Tag Archive: technology education


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!

It’s hard to describe the passion I have for Computer Explorers. The excitement I feel on the first day of international training is beyond words. It is thrilling to know that at the end of two weeks Computer Explorers will have a new franchisee in the UK and new programs offered in China.

Maybe if you watch this video that I received from students in Bangsar, a residential suburb on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur you will understand.

Everyone Needs An iPad

Deb with Computer Explorers iPad

For more than 25 years, Computer Explorers has been a leading provider of outsourced child computer and technology education programs for schools, recreation centers, summer camps and day care providers.

Computer Explorers is a franchise system that teaches more than 33,000 students per week. Our 600 teachers prepare children for the future in nearly 2,000 schools. Internationally Computer Explorers is represented in England, Wales, Ireland, Australia and Malaysia.

What is missing are videos to show the awesome programs we are so very proud of.  With videos of our classes we could add credibility that our students are engaged and learning. If we had videos to share we could communicate that we are different than the competitors. Videos establish trust and continue engagement for an extended period and videos of our classes would add energy to our Website!

For all the reasons above I wanted to encourage the Computer Explorers franchisees (via video) to capture the excitement of their classes via video. Since I wanted the videos in a matter of a couple of weeks I tied a contest to the request. The winner of the contest will receive two new Apple iPad 2s. One is for the franchisee to use in their programs and the second to be donated to the location where the video is filmed.

I  would love to give every Computer Explorers Franchisee an iPad to be used in their classes but it’s just not in the budget at this time. Instead, one very creative and deserving franchisee will win two iPads.

Over the next few days I will share the top entries with you. I would love to receive your feedback!

We have a few impressive  judges that will help us determine the winner which will be announced by the end of the week. We wish everyone the best of luck!

CE Attends ISTE

The annual ISTE (International Society for Technology Education) started off on a inspirational note this year!

Here are some Tweets from Cyndee Perkins, Director of Curriculum and Program Development and I today:

  •  Qualified, engaging teachers will build a core of students capable of computing and creating innovative tools: S. Rainwater
  • The emotional stability of the home is the greatest predictor of school success.
  • If you want to design an optimum learning environment based on How the brain works, you would NOT have a classroom
  • Dr. Medina (Keynote) – “Every brain is wired differently and learns differently!”
  • Dr. Medina (Keynote) – “Human learning occurs in the alleyways and boulevards – why do we put kids in classrooms?”
  •  Sitting in session www.Tammyworcester.com where her handout of top 20 web tools is posted.
  •  Online collaborative learning needs a pedagogical change … no more “sit and get” … use interactive discourse via Twitter and Facebook.
  •   Session on Education 3.0 (Buzzword, Fad or Salvation) starting with”Wizard of Oz” music! Love the presenter’s sense of humor!
  •  Best quote of the day “plant content on your kids device” by Lucy Gray
  • High Techpectations http://www.lucygray.org/
  •  Mobile learning and mobile media definitely technology education trend this year!
  •  Follow #edapp for tweets on educational apps
  • The future is in the “cloud”
  •  Beyond literacy to information fluency in the age of InfoWhelm!
  • 5 A’s of information fluency -ask, acquire, analyze, assess and apply
We had a full day and will be back tomorrow to unlock our potential!  Come along with us by following our Tweets  with the hashtag #CEatISTE

Brother and Sister Using iPad Together

Laptops, iPads and video game consoles are among the most popular holiday presents and they often get a bad rap for dumbing down kids. Yet popular technology gifts can engage children in activities that reinforce learning across core subjects and develop important problem-solving skills, says Jenifer Morack, director of COMPUTER EXPLORERS of Mercer & Hunterdon Counties.

“With the right training, kids can use common holiday gifts to design video games, write basic computer programs, better understand the world and even score higher on tests,” said Morack. “With the right curriculum, kids get so excited they forget they are learning. Their ability to absorb knowledge and apply it is really amazing and inspiring.”

In addition to its in-school curriculum, COMPUTER EXPLORERS offers opportunities for kids to design video games and 3-D worlds, program robots, make green-screen movies and experiment with other cutting-edge technology such as iPads; children ages 3 to 16 master technology skills at an early age. The extracurricular classes are taught in public and private schools, after-school programs, camps, pre-schools and youth organizations. ComputerTots and eTots, its online companion, help prepare pre-schoolers develop advanced skills in cooperative learning, observation and problem-solving.

With access to the Internet, most technology gifts can easily do double duty for both entertainment and learning.

“The trick is for kids to use household technology such as iPads and laptops in the classroom to make core subjects fun so kids want to use them as learning tools,” said Morack. “When students realize they can learn whenever and wherever they are with access to the right tools, popular technology gifts become much more valuable.”.

We always had focus but with the help of our business partners (Arment Dietrich and GMLV/St. Jacques) COMPUTER EXPLORERS is ready to share our focus with the education community.

Our true value statement: COMPUTER EXPLORERS will leverage technology to reinforce and develop core academic skills while also developing collaboration, creativity, and problem solving skills in COMPUTER EXPLORERS’s fun, engaging and proprietary curriculum as the highest and best use of a child’s social time.

Our core messages:

  • Our product is core to children’s education
  • We are experts and opinion leaders
  • Our services are precise and relevant

Now it’s time for COMPUTER EXPLORERS to engage the education community. On a national level the COMPUTER EXPLORERS corporate team will work closely with several education associations. One of our strongest partnerships is with International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  COMPUTER EXPLORERS has been an ISTE 100 Corp member for several years. Recently, I accepted a two-year position with ISTE Awards & Recognition Committee. Every year during the ISTE annual conference the committee recognizes  individuals for their achievements in the field of educational technology. On a local level COMPUTER EXPLORERS franchisees are excited to become members and join me and other COMPUTER EXPLORERS corporate team members at the ISTE annual conference in June.

I hope that you can help COMPUTER EXPLORERS become known in the education community. Do you have a friend or family member involved with education? Do you know someone who seeks a stronger technology education purpose for their child? If so, please have them contact me (devans@iced.net) or one of our franchisees found on our website www.computerexplorers.com

We are focused to leverage technology in the education community but could always use help from our friends!