April 19 – 21 Dust or Magic Once Upon An App at the Highlights Foundation

The third interactive media design for children retreat will take place at the beautiful Highlights Foundation in Boyds Mills, PA, about 2 1/2 hours northwest of New York City.

We’ll expand on the agenda of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Masterclass, taking a closer look at the latest digital materials related to language development for preschool and elementary age children (aged 2-to 12-years).

But we won’t stop there. We’ll dissect the latest apps, and together talk about what you need to know to “find the magic” in 2015. Examples will include the 2015 BolognaRagazzi Digital Award winners.

imgres-7• How do you turn a story “inside out” in order to increase child engagement as was done in My Very Hungry Caterpillar?

• David Wiesner’s Spot used a “powers of ten” mechanic to move through the story. What are some other innovative navigation schemes that every digital storyteller should know about?

• Auschwitz, a Tale of Wind was a bold undertaking, but it had some weak points. Can you identify the problems? If you were the designer, how could you tweak the interface to very affordably increase child engagement?

• How can we use interactive techniques like those used in Pry and Freddie Wants Sausage.

We’ll use our lasers to critique each example to better refine our own definition of what works (the magic), and what doesn’t (the dust).


Interactive designers who are responsible for making quality digital products.
Publishers who want to keep a competitive edge.
Authors who want to take a print based book and successfully move it to a screen.
Illustrators who want to learn how to illustrate for interactive design.
Early childhood educators who want to leverage the power of the tablet to help support early learning development.
Children’s librarians who want to find out what’s new with the latest children’s book apps, and learn about best practice.
ESL and Speech and Language Specialists who want to learn how to use tablets in day to day practice.

WHERE: The Highlights Foundation in Boyds Mills, PA. Transportation will be provided to and from the Wilkes Barr International Airport in Scranton PA. In addition we are considering having van service to/from Newark Liberty International Airport (departing at 1:00 PM on Sunday) and Port Authority (Departing at 2:30 PM) Sunday. If this is of interest to you, please let us know.

For more information and to REGISTER

warren-amsterdam-300x234Warren Buckleitner is an educational psychologist who reviews children’s interactive media. He’s been a preschool, elementary and college teacher (currently TCNJ’s IMM program). He is the founding editor of Children’s Technology Review.  He serves as the chair of the BolognaRagazzi Digital Prize at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.


Lovely_GailheadshotGail Lovely is a former teacher who runs a school consulting and teacher training company. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Computing from Pepperdine University, where she was also an Adjunct Professor. Gail has provided content and interface development support and advice to several educational publishers and companies, and more recently to the educational versions of mobile device apps.

For more information and to REGISTER




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