“The minds of six to twelve year olds are the most open and creative,” said Alex Klein, Co-Founder and CEO of Kano, during his talk ‘Kids, codes and the computer arts’ at the final day of the Web Summit.
Kano began as a Lego-style computer kit that became an online community for young coders. The company provides a kit that includes a computer that kids can make themselves by following simple story pages with pictures.
 
The computer kit was tested in schools across the U.K, with Klein providing little instruction to the kids.
 
“The next generation doesn’t want to be taught, they want to figure it out themselves,” Klein said. “We designed something as simple and fun as Lego that kids can figure out on their own.”
 
During his talk, Klein stated that 1.3 billion children were born since YouTube began. “They are a generation that wants to create technology – not just consume it,” he said. 
 
Kano provides a safe online platform where kids can show what they’ve created, get feedback and add to each other’s work. 
 
Kids have used the website to build castles and waterfalls in Minecraft as well as using code to remake classic games like Pong and Snake.
 
Klein told the crowd that his nephew, Khalid, who is seven-years-old, often feels overlooked by adults. 
 
“We’re young so adults say that we’re a bit incapable, but today we made a computer- we are like super children,” Khalid told his uncle.
 
Kano has a reach of over 8 million users from 86 countries that allows kids to be creative and learn their future through coding and computers.
 
At the Web Summit, a team of young Irish coders, from CoderDojo, showcased their coding and development skills.
 
“CoderDojo is a global movement that provides free computer coding classes to all young people aged between 7-17,” said Giustina Mizzoni, Head of Development with the Global CoderDojo Foundation.
 
At CoderDojo, young people learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology in an informal and creative environment. 
 
The core CoderDojo team is based in Dublin, but there are 61 CoderDojo clubs around the world.
 
Fionan, who is 12-years-old, showcased his android app at the summit. “Basically it’s all your favourite websites that you would usually keep as bookmarks on your phone that can be hard to access at times, so I’ve built an app that shows all your bookmarked apps in clear images,” he said.
 
Joey, 13-years-old, built an animation software using firealpaca. “I do the storyboard first and then draw over it. Using code I can make the animation move and layer my drawings over each other.”
 
Another CoderDojo attendee is Lucas, who is working on a C++ calculator to help him with his maths at school. “I like it because I always get my maths wrong at school and it helps me to figure it out,” he said.
 
Children, coding and computers made a big splash at the event showing how important it is to engage kids in technology from a young age. 
 
 
Photo: Sebastian Fuss/ Flickr