Posts Tagged ‘ Sandbox Summit ’

Cool Product Alert: Double Fine Happy Action Theater

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Earlier this week, I promised some posts on new and exciting products I discovered at the Sandbox Summit at MIT.  It turns out, the one that grabbed my attention  most is actually more “exciting” than “new.”  It’s the Double Fine Happy Action Theater game for the Xbox 360 game console, and it was released in February of this year.

Click here to see a video trailer for the game, which allows multiple players to transform their living rooms into balloon clouds, fiery lava fields, or bubbly seascapes.  It’s not educational in any traditional sense of the word.  It’s just plain fun for the whole family.

At the Sandbox Summit, Microsoft’s educational design director, Alex Games (pronounced GAH-mes), presented the trailer as an example of what can happen when learning is approached through the lens of play. The game is an example of how parents can “co-view” a piece of technology with their children, interacting on every level, and developing skills from physical fitness to quick decision-making.

According to Games, the co-viewing aspect, combined with the fact that the game takes place in a family’s living room, as opposed to in an invented, remote video game world, make it just the type of thing families should look for when choosing how to spend their leisure time…if they want to spend more than just a few minutes together as a family.

“We’ve moved toward really fast-paced, bite sized experiences, very similar to what is happening in social media,” Games said. But when it comes to learning, “there are certain things that it takes time and patience to develop.”

Image via

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New Research Shows Low Parental Guilt Around Tech Devices

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Only two percent of parents report feeling severe guilt for allowing their children to use tablets and other mobile tech devices, according to a new study released today by the app development company Ruckus Media Group and the research company Play Science.

The findings, which were presented at the Sandbox Summit at MIT, are based on a national online survey of 300 parents of 4-8-year-old children.  All of the parents surveyed have computers in their homes, 78 percent have smartphones, and 65 percent have tablet devices.

The study found that 56 percent of parents feel “some guilt” for letting their children watch videos, play games, and read on mobile devices, though only a small number of parents feel significant guilt around the issue.  Further, the study found a relationship between parental guilt and how parents perceive the educational value of the applications they use.

According to the study, guilt-free parents are:

  • 200 percent more likely to believe that the apps they let their kids use are “educational”
  • 68 percent more likely to list educational value as the most important aspect of an application
  • 81 percent more likely to think it’s important to play games on mobile devices with their children
  • 22 percent more interested in getting feedback on what their child is learning from applications

Image: Girl using a tablet, via Shutterstock.

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Kids’ Media CEO: Are Parents Too Concerned with Privacy?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

A “kid-driven future of play and learning” is the call Rex Ishibashi, CEO of Callaway Digital Arts made this morning at The Sandbox Summit at MIT.  Callaway makes mobile storybook apps featuring Sesame Street, Thomas the Tank Engine, and other beloved children’s characters.

Ishibashi’s observation from within the kid’s media industry is that regulations and privacy concerns, while important, are crowding out innovations that could help children learn more using technology.

“If we can’t help kids, perhaps we can provide them with safe tools where they can help themselves,” Ishibashi told the audience of educators, software developers, and entrepreneurs.

His proposal is that companies should prioritize ways to provide “safe social” for kids, allowing children under age 13 to participate in the flow of innovation and creativity available on the Internet and through social media, without violating their basic privacy.  Parents, he argued, have become so concerned with protecting kids’ privacy that they have built a “mile-high cyclone fence” around their children, cutting them off from their full potential to engage with technology, feel involved in its future, and generate content for it.

If done right, Ishibashi argued, technology can serve both the 21st century kids who crave companionship, entertainment, and engagement, and the “digital parents” who want to give their children trustworthy, developmentally appropriate tools for learning.

Image: Computer privacy, via Shutterstock.


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Special Report: PNN at the Sandbox Summit

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Over the next few days, you’ll notice some different types of posts here at PNN.  Your intrepid blogger will be attending the Sandbox Summit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to hear what psychologists, educators, and entrepreneurs have to say about this question:  What is the relationship between technology and play?

The Summit’s website describes its mission: “Play is how kids learn. Technology is an enticement.  By creating a forum for conversation around play and technology, Sandbox Summit strives to ensure that the next generation of players becomes active innovators, rather than passive users, of technology.”

Stay tuned for what I anticipate will be fascinating insights, research, and ideas from the experts at the Summit, as well as some tidbits and sneak peaks of the newest, coolest techno toys around.

Ready to play?  I sure am!

Image: Play button, via Shutterstock.

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