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Conference testimonials← Previous Next →
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."
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."
AppCamp 2017 Agenda
A two-day huddle of the top minds in children’s interactive media, plus a one-day conference.
WHAT TO BRING: Relaxed, casual clothing (layers are best); arrive well-rested with charged batteries.
DEMOS: If you plan on doing a 5 minute demo, read this for suggestions on format and feedback.
A SUNDAY ONLY OPTION: Because of Apple’s WWDC, we’ve created a one-day “Children’s App Design Conference” ($399 and up; or free for registered Dust or Magic AppCamp attendees).
NO SELLING: Dust or Magic is a commercial free zone. It is self-funded with no affiliation with Apple, Google or sponsors. Participants are asked to turn off “selling” and turn on “sharing” for the sake of improving this emerging field. A “swag table” is provided for flyers, white papers or business cards. This is a free-exchange area for participants to share such things as promo codes, white papers, book announcements or other promotional items. Bring about 50 copies.
Friday June 2, 2017
1:00 Room check-in (Phoebe Snow Social Hall)
3:00 Check into Dust or Magic (Scripps Hall)
Find Barbara Chase to pick up your materials. It will contain your name tag, handouts and so on.
5:00 State of the App, 2017
We’ll set the stage for our next 36 hours together, so all the presenters can contextualize their talks. We’ll begin by naming the key trend setting apps; including lessons learned from the KAPi prize and the BolognaRagazzi Digital Award. Panelists will be drawn from the audience. Questions will include:
VR, AR and VR. What plugins work best with Unity? Who is doing the best work? What’s working? What are some common mistakes?
- Who’s making money, and how? Small app studios known for high quality work are struggling or are being gobbled up by larger groups. Is there a realistic career path for a small, smart designer? Hint, ask Connie Bossert.
- How do you properly sell an app to a child? Besides the paid, free, freemium, paymium, and subscription models, what’s the best technique to promote new content to a young audience?
- What does “Diversity in Apps” really mean? What is the KIDMAP project and “diversity sauce?” How do you make an app balanced in terms of gender and ethnic content, without boiling out all the originality? We’ll show some examples.
State of the “non-iOS.” Has there been any progress for kids from Windows, Amazon, Google Play, Chrome or any of the gaming platforms? What’s going on with the subscription model?
- Children’s App News. We’ll take nominations for the most magical work of 2017, and discuss the train wrecks. to learn from other people’s mistakes.
6:00 PM Dinner & Visit to the Pacific Beach
8:00 Let’s Take a Global View with Mona Ewees, Teacher Trainer, Breteau Foundation
There are no geographic or political borders in the app store. So when you publish an app in Wisconsin, you might be able to reach a child in a remote area of Africa.
It’s been 2 years since Mona’s last Dust or Magic talk (see Into Africa). Mona will start off this year’s Dust or Magic AppCamp with a theme that is more important than ever — the idea that every child in the world deserves high-quality education; and that technology can provide the pipeline. Mona knows this space because she lives it. She works as a teacher trainer for the Breteau Foundation where she helps implement apps and teacher training and classroom technology implementation in the South African schools. She has been a teacher and school principal for the first 16 years of her career working both in the primary school and high school context in the United States and South Africa. She holds a Masters Degree in Math and Science Education and United States National Board Certification. She was raised in Richmond, Virginia and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
Saturday June 3, 2017
8:30 New: The Interactive Designers Cookbook
- A good cook knows how to blend ingredients to make a wonderful dish. The results can be magic, or terribly bad. What are the specific ingredients of effective interactive media project? We’ll boil down a one semester TCNJ course on the psychology of interactive design into one hour. This presentation is short, sweet and to the point; and it’s based on the continually updated ibook Child Development 101 for the Designers of Children’s Interactive Media by Warren Buckleitner (Dust or Magic participants get a free download code; and a hard copy is in your handout packet).
9:30 Designer Micro Jam
10:30 Nice Touch — 60 second demos. An informal exploration with show and tell of some of the latest HCI “best practice” applied to multi-touch settings for children (and adults).
Mark Schlichting11:30 Making Magic with Mark
Mark Schlichting is a pioneer of the children’s digital space who has become part of the fibre of Dust or Magic. For those who have yet to hear him speak, he’s best known as the creator of original “Living Books” — Brøderbund’s Living Books CD-ROM. With the help of his partner in crime, Barbara Chase, he’s finished Understanding Kids, Play, and Interactive Design: How to Create Games Children Love. Mark will comment on the interactive space, and share some of his tricks.
1:00 The Dr. Panda Story
Tom Buyckx, CCO of Dr. Panda.
Based in China, Dr. Panda creates playful apps with an educational twist. Each title as an earned reputation for being safe and gimmick free, with no in-app purchases or third-party advertising.
Why a panda? The answer is simple: the company is located in the city of Chengdu in China, which is the home of the giant panda. The panda is a symbol of pride for the people in Chengdu, and because of that the team feels especially connected to this fascinating creature.
2:00 The Wonder Workshop Story
Vikas Gupta, CEO, Wonder Workshop
There’s no shortage of dust when it comes to trying to make programmable robots for children. Dash and Dot is a rare exception. Come meet the mind behind this easy to use, durable robot, and find out (perhaps) what’s next in the category of programming and toys.
Watch this CES 2017 interview with Vikas, here.
Catalina Narangjo-Bock and Jennie Ito, Google. Co-engagement is powerful stuff, both for parents and children, and Google has been exploring the concept. Learn why it is important, how to make it happen, and see some examples of apps that are being used for playing together regardless if this was an intentional goal on the original design of the app.
4:00 Jens Peter de Pedro: Something Slightly Dystopian (working title)
Jens Peter de Pedro (aka Jens or JP) was part of the founding team at Toca Boca (e.g., Toca Hair), where he was Creative Lead. He has worked for organizations such as Swedish Television, WGBH and The United Nations.
These days Jens is a founding member of the Alliance for Self Directed Education, fighting for the civil right of all children to learn without coercion. He has a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, 1999. He also has a degree in Psychology, Education and Children’s Culture from Stockholm University.
Jens lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters where he runs a children’s interactive media consultancy. As a rapper he is Thug Mouse.
4:00 Kid Panel
We take some time to talk to some real experts to see what they’re playing and thinking about. If you are bringing children who would like to be on the panel, please let me know.
6:00-7:30 Dinner & Marshmallow Roast
7:40 PM Group photo (optional)
8 to 10 PM Free play and Demos
Sunday June 4, 2017
7:00-8:15 am Breakfast Buffet (dining hall)
8:30 Demos and feedback
Note that we’ll be moving to a larger hall.
10:00 The Children’s App Design Conference
For those with limited time and/or resources, or for those coming to Apple’s WWDC, we’re offering this conference within a conference. Here’s the one day registration form on Eventbrite.
This is a stand-alone conference event designed to accompany and complement the AppCamp agenda. It combines some of objectives of last year’s AppFest, providing an affordable way for students or smaller developers to meet or do a demo for feedback, without the need for hotel rooms.
10:00 Welcome and Introductions by Warren Buckleitner and Daren Carstens.
Few people have discovered as much magic making apps than Bjorn Jeffery. He’s in an ideal position to kick off a day-long conversation on how to design and sell high quality, “magical” apps.
11:00 TED style talks, w/ Q and A. A series of 15 minute “TED” style talks to be given in front of the Dust or Magic audience. Confirmed so far —
- Nancy Macintyre. From LeapFrog to Fingerprint. Stories of Dust and Magic. Nancy has lots of amounts of experience making and distributing name brand apps in the Android space. She’ll share some inside information on the process.
- Jason Krogh. Jason is one of the main minds behind the Sago Mini apps (part of Toca Boca). He’ll bring us an update on his latest apps, and share some ideas for making apps for his speciality audience — the very young.
1:00 Panel: The State of the Children’s App Panel. We’ll explore the news on Apple’s iOS, iTunes, Google Play and Android; Unity, 3D, VR and AR, and new issues related to IAP, subscriptions and making ROI. With Fingerprint’s Nancy Macintyre, Toca Boca’s Bjorn Jeffrey, Dr. Panda’s Tom Buyckx and Wonder Workshop’s Vikas Gupta. This is going to be very interesting this year. Moderated by Barbara Chamberlin.
This will review some key points in quality app design. Each point will be followed by at least one non-example and one example that highlights the point.
Key points include things like “Make every scene screenshot-worthy”, “Give the player choices”, “Make it snap, crackle, pop”, “Play with perspective”, “Make them laugh”, “Don’t do gimmicks”, “Create engaging characters”, “Use creative touch mechanics”, etc.
3:00 Nice Touches in AR, VR, Unity and toy/App/book integration. In person demos of products that stole the show this year in Bologna, that need to be seen. We’ll expand on Jesse Schell’s discussion of VR from last fall, with a frank discussion on the strengths, weaknesses and potential of these new technologies.
4:00 Demos. It’s your turn. A chance to show off your app in front of a rare and expert audience, for feedback.
We’ll fit as many as possible into our remaining time.
Depart for San José
Dust or Magic AppCamp attracts amazing speakers. Check back frequently; speakers and details can change. The following speakers have confirmed so far.
- Barbara Chamberlin directs game development at New Mexico State University's Learning Games Lab.
- Tom Buyckx leads the commercial side of Dr.Panda, serving as the CCO. This includes marketing, sales and new business development. Based in China, Dr. Panda creates playful apps with an educational twist. Each title as an earned reputation for being safe and gimmick free, with no in-app purchases or third-party advertising. Why a panda? The answer is simple: the company is located in the city of Chengdu in China, which is the home of the giant panda. The panda is a symbol of pride for the people in Chengdu, and because of that the team feels especially connec...
- 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...
- Warren Buckleitner is an educational psychologist who reviews children's interactive media. He's been a preschool, elementary and college teacher in TCNJ's IMM program. He is the founding editor of Children's Technology Review (www.childrenstech.com). He speaks at education and library conferences, and contributes content books and publications, including a decade of children's tech coverage for the New York Times. He holds a degree in elementary education from Central Michigan University (Cum Laude), an MA in early childhood edu...
- Björn Jeffery is the CEO and co-founder of Toca Boca, a play studio that makes digital toys for touchscreen devices. Since 2011, they have released 27 products that has sold in over 215 countries worldwide, and downloads of over 85 million in April 2015. Toca Boca has won numerous awards for their apps, including Nappa Gold and iKids twice, 10 Parents Choice Awards and the 2013 KAPi for Most Pioneering Team in Children’s Technology. In 2015, Toca Boca was acquired by Canadian toy maker Spin-Master. Previously, he was Director of Future Media & Technology at Bonnier Rese...
- Nancy MacIntyre is CEO and Co-Founder of Fingerprint Digital, Inc. a global mobile technology company focused on the children's market for education and entertainment products and services. Founded in 2011 and funded by Corus Entertainment, Dreamworks, Reed Elsevier, and GSV, Fingerprint’s proprietary technology platform and expansive library of over 4000 fun learning games, books, and videos supports award winning services Samsung Kids, Verizon Gizmo Learning,...
- Connie Bossert is president and CEO of Fairlady Media, Inc., an independent game studio near Raleigh, NC. Connie and her husband James co-founded the company in 2009, and have produced more than 30 games for iPhone and iPad with millions of downloads and counting. The company specializes in development of family-friendly and educational mobile games and has partnered with companies such as Sesame Street, Houghton-Mifflin, Callaway Digital Arts, Sanrio, Hearst Corporation, and American Greetings to create the highest-quality products in the market. Connie holds ...
- As the founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop, Vikas drives the Wonder Workshop’s vision, strategy, and growth as it brings products into the hands of children around the world. Vikas learned to program using BASIC when he was 14 years old and later went on to start a company, Jambool, that was acquired by Google in 2010. Previously he led the payments and web services groups at Amazon. Vikas is a father of two, and it was the time he spent with his daughter, his first child, that inspired him to start Wonder Workshop.
- Jason Krogh is the founder and CEO of Sago Sago, a company dedicated to creating the best apps for young children. Jason has designed and developed interactive media for 15 years working with clients such as the National Geographic, Sprout, Disney Jr, Vancouver Olympics and the Toronto Public Library. Jason is also the founder of the Zimmer Twins, an online storytelling platform for kids. His most recent venture started after a particularly satisfying rant with Bjorn Jeffery of Toca Boca. In short, Sago Sago was born out a shared passion f...
- Jens Peter de Pedro (aka Jens or JP) is CEO at Little Frogs, a children’s interactive media consultancy. He is also Experience Director at Monkimun, makers of Lingokids. Jens was part of the founding team at Toca Boca, where he was Creative Lead - Strategy and Operations. He has worked for organizations such as Swedish Television, WGBH and The United Nations. Jens is a founding member of the Alliance for Self Directed Education, fighting for the civil right of all children to learn without coercion. He has a Mast...
- Mona is passionately driven by her belief that every single child in the world deserves a high-quality education. She is responsible for teacher training and classroom technology implementation in the Breteau Foundation's South African partner schools. She herself has been a teacher and school principal for the first 14 years of her career working both in the primary school and high school context in the United States and South Africa. Mona h...
- Jennie Ito, Ph.D. is a Policy Expert for Google Play, focused on the Kids & Family section of the app & games Play Store. She has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, with a specialization in children’s play and social cognition. She began her career as a Fellow in Museum Evaluation and Museum Education at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. She later worked as a con...
- Catalina Naranjo-Bock is a Senior User Experience Researcher at Google Play, where she leads the Kids & Family UX research vertical. Prior to joining Google, Catalina led product research and design at the LEGO Group, Nickelodeon, Yahoo, and YouTube. She holds and MFA in Product Design and Human Computer Interaction (HCI) from the Ohio State university. Catalina has also served as an advisor at Stanford University, University of Berkeley, and the California College of the Arts.