If you had an opportunity to combine coding with magic, would you use it? 🙂
Magic of today’s world is actually – technology, and being tech-savvy is a must! You don’t have to be a genius, but knowing a few basic things can help a lot. After all, technology has permeated every part of our reality and digital skills are crucial for taking part in an increasingly digital society.
To help us learn how to code Kano.ME designed a DIY computer kit to help people of all ages learn basic coding skills. You start by learning how to create a computer of your own and then move forward with coding your own game or making your Hogwarts dreams a reality! But, first things first…
How Does Kano.ME Work?
Kano’s DIY computer kit contains everything that you need to enter the world of coding, by making you assemble your computer first! It has all the hardware, instructional books and apps – as well as challenges that make the learning process fun. Sounds awesome, right?
Kano uses Raspberry Pi as its core, and the kit comes with Bluetooth keyboard, connector cables, speaker, WiFi and some other bits that are easy to arrange in a plug-and-play fashion that kids (and adults!) can get excited about!
Besides the fact that these kits contain booklets, newer generations do tend to skip them, which is where parents tend to step in. And soon enough, you can see families trying to code familiar games like Pong, Minecraft or Snake together. All of this makes Kano’s kit a perfect chance for parents and kids to spend quality time together and learn from one another!
Of course, Kano.ME keeps re-inventing the concept! Just when you think that they can’t get any better, they impress you with a new partnership or project! Recently, they announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring us the first build-it-yourself computer that runs on Windows 10. The new machine has an 11.6-inch touchscreen and it’s powered by a 1.44 GHz, quad-core Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, which is upgradeable through a micro SD slot. Yeah, it’s what you are thinking – it’s an actual computer!
The system is clearly designed for the classroom, and Microsoft and Kano say they will additionally support their audience by creating “hundreds of hours” of computer science content. So, in addition, we are looking forward to seeing an app called How Computers Work, that will teach users exactly what happens when they tap a key, touch the screen or speak into the microphone. It will be joined by the Kano App, which is already packed with coding activities, Minecraft: Education Edition, and Slack rival Microsoft Teams, among other software. Pretty cool, right? 🙂
Now, Let’s Get Back to Magic!
Personal story alert: For my whole life, I’ve been obsessed with magic! There were days where you could see me waving my pencil or just a wooden stick, looking seriously down to a feather and trying to move it with my mind using a spell. And trust me, I knew exactly how to pronounce Leviosa, ‘cause it is a common fact that it’s LeviOsa, not LeviosAR! Also, for a long time, I was waiting for my letter, but only one that came was from my University, I know, *sigh* it’s not much.
But, now, when I found out that there is Kano’s Harry Potter themed coding kit, I took that as my personal invitation letter to Hogwarts. Not only it is a great way to get learn to code, but it’s also a way to create magic!
Harry Potter Themed Kano.ME Kit
Every magical journey starts with a wand. In this case, we are talking about a plastic wand you assemble and connect to your PC, laptop or tablet over Bluetooth. Yeah, it’s not wooden, but it works! It also contains a gyroscope, accelerator and magnetometer that tracks its movement in 3D space. The ‘tip’ of the wand is a cursor inside the app, which lets you interact with the want and make magic happen.
Patronus is a common spell that you can summon with a DualShock 4 controller, and it is so easy to use. Best of all, you earn new spells by learning how to code! The app forces you to construct each spell with logic-based pieces before waving a plastic wand in the air. As a reward for your hard work, you become a wizard Harry, and you can finally wave your hand through the air and explode a box of chocolate frogs or make a feather levitate!
Kano’s magic is broken down into lessons, or tasks, so it is super easy to get down to work! After you build a wand that responds to your movements, your next step is learning to code by following 70+ step-by-step challenges. By doing this, you will set the foundations of your coding knowledge, all while waving around and twirling your wand.
Once you’ve completed the code, you’re free to activate the spell! And yes, it includes the famous swish-and-flick movement that Harry, Ron and Hermione use for Wingardium Leviosa. The challenges themselves are based on a puzzle piece library, workspace and live preview pane. Different spells require different block combinations, and there is a booklet for all steps! So, for example, to levitate a pint of Butterbeer, you would need to follow certain steps, and do certain wand waves for the spell to work! ‘Cause, you know, that is the way you do magic! 😉
So, what are you waiting for?
If you are looking for a way to engage your children in some high-quality family time this summer, or to learn to code yourself, check out Kano.ME!
Psst! We also heard that Kano.ME made a new deal with Disney *my inner fangirl screams once again* and that they will launch a Star Wars-themed product later this year!
This article is part of the ongoing .ME Success Stories series – our way of bringing visibility to our community members, featuring their work and sharing what we can learn from them with you. Have your own .ME story to share? Let us know!