The PC building crowd is about to get younger. Kano, maker of STEM toys like the Harry Potter wand that teaches code, today announced that it's partnered with Microsoft on Kano PC, a laptop that children assemble themselves. It's part of a combined effort to introduce students to various aspects of computer science. If that's not enough fun, the DIY laptop also comes with Minecraft: Education Edition software pre-loaded.
Kano PC obviously won't require a bunch of students to handle thermal paste, solder and the other ins-and-outs of putting together a laptop. Instead, the device features instructions with colorful pictures breaking down each step of the assembly process. Every component is labeled, and, thanks to a transparent case, visible even after the Kano PC is put together. They're also replaceable in case of mishaps.
The end result is an 11.6-inch laptop running Windows 10 in S mode--which restricts the operating system to Microsoft Store apps and the Edge browser--that's powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350. The CPU has four cores and threads and runs at a clock speed of up to 1.92 GHz. Kano PC also features 4GB of DDR3L memory and 64GB of eMMC storage expandable via a microSD slot, along with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, plus a USB-C port for charging it.
Building the laptop isn't the only educational aspect of the Kano PC. Kano PC also features a "How Computers Work" app "that lets you create emojis with binary code, tinker with touch and sound and play with the processor and memory, learning exactly what your computer is doing when you tap keys, talk into the mic, or touch the screen."
The STEM toy is also loaded with a variety of software tools. Here's how Kano described them in its announcement:
- Make Art – Learn to code high-quality images in Coffeescript
- Kano App – Make almost anything, including magic effects and adventurous worlds, with simple steps and programming fundamentals
- Paint 3D – Make and share 3D models and send them out for printing
- Microsoft Teams – To get new projects and content, and share your work
- Kano Projects – Personalized projects on coding and creativity delivered directly to your dashboard
Kano said that it's partnered with Microsoft to offer "hundreds of hours of curriculum, which lets anyone introduce computer science in the classroom in a simple and fun way," via Kano PC. It also provides access to the Kano World platform, which houses over 1 million apps posted by hundreds of thousands of makers from around the world.
Products meant to help children understand the technology around them are becoming more common. Understanding technology is no longer optional, and technical literacy will probably only become more important. Maybe we're biased as enthusiasts, but from our perspective, it's hard to argue against teaching kids how computers work. STEM education is a worthwhile objective for companies like Kano, Microsoft and maybe even DJI.
Kano PC is available for pre-order now from Kano's website and the Microsoft Store for $300 (£300). The STEM PC will also hit education resellers and select retailers in the U.S., Canada and UK starting October 21.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Kano PC will come with a free copy of Minecraft: Education Edition. However, the software only comes pre-loaded and must be activated by buying a Minecraft: Education Edition license or applicable Microsoft 365 licenses.
Photo Credits: Kano