AppCamp 2014 Agenda

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    Announcing the 5th Annual Dust or Magic Children’s AppCamp

    WHEN: June 8-10, 2014 (Sunday at 3:00 PM through Tuesday at 1:30 PM)
    This year’s AppFest is a free pre-conference session, held in San Francisco from 3:00-6:00 PM on Saturday, June 7.

    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 learning from veteran designers
    • Get your hands on the latest mobile hardware, including the new Android tablets and the iPad Air
    • Learn to apply child development principles to emerging technology in order to “capture the magic” that can launch a career and 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 past talks and videos.


    REGISTRATION: $1440 for one seat, or $1050 each for 2 to 5, which includes food, wine, and materials. Housing is $341 (double occupancy) or $540 for a single room. The group size is limited, and space is offered on a first come, first served basis. Visit the registration form.

     – Agenda –


    Pack relaxed, casual clothing (layers are best) and arrive well rested with charged batteries. No overt selling or promoting is permitted; there will be a handout table where you can put flyers, information about an app, a recent study or product. Prepare a one page PDF with demo codes and send it to me by email (warren @ We’ll print one copy on site and post it near the table. If you plan on doing a demo, read this.


    June 7, 2014 — Children’s AppFest ($Sold out)

    SORRY APPFEST 2014 IS FULL. Check back for next year. 

    WHERE: Co.lab,  650 Townsend Street, Suite 225, San Francisco, CA 94103. Close to the Cal Train Station; in the SoMa neighborhood; parking nearby — children welcome. Note that there is a Giant’s game that night with a start time of 7 PM. This could affect parking and transit.

    appfestWHEN: Saturday, June 7, 2014 — Children’s AppFest from 3 – 6 PM

    WHAT: Children’s AppFest will go for about 3 hours. It is a cooperative effort between the SVKAG (Silicon Valley Kids Apps Group), Moms With Apps, Co.Lab and CTR/Dust or Magic. Many people worked to make this happen, especially Josh Garratt, Gabriel Adauto, Esteban Sosnik, Randy Weiner and Lorraine Akemann.

    HOW IT WORKS: People who want to set up a demo station, take a balloon, write the name of your title on the balloon and put out a tablet.  You might want to have business cards or a one page handout with some free download codes, so people can learn more about your work. This is an excellent place to get discovered, as several of the Dust or Magic speakers will be in the audience.

    People (and kids) who want to get a demo will look for balloons. We’ll have snacks for the kids and adults. Parents are responsible for their kids.

    At 5 PM, we’ll present a “State of the Children’s App” where we may show a few examples of “dust” and “magic” and provide a preview of the agenda, below. This event is free and public, but space is limited to 80, on a first-come, first served basis. Use this form:  Advance registration for the free AppFest (not AppCamp). (Sold out, Sorry)


    Sunday June 8, 2014 at the Marconi Center

    3:00 PM Checkin and Registration

    Buck Hall Marconi Center (snacks provided, children and demos welcome)

    plantsThis is an informal time when people can show and share apps.
    When you arrive (if you are registered for the full AppCamp) find Barbara at the check-in desk (probably in the lobby of Buck Hall at 3 PM)  and pick up your materials.  It will contain everything you need. Note that Marconi has a lot of hills and wooded paths. We’ll give you a ride to your room in necessary.  If you are just coming to the AppFest, you are welcome to stay, talk, demo and let your children explore the snacks and apps. As with previous years, this part of the day is open to the public — no registration is required. The other free portion of this event is the Children’s AppFest, this year held in the Co-Lab in San Francisco from 3 – 6 PM on June 7, Saturday. Details.

    5:00 Panel: The Annual State of the Children’s App Huddle

    The 2014 “State of the Children’s App” Panel with Caroline Hu Flexer,  Pierre AbelBarry O’Neil, Ann McCormick, Mark Schlichting,  Gregg Spiridellis and  Dan Russell-Pinson; moderated by Daren Carstens

    Join the conversation as we review the last year, and discuss what will happen in 2015.

    (AppFest participants depart).


    6 – 7:30  PM Dinner (Dining Hall)

    Welcome to AppCamp 5  by Warren Buckleitner and Daren Carstens


    7:40 Sunset on the Marconi Hill at the site of the first wireless signal: Annual ego ceremony (mandatory for New Yorkers).

    Raul Gutierrez,Tinybop

    Raul Gutierrez,Tinybop

    8:00  Raul Gutierrez, Tinybop

    Designing for Slowness in an Age of Speed

    You may have heard about The Human Body. It provided evidence that a single app can be heard around the world.  Get a first-hand demo of Plants, and help assess if it will grow or wither in the app store.




    9:00 Demos

    10:00 PM  Free play



    Monday June 9, 2014

    7-8:15  am Breakfast Buffet (dining hall)

    8:30 Child Development 101 for the Designers of Children’s Apps 2014 AppCamp Edition with Warren Buckleitner

    9:00 Demos

    9:30 Learning Theory Applied to App Design with Barbara Chamberlin

    10:00 AppDance and Nice Touch — Charge up your tablet. This is an  informal exploration with show and tell of some of the latest HCI “best practice” applied to multi-touch settings for children (and adults).

    1. Lessons in Multi-Touch Pedagogy from OZ and Shiny Things: Mat Peterson and Jane Abrams
    2. Barry O’Neill of StoryToys.
    12:00 Lunch

    1:00  François Boucher-Genesse and Dany Joly of Ululab:  The Making of Slice Fractions

    Children can’t stop playing Slice Fractions, and it even has the world “fractions” in it. How did Ululab’s cofounders create this magic, in their first app? They realized a few years ago through their background in the AAA game industry and academic research that games had tremendous potential as educational tools. Francois is in charge of game design, while Dany handles programming and business development.  Come an hear their story.


    Slice Fractions
    Slice Fractions by Ululab Inc.



    1:45 Demos

    2:15 Pierre Abel,  L’Escapadou: My Experience in the Educational App Market

    3:00 Demos

    3:30 Workshop

    4:45 Spotlight Talks (15 minutes each)
    1. Ann H. McCormick What I Learned from Making Reader Bee
    2. David Fox: What I Learned from Making Rube Works
    3. Seven Academy: Nathalie Gauthier — Pouring Some Piagetian Theory into an app
    6-7:30 Dinner

    7:40 Group photo (optional)

    7:10 Sunset on that famous hill

    Dan Russell-Pinson8:00 The Year in Review by Dan Russell-Pinson

    You’ve seen his apps… Stack the States, Presidents vs. Aliens and Monster Physics. Learn how Dan’s apps keep engagement high, price low, and prove you can make a living making apps.

    8:30 Discussion and demos

    10-midnight Free play


    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Room checkout by 10 AM.

    7-8:15 am Breakfast Buffet
    Barry O'Neill, StoryToys

    Barry O’Neill, StoryToys

    8:30 Spotlight Talks — 15 minutes each
    1. Jim Gray: Guideposts from the New Science of Learning: making app experiences mentally Active, Engaging, Meaningful, and Social.
    2. Barbara Chamberlin: Are We Making a Difference? Lessons Learned in Measuring Learning on Games
    3. Keli Winters: Thinking Beyond the Pink and the Blue
    4. Daren Carstens: Thoughts for the road


    10:30 Demos


    Jens Peter de Pedro11:00 Jens Peter de Pedro: Lessons from Toca Boca
    12:00  Lunch
    1:30 Review quiz, toast and depart.



    • Pierre Abel

      Pierre Abel 

      Pierre Abel is the founder of L'Escapadou, a family design studio based in the south of France. He started creating apps as soon as the iPad was released, and is the author of several awarded apps (including Montessori Crosswords and Word Wizard). Watching his homeschooled kids  learn and play is his main source of inspiration for the apps he designs with his wife. Previously, Pierre has worked as User Interface Designer/Developer, has done academic research in Information Visualization, and has developed his first game - a long time ago - on Apple IIGS. Pierre holds a PhD in ...

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    • Gregg Spiridellis

      Gregg Spiridellis 

      Gregg Spiridellis is the Co-founder and CEO of JibJab Media Inc. and Storybots. He spent the mid-nineties locked up inside NYC skyscrapers pumping out spreadsheets at Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns.  In 1997, he went to Wharton to get his MBA and unexpectedly fell in love… with the Internet.  By the time he graduated, the affair had reached such a fevered pitch that he started an online entertainment company with his brother Evan when it made absolutely no economic sense to do so.  Love will do that to you.  Five years later, in a pre-YouTub...

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    • 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...

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    • Warren Buckleitner

      Warren Buckleitner 

      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 ( 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...

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    • Barbara Chamberlin

      Barbara Chamberlin 

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

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    • Caroline Hu Flexer

      Caroline Hu Flexor, Duck Duck Moose

      Caroline Hu Flexer 

      Caroline Hu Flexer is the CEO and Co-Founder of Duck Duck Moose, an award-winning creator of educational mobile apps for families. Founded in 2008, the company has created twenty-one top-selling titles from its first musically focused title, Wheels on the Bus, to its most recent educational platform, WonderBox. Duck Duck Moose has received 20 Parents’ Choice Awards, 17 Children’s Tech...

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    • Jens Peter de Pedro


      Jens Peter de Pedro 

      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...

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    • Dan Russell-Pinson

      Dan Russell-Pinson 

      Dan Russell-Pinson President, Freecloud Design, Inc. Dan Russell-Pinson is the creator of several top 10 educational and entertainment apps including Stack the States, Tipping Point, Stack the Countries, Mathmateer, Presidents vs. Aliens and Monster Physics.  Dan has recently expanded his reach by supporting the Android and Windows 8 platforms.  He studied Computer Science at Clemson University and combines his interests in programming, graphics, music and sound to create games that are educational and engaging.  In his free time, Dan enjoys photography, unicycling, music and spending ti...

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    • Ann McCormick

      Ann McCormick 

      Ann H. McCormick, PhD founded and lead software design at the Learning Company for it’s first 16 products, including Rocky’s Boots and Reader Rabbit.With her team, she created a new category of software and a leading national brand. Ann gave invited presentations for the Special Office of the President (US), the LIbrary of Congress, Members of Parliament (UK), the Congress of the Latin Americas (Brazil), and spoke at telecommunications companies (Northern Telecom, Pacific Bell, ATT) advanced labs (IBM, Apple, HP) and for publishers and toy companies. She consulted to Apple Cla...

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    • David Fox

      David Fox 

      As Lucasfilm Games employee #3, David Fox was a project leader/game designer on Rescue on Fractalus!, Labyrinth, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and primary SCUMM scripter on Maniac Mansion. He and his wife, Annie Fox, co-founded their own production company, Electric Eggplant, publishing books and apps for kids and parents. Most recently David designed and executive produced Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game, Unity Game’s first iOS game.

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    • Jane Abrams

      Jane Abrams 

      Jane Abrams oversees the development of educational content for Sydney-based app company, Shiny Things. After spending the better part of her 20s collecting expensive pieces of paper (she has a Bachelor in Liberal Studies, a Post-Grad Diploma in Psychology and a Masters of Teaching), Jane worked in HR before making the jump to software in a customer support role. For the past two years she has been responsible for ensuring that Shiny Things’ apps are educationally sound, teacher-vetted, and kid-approved.

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    • Mat Peterson

      Mat Peterson 

      Mat Peterson’s love of apps and programming began as a child. The 29-year-old founder of educational app development startup, Shiny Things, says he has been building apps since before they were ”sexy”, having built his first one before Apple had even launched the App Store. Today he is focused on producing high-quality education products, designed to enhance the classroom experience for both teachers and students.

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    • 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 ...

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    • Raul Gutierrez

      Raul Gutierrez,Tinybop

      Raul Gutierrez 

      Raul Gutierrez, Founder and CEO of Tinybop Inc., has enjoyed a long career in technology and the arts. As a high school student in rural East Texas, he was an early Apple developer (when programming for the Mac meant buying a Lisa). Raul was admitted to Princeton University as an engineer but graduated with a BA in art history after writing his thesis on Chinese Eastern Zhou bronze casting techniques. After college, Raul worked at Paramount Pictures for acclaimed producer Scott Rudin. Later, he formed a consulting firm and built internet properties for P...

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    • François Boucher-Genesse

      François Boucher-Genesse 

      Francois Boucher-Genesse did a master’s degree in education in order to find the best ways to use video games as educational tools. He realized through his research and consulting activities the tremendous potential games could have in education. He then cofounded Ululab, hoping to contribute to this exciting new branch of the game industry. Ululab released their first title this year: Slice Fractions.  

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    • Dany Joly

      Dany Joly 

      Dany Joly got very excited when he saw the opportunities offered by educational gaming to improve how we learn and this is when he cofounded Ululab. At Ululab, he handles programming and business development. Slice Fractions is the first mobile app he had the opportunity to create. Prior to Ululab, Dany worked as a software engineer at Microsoft on the revival of Internet Explorer and he holds a B.S. in Software Engineering.

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    • Jim Gray

      Jim Gray 

      Jim Gray, Ed.D. As Vice President of Learning Design at Sesame Workshop, Jim is responsible for the educational quality of interactive products designed to help children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Areas of expertise include children’s development, play, learning, and media design, with a career spanning academic research, teaching, product development, and business innovation. Jim has been a teacher of young children, researcher of innovative learning technologies, Director of Learning at LeapFrog, and ed...

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    • Keli Winters

      Keli Winters, Evan-Moor

      Keli Winters 

      Keli Winters is the Director of Production at Evan-Moor Educational Publishers. Keli has been with Evan-Moor for 10 years, working with a team of Editors and Designers toward achieving the goal of creating innovative K-6 supplemental teaching materials. She works closely with various departments to shape the technology vision for the Evan Moor including technology that is integrated with print products, standalone technology products, and Evan-Moor's internet presence.

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    • Michael Colombo

      Michael Colombo 

      Michael Colombo is a pluralist, working in fabrication, electronics, interaction, music, and entertainment. Most recently he has built gadgets and written for MAKE magazine, and crafted music and sound design for mobile apps. In the past he has been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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  • 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."

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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!"

    • 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."

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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."

    • 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.