Archive for November, 2011


In the last two months I have attended two very different but very inspirational conferences: FranCamp Nashville and Dust or Magic Institute in New Jersey.

Dust or Magic

It was my first attendance and  Cyndee Perkins sixth to the Dust or Magic Institute. The objectives of the eleventh annual Dust or Magic conference were simple:

  • To familiarize ourselves with the key products of the year
  • To familiarize ourselves with some fundamental theories of child development in the context of emerging technologies
  • To help us meet and learn from others who are passionate about creating interactive media for children

After initially being star struck meeting Craig Hickman, Creator of Kid Pix, Don Rawitsch Co-Creator of Oregon Trail and Mark Schlichting Creator, The Living Books I realized that we were all there for the same reason – we value technology education!

Cyndee and I shared our key takeaways on Inside Computer Explorers – Was it Dust or Magic? If you have not listened to the broadcast yet you can find the link here

Do you understand the glue?

 The very popular Angry Birds game is simple enough to understand but complicated enough to be addictive. It’s the glue in gaming that app developers are trying to replicate. Did you know that Angry Birds is used to teach math, history and science? Read this article in iLearn Technology http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=3970

Chip Donohue, Director of Distance Learning, Erikson Institute reminded us that “you don’t have to love technology to understand that we have a responsibility to figure it out for the sake of the children.” Donohue encourages us: to embrace lifelong and life wide learning, create technology tools to play/learn with anyone, anytime, in any place, at your pace, on any device, leverage digital convergence, blatantly connect childhood and creativity, and to keep the child inside you alive!

We live in a world where “touchless is the new black” (Craig Hickman) and “the tablet effect has begun” (Warren Buckleitner).

The why!

Many of the presentations were filmed but there is one in particular that I recommend you carve 33.18 minutes out of your day and watch why Daren Carsten received the first standing ovation in the 11 years at Dust or Magic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llHhhUBMzGQ

Daren shared his secrets to making successful learning apps but his presentation is not just for developers. It’s for all of us. He said we “can’t claim that we make learning fun – learning IS fun! Our job is to reveal the fun in learning!”

Daren’s biggest message was: “Don’t forget about the why (the kids).Hangout with smarter, more creative and more passionate people, preferably children.”

Warren Buckleitner host of Dust of Magic said, “powerful technology + good people = magic”

Cyndee said to me, “You and I came away from Dust or Magic re-inspired by kids and education and making a difference.”

She is correct! I believe, “With hard work, trust in the brand (Computer Explorers), and some creative thinking, we can continue to make a difference and add some magic in 2012. Franchisees joined CE due to their passion for learning and using technology with children. Many things come and go but children, education and technology will always be part of the future. I’m excited to be part of that!” 

I have a strong commitment and belief to technology education and franchising. There is no magic or silver bullet to success. Hard work, dedication and what we believe in will create success.

I attend conferences to learn. I learn so I can teach. I teach because I believe Computer Explorers can be the nations leading technology education franchise!

This is a topic that really charges me up! Not in a good way either.

How many times do you hear someone claim they are a “social media expert” only to find out they are not social at all? In my case, too many times!

When seeking a firm or individual to help you with your social media strategies, be sure to hire someone who can not only talk the talk but actually walks the walk! Nothing angers me more than to jump on a Webinar of so called “experts” discussing SEO, blogging, Google + or Facebook setup to find their own company pages are totally blank or nonexistent!!

When I presented at FranCamp I was clear that Computer Explorers got our start in the social media world due the partnership with Gini Dietrich, CEO Arment Dietrich. She talks the talk. She walks the walk. Yes, she has 20, 283 followers on Twitter because she actually has something to say and that is why they follow her! Below is a short clip of my presentation.

AK Stout provides social media training on setting up Google +, Facebook pages, etc. And guess what!? She is active on those pages! Check out her new business page on Google +, here. Justin Brackett, VP Marketing of BizChangerZ  blogs, speaks and tweets about social media! Follow him on Twitter to learn more, here

Join us for on Social Geek Radio as Justin Bracket, AK and I discuss this topic! We would love to chat with you either in the chat room or call into the show. We are live  8pm CT/9pm ET, November 10th but it’s recorded so catch the show at your convenience. Link here

Why is it that we are quick to report bad customer service, dissatisfaction with a product or even a movie we saw? We share our opinion with friends, family and sometimes total strangers. Why are we slower to share praise or make recommendations? Word of mouth recommendations from a trusted source proves to be the best influence with decision makers. The digital space we live in today intensifies our reach when making recommendations.

When was the last time you received excellent customer service and posted a thank you on the Facebook business page? Have you purchased a product you are happy with and tweeted a review? Is there a speaker, vendor, or peer that you can promote via LinkedIn? Today we live in one-to-many world of communication. It’s time to take advantage of our social networks and share our experiences both good and bad.

I’m very good at saying thank you with a note or even a gift basket after an event. I do my best to make LinkedIn recommendations as often as possible. This time I decided to try something a little different with my recommendation.

 

What recommendation will you share and which social platform will you use?