KUDOS to Stacy Sherman and her crew for pulling off the Digital Kids Conference in an amazing new venue. This event has run in conjunction with the Toy Fair and had been on site for at the Javits for almost a decade.
This year the conference took place off-site at Chelsea Pier 59, it was easy to reach via complimentary shuttle from the Javits Center and what a wonderful space for a tech conference! A big step up from the windowless suites that are adjacent to the Javits Center that have been the setting for so many years. We had an amazing water-front backdrop view on what couldn't have been a gorgeous day. As always there was an exceptional group sharing the latest trends, trials and tribulations, and research surrounding the educational tech world.
- Kick-Off Keynote:
The World’s First Wearable-for-Good by Rajesh Anandan the SVP of UNICEF Ventures kicked off the conference describing the first Wearable-For-Good "fit-bit like" band that has been designed to tackle two profound issues plaguing the world today. Child obesity and malnutrition, the program gives kids a purpose and helps motivate our sedentary youth to get moving and help control obesity with a purpose. The agenda is a win-win scenario to engage kids to curb their own weight issues with a mission to help the thousands of children suffering from malnutrition. The notion of empowering kids to take action with an end goal always proves to be a winning combination. Kid Power Schools have seen students being 44% percent more active with the activity tracker also getting the added benefit of being exposed to philanthropy at an early age. Did you know that the UNICEF Kid Power Band is the selling biggest wearable in Target! So far - 5000000 million food packets earned have saved 30,00 kids.....Every time my band vibrates I feel like a Super Power!
- Cognitive Computing Big Tech: The Intersection of Cognitive Computing & Play presented by Phaedra Boinodiris of IBM, emphasized that Play is Education and discussed how artificial intelligence is able to find patterns and has the ability to curate them to not only personalize play but to redefine play. Watch teacher David Conor from Connally High School inspire at-risk high school students to design game-based learning tools to solve big problems with their love for gaming. Once again, giving kids a purpose to succeed.
- Research and What to do With It... was an enlightening presentation from Terence Burke, the SVP of Research & Trend Tracker as well as Editor-in-Chief, of KidsSay is utilizing research to track kid trends and explain what to do with it to meet specific organizational goals. Terence described the nuances of Snapchat for the 8 - 11-year-olds and the power of daily social media. Kids want to be collaborators, not just the customers. 77% of 5 and under have own device!
- Blazing Trail: New Toy Category by Matt MacBeth, shared how pi lab co-founders and co-creators of Edwin the Duck have grown and what was needed to be a monetary success including product development, testing, procurement, inventory control and creative problem-solving.
- A Brand's Journey the story behind GoldieBlox was given by Kenny Davis their CMO, this brand of games for girls had its origins in STEM and was founded by Debbie Sterling. It has evolved from a start-up toy company to a children’s multimedia brand in what seems record speed.
- What Does it Mean for Personable Identifiable Information & COPPA a panel moderated by the notorious Robin Raskin included Youngna Park, Caitlin Gutekunst, Krissa Watry, and Catherine Teitelbaum who had a candid conversation about the history and purpose of COPPA, the impact of COPPA has on the industry, and possible solutions for meeting governing mandates. This panel and brought awareness to the outdated and unrealistic laws and had suggestions for best practices for kids' publishers and brands in order to monetize.
- Toys and Tech: Global Trends Report from the Floor was presented by Reyne Rice International Toy Trade Magazine Association. Reyne gave q quick overview of the latest and greatest in educational tech toys and what to expect down the pike.
- Virtual Reality Panel: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly was a panel of three with Dan White - CEO, Filament Games, Shuli Gilutz - Kids Tech Researcher & Consultant for Google Developers UX expert, and Dan Ferguson -EVP Digital Interactive Strategy, of Groove Jones, gave an overview of what developers need to know when they're building VR for kids - from concerns to roadblocks.
- Augmented Reality: Lifting it Off the Screen was a frank talk given by Aino Greis -Marketing Manager Global Consumer Products of Rovio Entertainment from Finland. She described how the integration of video and licensing play a major role in marketing digital products.
- Education Panel 2.0 moderated by Warren Bucklietner, Ph.D. Editor, Children's Technology Review was comprised of industry leaders and their insights as to where tech is headed in the educational space.
- LEGO Keynote delivered by Rob Lowe, Senior Director, The LEGO Group gave a rapid-fire description of the LEGO experience in the digital sector gave an entertaining overview of the infamous brand and their foray into digital development for children.
The Grand Finale consisted of cocktails, networking, and fine food, it was sponsored by Edwin the Duck and their band the Wingmen played great tunes. What a GREAT send-off, everyone loved the new venue and found the day to be an oasis of inspiring information!
SAVE the DATE: Digital Kids Summit September 2017 ~ new location Austin, Texas!