AppCamp 2014

  • appCampBanner[Note: This page has been archived.]

    Announcing the 5th Annual Dust or Magic AppCamp

    WHAT IS IT? An honest review of the best (and worst) practice, aka the “dust” and the “magic” of children’s apps; along with a crash course (or a review) on child development.

    The idea for AppCamp came pre-iPad after several 2009 Dust or Magic Institute attendees from the West Coast requested  a Dust or Magic event in California. We knew that a flood of “apps” (then a new term) was on the way, and that these products would need to be properly critiqued, debated and understood.  The first AppCamp was held in May of 2010, one month after the release of the iPad. As with all CTR-related work — AppCamp is independent; there are no sponsors or associations with Google, Apple or hidden commercial interests. The event is supported by registration fees; it is not exclusive to any organization or media outlet.

    WHO & WHAT: Please see the latest agenda.

    WHEN: June 8-10, 2014 (Sunday at 3 PM through Tuesday at 1:30 PM) . The pre-conference Children’s AppFest ($free, pre-registration required) will be June 7 at 3:00 PM.

    Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 3.23.52 PMWHERE:  A NEW LOCATION! Marconi Conference Center, 18500 State Highway One; P.O. Box 789, Marshall, CA 94940 (415-663-9020)  1.5 hours north of San Francisco International Airport (across the Golden Gate Bridge) on the east shore of Tomales Bay. The location provides dramatic views of the bay and the lush inland hills of the Point Reyes Peninsula. It is the site of the 1912 American Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company. See the location with this Google Map or view some social photo albums at the center’s Facebook page.


    • Relax and take notes as you critique the latest apps by way of demonstrations.
    • Tap the power of potential kid-appeal of the accelerometer, multi-touch and GPS while making connections with veteran designers
    • Get your hands on the latest mobile hardware, including the new Android tablets, the iPad mini, the iPod Touch 5 and Nintendo 2DS and the Kindle Fire.
    • Apply child development principles to emerging technology in order to “capture the magic” that can launch a business.
    • Contribute your own vision of “dust” or “magic.”
    • Leave inspired to create more engaging products that children can’t stop playing, with practical techniques and specific design ideas that can be applied —tomorrow.
    • See Hanna Rosin’s article The Touch Screen Generation (April 2013, The Atlantic) to get an outside-in view of the event.
    • Read more about AppCamp 2013 and AppCamp 2012, with links to talks and videos.

    Attendees include a mix of reviewers, publishers and designers. The reviewers share what they’ve seen and explain what they like. The publishers demonstrate their latest products. Children are welcome, although they must be registered and supervised, and housing space may be limited (please call, as Marconi has less beds than Asilomar). Speakers and agenda include in-depth talks with Q/A and case studies. Most are captured on YouTube “for the good of the field.” View this year’s agenda.


    REGISTRATION: Registration has now closed. $1440 for one seat ($710 at small publisher rate, $450 for prior speakers) or $1050 each for multiple seats (2-5). This fee covers food, wine, and materials. Group size is limited to 80 on a first-come, first-served basis. Please call Megan at 800-993-9499 to see if you qualify for the small publisher rate. Graduate students and researchers are also welcome to use this option (limit one per organization).  Registration form.

    HOUSING: $170.50/night for double or triple occupancy, for 2 nights (required), which includes food.  Note that Marconi is a conference center with excellent quality rooms on par with a good hotel (e.g., private baths).  But the number of rooms are limited; and we currently only have doubles and triples left. You can pay for your housing using our housing payment page.

    Roommate preferences can be specified on the registration form, or we can help you find a suitable roommate if you like. To inquire about the availability of a triple or deluxe room, call 800-993-9499 (9 to 3 EST). Children staying at Marconi must be registered. The cost for children aged 4-10 is $40/night; children aged 11 and up are charged full price. If you are not staying at Marconi, the daily rate for guests is $75 per person, per day.

    GRADUATE CREDIT: Two CEUs are available for graduate students for the TEC center at the Erikson Institute. Download the TEC/Erikson CEU form.

    CONTACT US: Call 800-993-9499  (9-2 PM EST) to speak with Megan, Warren or Lisa. You will not be charged until your seat is confirmed.



  • 2018 Events

    Masterclass • Mar. 25, Bologna, Italy • Register
    AppCamp • Jun. 1-3, Asilomar, CA • Register
    Highlights Retreat • Boyds Mills, PA
    Institute • Nov. 4-6, Lambertville, NJ • Register

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  • Conference testimonials


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      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."

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      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."

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      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!"

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      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."

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      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."

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      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."

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

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

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      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.