Sandbox Summit 2016 Recap

SSMIT16_ROI_onelineaddress-1Sandbox Summit 2016 was the best ever! Presented by Play Science at MIT, the theme was on the ROI of Play (Return on Investment). Every topic was fascinating and covered diverse topics such as the current research and trends in play experiences to how best to design and sustain viability in this ever-evolving market. The cumulative brainpower in the room was staggering and inspirational. The team at PlayScience – Wendy Smolen, Dr. J. Alison Bryant, Paul Levine, and Scot Osterweil orchestrated every detail with precision and welcomed interplay of both audience and presenters in the discussion. Here are some highlights and remarkable moments over the last few days, although if hard pressed, I'd have to go with ALL of it was remarkable! Kelli Campbell, Digital Learning Officer of Discovery Education, talked about the integration of media from gaming to VR into the present educational resources to make the most out of each opportunity for kids, schools, and communities.  The focus was on engagement and styles of learning so that all are included to grow and learn together. She described that there are four different learning styles; Auditory, Visual, Read and Write, and Kinesthetic and how best to tailor a curriculum to each learner. She also talked about how reinforcers built into learning helps turn the tide from just going to "school" into becoming a life-long learner. There were several panels of discussions that enlivened, inspired and advised. From listening, one learned about what has worked and what did not. Topics included design and innovation, how to keep your business sustainable, and what makes an early learning experience meaningful. Presentations by Lego Education and Highlights were spectacular and insightful. Both companies talked about being genuine to their core values and missions and how they are successfully navigating integrating play with digital experiences to keep their brands fresh and “release the potential” into every learner, no matter what the age. Michelle Lee from IDEO spoke about designing and developing interactive experiences for families via Apple TV. She described the 3 opportunities for this use of media:
  • That it facilitates Active Play and full body movement
  • Provides for the “Glorified – I did it!” moment which allows for a sense of accomplishment and acknowledgment
  • Opportunity for Shared Experiences and memorable family moments – This is especially huge in the special needs community as by providing these shared experiences helps kids to tune into their play partners and connect. It is one of the foundations of for future learning.
IDEO is one innovative company, and at least one or more of their apps are in every therapist and teacher toolboxes everywhere. My favorite parts of the conference were the 10-minute presentations of people out there with an idea and a mission of improving the lives of children. ScanJo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing on Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps have been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.    
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