supply + Micro-USB, to bring it to life; 7. HDMI Cable, to connect to an HD screen; 8. Stickers, to personalize it; 9. Story Book, to show how to make it.

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The simple instructional booklet guides kids through set-up and shows them how to build the computer by connecting parts together.  When the box is opened, it is possible to take the components out (bits, boards, cables, and more) and, following the book, build the computer step by step to bring it to life! The storybook also teaches to kids how to code within the Kano OS. Kano OS is an open-source visual programming where kids can perform activities like streaming HD video, reprogramming games to build custom worlds, composing music, word processing and web browsing. With this approach, computational confidence emerges. The main point is, of course, that kids do all of this on a computer they built themselves.
Then, there is another very interesting element in this play and it is Kano World. Kano World is the online community for new coders where everyone can share his customized games, songs or whatever wants and turn them into lessons for other Kano users. When a new project is posted on Kano World, it gets automatically converted into a series of steps for other kids to follow. For these reasons, Kano World is a place where kids can play, make and learn together.

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Kano is an introduction to computer and it is for anyone who wants to start creating with technology, not just consuming it. It’s a simple, fun, useful toolkit that you can use to start coding apps, music, art, games, and more. It is designed for children, so it has simple steps to create fantastic projects through play.
Finally, here is the phrase of one of the founders:

If you use clear language, good stories, and genuine game mechanics, you tap into something universal.