I had the opportunity to spend some time with toys this year when Makersville Makers, young and old volunteered to help out at the Long Beach Mini Maker Faire at Barnes and Noble. Many thanks to all the volunteers who showed up to test the cool toys on display that weekend in early November.
If you are unfamiliar with the Maker Movement, it was created through the support of the Make: magazine and the Maker Media group and produces Maker Faires around the world. The basic premise is that everyone who makes something is a maker. Everyone makes something so everyone is a maker. Stick around on this blog, and I’ll be sure to share more with you!
Lucky me, I got to borrow a number of the products from the store, notably the Kano Pixel Kit.
Two thumbs up! Three if I had them. Here’s what I liked. I’m including experiential videos and a link to the Kano products on Amazon. Please support us through purchases made on our links.
Great Interface Design – The software implements a number of lessons, each one building upon the other and providing access to another bit of the coding language. You are guided by a little dot that makes a delicate sound to capture your attention if you haven’t followed it. It reminds me of Tinkerbell. In fact, now that I think about it, it is probably Tinkerbell – inspired.
Plug and Play – There’s no fiddling around with either the software, or the hardware. It just works!
Just want to Tinker? – You can bypass the lessons anytime!
Immediate Feedback – There’s no long coding followed by debugging then finally leading to testing. Code a couple of lines. Test.
Lots of Ways to Play – You can vary the colors, the brightness, make a monochromatic picture, or create a scrolling text or imagery.
A Community to Plug Into – Share what you make with others through their linked kit.
Cons? Only one. The kit is 8 x 16 pixels. Wish there could at least have been 16×16. Then it would be like a Minecraft base grid.
Compatibility. As with any tech toy, compatibility with your existing equipment is key. I have a windows laptop, and it works on Windows and iOS.
Trish Tsoiasue is a Maker and, together with Morio Murase and Caprice Rothe (Hands of E.T.) started a community called Makersville, a BSA Career Exploring Club called Club Ten (Unit 1010) and a BSA Career Exploring Post called High Values (Unit 1111). She has come to the conclusion that she makes social systems (communities) and sometimes she makes and finishes physical things. She is the LUG Ambassador for the Long Beach LEGO User Group, a Recognized LUG. Once she played a game called the Community Lemonade Game. She also blogs on the Belmont Shore Patch, and she has several YouTube channels, her main channel being Squigglemom.