Agenda for the 2017 Institute


    Sunday November 5, 2017


    appFestLogo-no-text2-5:00 PM AppFest East

    A chance for small, underfunded publishers or students to come and set up a “micro booth.” There is no cost, there are no strings. Attendees of Dust or Magic who arrive early can hunt for the next Pokémon GO.

    Handout & swag table. There is no selling or PR activity permitted at Dust or Magic, however, anyone is welcome to send promotional materials (handouts, fliers w/download codes, white papers and so on) for the attendees. These are kept on a separate “swag” table clearly marked as “promotional materials.” Again, no cost and no strings. Send no more than 65 copies to Dust or Magic, 120 Main Street, Flemington NJ 08822 by October 23; we’ll put them out.


    All you need is a balloon, a tablet and a marker to set up a “booth” at the free Dust or Magic AppFest.

    5:00 pm – Welcome

    “The State of Children’s Interactive Media 2017” panel with Robin Raskin. A lot has changed in a year. Let’s define some of the most essential dots that will help us form discussions over the next three days.

    Essential topics:

    • AR and VR are maturing. What is smoke and what is fire?
    • The state of ethics and children’s content. Is there a realistic path ahead?
    • Pokémon GO 18 months later. What have we learned?
    • Taking it to market. What is the state of iTunes, Google Play and
    • Netflix and kids.
    • Lessons and news from the toy store.
    • The five most magical digital experiences of 2016, and why.
    • 2018 KAPi awards nominations.
    • Lessons from the 2017 BolognRagazzi Digitial Award. What do the jurors want?
    • That state of children’s digital storytelling.

    Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 11.01.40 AM6:15 Dinner at the famous Lambertville Station Restaurant, where we’ve now dined informally for 17 years. (Note: this is in the old train station depot located by Bridge Street, with the train car attached).

    Welcome and Introductions (Riverside Room)

    8:00 Fulfilling Papert’s Dream by Mitchel Resnick 

    This year’s after-dinner talk will be by Mitchel Resnick (@mres), Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab. Mitch develops new technologies and activities to engage people (especially children) in creative learning experiences.

    His Lifelong Kindergarten research group develops the Scratch programming software and online community, the world’s largest coding platform for kids. His group also collaborates with the LEGO Company on the development of new educational ideas and products, including LEGO Mindstorms and LEGO WeDo robotics kits.

    Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 12.03.08 PMResnick co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, an international network of 100 after-school learning centers, where youth from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies. Resnick earned an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton, and a Masters and PhD degrees in computer science from MIT.


    Resnick was awarded the McGraw Prize in Education in 2011 and the AACE EdMedia Pioneer Award in 2013. He is author of the book Lifelong Kindergarten, published by MIT Press in 2017. For more information about his research and publications, see


    November 6, 2017

    Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 10.02.35 AM7:30 Breakfast. Riverside Room

    8:30 Interactive Designer’s Cookbook. Part of the annual, and ongoing crash course on child development applied to the latest interactive media, by Jean Piaget, BF Skinner, John Dewey and Fred Rogers.

    9:00 Designer brainstorm. Small groups explore emerging opportunities and upcoming challenges, from ROI (Return on Investment) to improving a play pattern.

    10:00 Emmett O’Neill, StoryToys

    10:30 Demos and Nice Touch

    11:00 Chris Byrne, TTPM

    12:00 Group Photo; a non-augmented, non-virtual lunch

    1:00 Chip Donohue The Position Statement turns 5: What We know Now that We Didn’t Know Then

    Chip Donohue, PhD, is Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education and Director of the Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center at Erikson Institute in Chicago.  In 2015, he was honored as a children’s media Emerging Pioneer at the KAPi (Kids At Play International) Awards.

    2:30 BrainSprints With Daren Carstens and Barbara Chamberlin

    We’ll come up with a set of current issues facing the field of children and digital media, and brainstorm some solutions.

    mtlogoField Trip: Mediatech

    Mediatech is a non-profit public library based technology center/maker space started in 2003 as an experiment. It serves as CTR’s testing center, and provides free public access to the latest technology. Video games circulate like books, and children play games designed to increase collaboration. You’ll get a chance to talk to some of the kids, and try some of the latest products.

    3:00 Bus trip to Mediatech Foundation: Meet some real kids.

    4:00 Kids panel

    5:00 Bus leaves exactly at 5:00 PM to return to the Inn at Lambertville Station.

    6:00 Dinner (on your own. Your chance to venture to another state — Pennsylvania — and cross the river from George Washington’s point of view)

    8:00 Demos
    8:30 Talk 
    10:00 – Free play and late night discussion.


    November 7, 2017

    7:30 Breakfast

    8:30 Reviewer’s panel with Claire Green of Parents’ Choice, Chris Byrne of TTPM, Warren Buckleitner of CTREX, and Robin Raskin of LIDT. What’s hot? What’s not? What will 2018 bring?

    Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 9.57.04 AM9:30 Bill Shribman, WGBH, Boston. Kids, Media, News and Media Literacy.

    What does modern media literacy need to look like in a world of mobile tech, fake news, and an endless sea of information? How do we help kids become critical thinkers in a world where facts may not be what they seem? And what trade-offs are there when we give kids unfettered access to the highs and lows of the Internet? Bill Shribman will lead us on an exploration of kids’ online lives.

    10:15 Break

    10:30 Mark Schlichting: Creating the Illusion of A.I. in Children’s Products

    11:00 Talk

    11:30 Final panel: with a conclusion and summary.  What have we learned this year, and what can we expect for 2018?

    If you’re staying in the Inn, make sure you checkout of your room by 10:00 AM. It is OK to store bags in the Riverside room.

    12:00 Lunch

    12:20 Transbridge Bus #1 leaves to Newark Liberty, arriving 1:35 PM (for early flights). Note that departure is from the Hess Station, 5 blocks from the Inn.

    1:30 Dust or Magic limo bus departs to Newark Liberty International Airport, arriving 2:45 PM

    1:55 Transbridge bus departs to Newark Liberty Airport, arriving 3:15 PM

    5:50 PM last Transbridge bus departs to Newark Liberty Airport, arriving 7:15 PM (departs from the Hess Station, 5 blocks from the Inn). You can buy tickets from the Valparaiso Deli, Rt 165 & Rt 518, 609-397-1116

    Speaker details
    • Robin Raskin

      Robin Raskin 

      Robin Raskin is a recovering journalist who now organizes conferences and events on what it means to be “living in digital times”.  An author, editor, magazine publisher, blogger, TV and radio personality, and consultant, Raskin says she’s never met a media she doesn’t like. Raskin is the former Editor of PC Magazine and Editor in Chief of FamilyPC. She’s been a columnist for USA Today Online and Yahoo and has authored 6 books about parenting in the digital age. She works with Children's Technology Review to produce the KAPi awards ...

      Continue reading 

    • Mitchel Resnick

      Mitchel Resnick 

      Mitchel Resnick (@mres), Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, develops new technologies and activities to engage people (especially children) in creative learning experiences. His Lifelong Kindergarten research group develops the Scratch programming software and online community, the world’s largest coding platform for kids. His group also collaborates with the LEGO Company on the development of new educational ideas and products, including LEGO Mindstorms and LEGO WeDo robotics kits. Resnick co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, an international network of 100 after-schoo...

      Continue reading 

    • Chris Byrne

      Chris Byrne 

      Chris Byrne has "toy sense," and he's always willing to share his ideas, which is why it's great when we can get him to Dust or Magic. And this is his busy season. Despite seeming like a kid, Chris has a 30-plus-year career in the toy industry. Currently, he is a partner in aNb Media, LLC and content director for  During his career, he has held a variety of positions with toy companies covering marketing, media, operations, product development and creative. In 1988, he formed New York-based Byrne Communications and is a researcher, an...

      Continue reading 

    • Chip Donohue

      Chip Donohue 

      Chip Donohue, PhD, is Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education and Director of the Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center at Erikson Institute in Chicago. He is a Senior Fellow and Member of the Advisory Board of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College, where he co-chaired the working group that revised the 2012 NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Chip is the editor of two books...

      Continue reading 

    • Bill Shribman

      Bill Shribman 

      Bill Shribman is a Senior Executive Producer at WGBH in Boston where he leads the kid's digital team producing of apps, games, digital comics, websites, and augmented reality for PBS KIDS, NASA and others. These high traffic projects have won a Prix Jeunesse, two Emmys, and the George Foster Peabody Award. He is the creator of several original digital projects including Beeswax, a news service for kids, The Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau of Investigation and Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius, a media literacy animation project that has seen 100 million video streams and won a Parent’s Choice Gold...

      Continue reading 

    • Daren Carstens

      Daren Carstens 

      Daren Carstens founded Carstens Studios Inc., where he authors, designs, programs and develops educational products for children. He has worked in K-12 educational publishing for 20 years, and his work has received many awards including the prestigious international Bologna Children's Book Fair New Media Prize in the Best Educational Software category, 2010 & 2011 Parents' Choice Gold Awards - Parents' Choice Foundation, and 2010 & 2011 Editor's Choice Awards - Children's Technology Review. Daren combines the rare talent of a thorough understanding of learning processe...

      Continue reading 

    • Mark Schlichting

      Mark Schlichting

      Mark Schlichting 

      Mark Schlichting is a passionate promoter for play. He is also a pioneer of the multimedia industry, an expert in children’s interactive design, and is probably best known as the creator of Brøderbund’s Living Books CD-ROM series. In 2000 Mark founded NoodleWorks Interactive, a creative consulting and production company specializing in innovative design for children. In November 2011, NoodleWorks released its’ first iPad app, a word toy called Noodle Words. His ...

      Continue reading 

    • Emmet O'Neill

      Emmet O’Neill 

      Emmet O'Neill is the Chief Product Officer for StoryToys. He is responsible for all aspects of product development, from concept through to final delivery. In StoryToys he has produced apps for many leading entertainment companies including Eric Carle Studio, Saban, Warner Bros/DC, Sesame Workshop and Disney. With a career in digital product design that spans almost 20 years, Emmet has worked across a broad spectrum of industries including publishing, advertising and film /TV....

      Continue reading 

    • Barbara Chamberlin

      Barbara Chamberlin 

      Barbara Chamberlin directs game development at New Mexico State University's Learning Games Lab.

      Continue reading 

  • 2017 Events

    Highlights Retreat • Oct. 22-24, Boyds Mills, PA • Register
    Institute • Nov. 5-7, Lambertville, NJ • Register

  • Subscribe to our mailing list

    * indicates required
    Email Format

  • The Official Publication of Dust or Magic
    Full access to CTREX
    The CTR Monthly Issue
    CTR Weekly: Three Noteworthy Apps
  • Tweets from @dustormagic


  • Conference testimonials


    • laserpinters

      Sanj KharbandaVP Digital Strategy, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Dust or Magic Hurricane Edition

      "Unique, inspiring, eye-opening. I would recommend anyone involved in the interactive space for kids to attend at least one. Thank you to everyone for sharing and being an inspiration."

    • SONY DSC

      Roby JohnCEO, TapToLearn, Dust or Magic Hurricane Edition

      "Thanks for a great first Dust or Magic. Made it totally worth flying all the way in from Mumbai."

    • dustormagic-peterspicture

      Valerie ConnellVP Product & Market Strategy, The Waterford Institute, Dust or Magic 2010

      "Top Notch conference with A-list attendees - a pleasure to be included with the best of the best!"

    • katewilson200

      Kate WilsonFounder & Managing Director, Nosy Crow, Dust or Magic 2011

      "Relevant, invigorating and mind expanding: a great event. Warren's energetic, warm and informal style of communication and facilitation is key."

    • SONY DSC

      Krista MarksDust or Magic 2011

      "The best part is the inspiration that comes from being with a group of like minded, passionate, talented humans."

    • Jens Peter de Pedro

      Jens Peter de PedroPlay Designer, Toca Boca, Dust or Magic Hurricane Edition

      "If you are in Children's Interactive Media it's like coming to Church. You got to go for spiritual reasons. And it's only once a year!"

    • Scott_Traylor_200x200

      Scott TraylorPresident, 360KID, DM '13 Institute

      "Dust or Magic Fall is a must attend event to help increase chances of making successful children's new media products."

    • charity 1

      Charity GerbrandtCreative Lead, Disney Club Penguin, DM Institute '13

      "So great to share with like-minded people in a low pressure, no drama environment. Great size, space and leadership."

    • Kimberley SorensonThe Waterford Institute, Dust or Magic Highlights Foundation 2015

      "A wonderful opportunity to get down and dirty with a lot of different voices in a protected space. Inspiring + energizing on all conceivable levels -- many many thanks."

    • JCC

      Jayne ClarePresident, Teachers With Apps, Dust or Magic Highlights 2015

      "Leaving with a wealth of new knowledge, friends, ideas and inspiration!"

    • Erin - bio pic

      Erin ReillyCreative Director, Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC, Dust or Magic eBook Retreat 2013

      "This was just the retreat I needed to learn and to be inspired by others." 

    • Scott_Traylor_200x200

      Scott TraylorPresident, 360KID, DM 2002-2010

      "Come for toys, stay for friendship; leave with knowledge."

    • jlodahl

      Jesper LodahlCEO, SmartTots, Dust or Magic Hurricane Edition

      "Great crowd, great minds, great learning experience."

    • Hans WagnerOwner, Computer Explorers, Dust or Magic 2014

      "Just soaked in all of it. Great environment!"

    • Megan SmithSenior Designer, Interactive Media, Highlights for Children, Dust or Magic 2014

      "Warren and Daren really made everyone feel relevant and comfortable. Perfect balance of healthy criticism and ideas for growth."

    • aleen

      Aleen SteinCEO, Organa, Dust or Magic 2014

      "Even though I'm not making apps right now, exciting and relevant to my life."

    • Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 4.03.01 PM

      Lorraine AkemannMoms With Apps

      While there is no shortage of conferences on kids and tech, Dust or Magic stands out in the crowd. This might be because attendees are required to leave their egos at home, or cast them into the ocean until the sessions are finished.