Last year, after earning more than $1.5 million in Kickstarter donations, a small, London-based startup named Kano released what it hopes will become the Lego of computing. The Kano Kit is a small computer kit designed to let kids aged 6-14 (and even their parents) learn how to code. Since then, Kano CEO Alex Klein says that 40,000 kids in 86 countries have contributed 8.9 million lines of code. It's all part of how kids are learning how to grasp computers in a more meaningful way.
But where Kano Kit provided them with a Raspberry Pi 2 micro-PC, speaker, and wireless keyboard with built-in trackpad, there was no screen. Now, Kano is releasing a Screen Kit in time for the holidays. But instead of just plugging the Kano in, the kit asks young makers to now learn about how screens work.
"It's about building the screen itself."
"It's not about choosing a screen," Klein told me. "It's about building the screen itself." Hence, the Screen Kit features not only a 10.1-inch Gorilla Glass display, but programmable buttons and a detailed storybook that explains the history of screens as well as how the screen works with the Kano.
The screen makes the Kano Kit portable, and therefore increases its value to kids. After they finish building the kit, kids can then dive into the Kano's interface, where they learn how to code with the Kano Block programming language. With it, they can hack their way through Minecraft or learn how to make simple artworks, working their way up to making simple robots.
The Screen Kit is now available for $129.99.
Correction 11:30am ET: A previous version of this post stated that the Kano was used by 30 million kids. That was false. It's now used by roughly 40,000 kids. The piece has been updated to reflect the error.