• Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 4.37.34 PMDust or Magic has been shaped by many individuals who are passionate about children and technology.

    From the start, this  has been a collaborative effort; and the real “magic” has always been the people in the room.

    First — thanks to the participants — anyone who has ever filled out the registration form has invested in the idea, keeping the agenda free from sponsorship bias or other agendas that can seep into the DNA of a social gathering.  You’ve helped me dodge a necessary evil, and allowed me and the other reviewers who attend to give you direct feedback, while providing honest reviews of your products.

    Next to the CTR staff — specifically to Ann Orr and Ellen Wolock, the first CSR editors who helped me get the first edition off the ground; and the able staff at the Inn at Lambertville Station that  helped reschedule during the events of 9/11/2001 (thanks to Louise and JB) and more recently Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Pat Sevchuk, Tracey Lyons, Chris Grabowich, Bobbie Nester, Mary Beth Griffith; Rick Toon; but especially Lisa DellaFave, Matthew DiMateo and Megan Billitti for getting everything right, the first time.

    Daren Carstens has been there through it all… ably moving from participant to facilitator, and leaving his indelible spark of magical creativity on every session.

    Many have served as “demo dogs” over the years, but Michael Colombo stands out for his willingness to take on any task, such as removing an air swimmer from a ceiling fan or playing a trombone on a Pacific beach.

    WEST COAST I was encouraged by many, especially Mandeep Dhillon, Caroline Hu Flexer, and John Ittelson to start a West Coast edition. Now, I’m glad I did. Our first edition was prophetically five days after the first iPad shipped. Thanks to John, Keli and Trev for equipment storage,  BBQs, bagpipes and logistics.

    BOLOGNA The seed planted in 1997 by David Biltchik has grown, with the help Ilaria Beccari, Roberta Chini, Marco Momoli and Neal Hoskins.

    HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION Jo Llyod and Kent Brown have greatly helped with the literacy retreat.

    appCamp2013Logo copyMORAL SUPPORT
    Many believed in the Dust or Magic concept from the start, including my family, Aleen Stein, Bob Hughes (who gave me permission to use the title of his book to name the first event), Patrick Dickson, Doug Lynch, Robin Raskin, Chip Donohue, Jesse Schell, Lane Merrifield, Barbara Chamberlin, Keli Winters, Mark Schlichting and Barbara Chase, James Oppenheim, Shelly Day, Jack Minsky, David Kleeman, Jeff Braun, Claire Green, Jim Marggraff, David Pogue (who didn’t say no), Reyne Rice, Jean Piaget, Kent Brown, JP Dyson, Jo Lloyd, Bob Wickenden, Scott Traylor; and all the children who have inspired the presentations, served on panels and reminded us who we’re working for.

    Said Roger Wagner: “I realized that there is a grammatical detail to be considered. The name of the group and community is “Dust OR Magic”, but the quotes says “Dust TO Magic”. And, although the quote says “can turn”, making it clear that the “magic” isn’t a guaranteed outcome, it seems to me more correct to say, “An idea can turn to Dust OR Magic”, depending on the talent that rubs against it.”,  for there are both negative and positive “talents” in this world, and many a “good idea” has been turned to dust because it was handled without love and understanding. I would constructively suggest that you consider making the other form of the quote (with “or), as being not only more consistent with your group, but in fact more inspiring because one must use mindful caution and not just blind enthusiasm. For what it’s worth…”  I think it’s worth consideration.

    So let’s try this: “An idea can be Dust or Magic depending on the talent that rubs against it.”


    Daren Carstens coined the term “AppCamp” and created the first “toasted marshmallow in an iPhone” image  as a joke. Sometimes jokes stick, and so do marshmallows.

    David Kleeman took some of the group shots, especially of the first AppCamp.
    Katherine Burdick took many shots from the first eBook retreat at the Highlights Foundation.
    Kristina Joy Honda, took many high quality photos during Dust or Magic AppCamp 2013.
    Kaare Christian took some amazing photos at Dust or Magic 2014 in Lambertville.

    We’ve tried to get the word out with YouTube… Scott Traylor has been capturing many of the talks on his YouTube Channel and has helped incredibly by having his camera on, and knowing where to point it. Other video editors have been listed in the credits of each work, including Fred Nelson, Richard Carey, Ben Kates, Matthew DiMatteo and Will Robinson.

    To you all… my thanks for believing in the power of making digital magic for our children.
    W. Buckleitner


Leave a Reply

  • 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

  • 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.