Time flies, it really does! It seems that I was just here last year attending this App Fest and going to the Dust or Magic AppCamp. Last year was very impressive with Warren Bucklietner of CTR at the helm along with Daren Carstens and the Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds are just breathtakingly gorgeous.
I am sure that this will be another smashing event. As we descend into SFO I can feel the enthusiasm mounting in getting over to the Zynga Building and the co.lab with the anticipation of seeing friends and making new ones.
Fast Forward: Facilitating the AppFest in the Zynga building this year was Daren Carstens, sans Warren, the format was informal and the event started out with free play on a variety of different apps stationed around the room. I was disappointed that there were so few children in attendance this year, but the demo's were diverse and many companies were brand new to Teachers With Apps.
The informal presentations started with Tico Ballagas of Kindoma, a child-like communications app (think Skype for kids with added interactivity, such as reading, drawing, or playing games). This platform is successfully enabling families to connect through video calls and messaging with the added play element. This app is specifically designed for young children and their loved ones - the social and emotional upshot of this technology was shared via several user stories. Wow, how come TWA never heard of them before? This is a keeper and one of the many children's tech products that shows huge potential, not surprising when you see who else is involved in this venture!
Arjita Sethi from the School of Games gave a brief overview of their research and building of a platform to enable the disadvantaged of the world to have access to content. This application of immersive video games to teach basic literacy to the children at the bottom of the socioeconomic chain. The School of Games has pledged to reform education and be the leader for these 112 million children to bridge the word gap and the digital divide. Once again I crossed paths with Jen Ito and got to meet her two dreamy kids, great watching when they would look up from their screen and tune into one of the presentations. Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Expert was in attendance and a busy bee getting info and contact information about some of the latest trends and promising products. Gabriel Adauto, Motion Math eloquently described their new approach to helping make app entry into public schools easier. Tamara Kaldor Program Coordinator, TEC (Technology in Early Childhood) Center at Erikson Institute had a wealth of knowledge to share and it is evident that the focus is instilling in parents that it is all about quality, not quantity when it comes to children and screen time. But who will be this judge? Teachers With Apps can certainly help as well as CTR.
Chris Rettstatt from Wonder Workshop gave a quick overview of their wonderful product.Pierre Abel from the immensely popular Word Wizard and L'Escapadou shared a new tool that he has been designing that has a huge educational potential for children to understand math concepts first hand through exploratory play.
Aarti Parikh KiteReaders KiteReaders.com
Barbara Chase & Mark Schlichting NoodleWorks Interactive *New Book Release
Cathy Tran MIND Research Institute / ST Math
Chris Rettstatt Wonder Workshop
Daren Carstens Carstens Studios
Erik Mork Silver Bay Labs
Gabriel Adauto Motion Math
Jennie Ito Google Play for Families
Keli Winters Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
Kimberly Cooper Starfall Education Foundation
Lindsey Tropf immersedgames.com
Lorraine Akemann Moms with Apps
Meredith Downing Literacy Lab
Pierre Abel L'escapadou
Reyne Rice Toy Trends
Scott Traylor 360KID
Tamara Kaldor TEC Center at Erikson Institute
Tatyana Belyavskaya Bel Math Apps
Tico Ballagas Kindoma
Toby Levenson Conceptua Math
Valerie Touze Edoki Academy