Looking after the Kano social media accounts over the last few months, it's become clear that lots of you have questions about the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit.
And while we've been replying to a ton of individual questions, the thought occurred that lots more people might need answers too, and just not be asking them.
To solve that problem, we've created the ULTIMATE Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit Buyers Guide!
We'll be adding to this guide as new questions come up, and the kit gets updates, so check back often.
Let's take a look.
What is the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit?
Fair enough! We talk about some concepts that you might not come across in your day to day life, so let's break the kit down, talk about the components, and demystify the kit.
The Kano App
This is the part of the kit that happens on screen, and that you download onto your compatible device (more on those later).
It's a bit like a video game, in that you complete challenges, and solve puzzles in Wizarding World locations to earn points, prizes (accessories for your on screen witch or wizard), and use Harry Potter spell motions!
Unlike a regular video game, you “play” the Kano App by using our drag-and-drop block based programming language, Kano Code, to make magic happen on screen.
In the words of an inquisitive Grandma who messaged us through Facebook:
“...it's like playing a computer game, but educational.”
Spot on Grandma!
As your work through the challenges, learning how Kano Code works, and getting ideas of stories and games you'd like to create within the Wizarding World, you're also learning the fundamentals of coding.
In Playground Mode, you can bring your ideas to life, and make whatever you like with the locations, creatures, objects, music and Harry Potter spell motions that you find in the challenges and puzzles to tell your own stories.
Here's a creation I made, which uses spell motions, particles, a creature, an object, and sounds to tell the story of a midnight snack eating rat:
The Coding Wand
This is the part of the kit that you hold in your hand (and find in the box!).
Sticking with the video game theme, think of the Coding Wand as a wireless controller, that you build yourself in a few easy steps.
It's powered by two AAA batteries, and at its core is a Printed Circuit Board (PCB), which has a collection of sensors on it that tell the app where it is, how fast it's moving, and in which directions.
You use the Coding Wand to make magic on screen through movement (up/down/left/right), or Harry Potter spell motions.
What is the age range?
You may have noticed that our kits say “6+” on the box, and been wondering how far that “+” goes.
I wonder about that too, and what you're about to read is a little subjective, but stick with me.
As I write this, in December of 2018, I'm closer to 38 than 37. I have no experience of coding. I'm a comms guy who loves to tell stories, and have spent most of my career doing very non-technical things at very technical companies.
I thoroughly enjoy building my own code creations, and bringing them to life with a Harry Potter wand.
Sure, some of the early challenges are simple, but that means that you pick up, and understand the coding concepts quickly.
The barrier to entry is low, and so by association, is the barrier to success. You can get a really long way, and have a really good time, without getting frustrated, or giving up.
As I head towards 40, I'm still very much included in that “+”.
If you enjoy solving problems, learning new skills, and the idea of being able to make magic on screen, then I think you're in that “+” too.
How much use can you get out of it?
As the saying goes “your mileage may vary”, but speaking from a personal experience, the first 30 challenges took me around 12 hours.
Building my own creations has consumed a further 20 hours (so far), and although we're super busy at Kano right now, I'm still find myself carving out 30 minutes a day to tinker and explore new ideas.
There are hundreds of hours of creative play to be had, coding in the Wizarding World, with the only real limitations being your time, and your imagination.
What else do I need?
A compatible device, with Bluetooth™ Low Energy (4.1+), a compatible operating system and an internet connection.
As of right now (December 11th 2018 [source]), those are:
- Mac OS 10.10 or later
- Models from 2012 onwards
- Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor (64-bit Intel processor)
- Bluetooth® Low Energy
- iOS 11 or 12
- iPad 5th Generation and later
- iPad Mini 2 and later
- iPad Air 2 and later
- iPad Pro and later
- Windows 10 Home and Pro (1703 Creator's Update or newer)
- 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 64-bit (x64) processor
- Minimum 4GB RAM
- Bluetooth® Low Energy
- Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher
- 7" touchscreen or larger
- Minimum 1GB RAM
- Bluetooth® Low Energy
- Fire OS 220.127.116.11 or higher
- Fire HD 8 (2016) or newer
- Fire HD 10 (2017) or newer
- Bluetooth® Low Energy, running
Kano Computer Kit
The Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit offers a limited experience with access to 10 unique challenges on Raspberry Pi 3 based Kano Computer Kits.
- Kano OS 4.2 or higher
- Raspberry Pi 3
- Kano Computer Kit (2017 onwards)
- Kano Computer Kit Complete
- Kano Computer Kit Touch