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!