2011 Sandbox Summit at MIT Asks: 'Do Kids Really Need More Tech Time?'

Karen Cator, Obama's Dir. of Office of Educational Technology, Leads Lineup of Tech, Media and Academic Heavy Hitters

Mar 09, 2011, 09:00 ET from Sandbox Summit

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As President Obama calls on the nation to "out-educate" and "out-innovate" to regain a competitive advantage in a global economy, the 2011 Sandbox Summit will bring together experts in the areas of children's learning, media, and toy and game development to explore how 21st century kids can use technology to become creative thinkers and innovative leaders. Taking place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the country's most respected academic institutions, the second-annual two-day conference will specifically address the question, "Do Kids Really Need More Tech Time?"

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Keynote speaker Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, will set the tone of the Summit with her presentation, "Learning 3.0: Why Technology Belongs in Every Backpack," sharing details from The National Education Technology Plan that articulates a vision for a 21st Century model of learning.

"Technology can power up the learning environment and improve the opportunity for students to achieve," said Cator. "And, it allows teachers to create more engaging, compelling personalized learning experiences."

While some may be skeptical of the amount of time kids spend online and using tech toys, many others believe developmental benchmarks for children ought to be reassessed with a 21st century mindset that embraces technology.

"We want our children to succeed in an age of blindingly fast technological change, yet we ask schools to prepare them the same ways we did in the 1980's, 1950's and even the 1920's.  Schools must begin to look more like the technological landscapes in which we all work and live," said Scot Osterweil, Creative Director, MIT Education Arcade.

Conference Highlights

Leading developers of media for children will come together for riveting panel discussions to further foster dialogue about technology, play, and how kids learn. Highlights include a panel aptly titled "Technology: Do Kids Need More or Less?" moderated by Alan Gershenfeld, Founder and President of E-Line Media, and featuring Sara DeWitt, Vice President of PBS KIDS Interactive; Rachel Schiff, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Interactive Entertainment; and Wendy Bronfin, Director, Product Management at Barnes & Noble. Two partners from the global innovation and design firm IDEO will reveal their "Creative Failures: Learning from our Greatest Mistakes."

The Sandbox Summit interactive workshops will once again be a highlight of the conference. Vanessa Van Petten, youthologist and author, will demonstrate how different the approach to lessons being taught in schools today are from the ones we had 20 years ago by simulating a class on Galileo and the solar system. What would Galileo's Twitter handle be? Or what would each planet's wiki page say?  "Brain Pilates: Strengthen Your Core Thinking Muscles" led by ThinkFun CEO Bill Ritchie will engage teams in digital puzzle solving. Massiverse Founder Jesse Soleil will help players bring a transmedia property to life.

Sponsors

The 2011 Sandbox Summit is presented by the MIT Education Arcade and sponsored by Toy Industry Association, Inc., (TIA), and Parents' Choice Foundation.

Registration is currently open at SandboxSummit.org.

About Sandbox Summit®

Sandbox Summit is a series of conferences designed to address how technology is changing the ways kids play, learn, and connect.  Founded by Claire Green and Wendy Smolen, the goal of Sandbox Summit is to ensure that the next generation of players becomes active innovators rather than passive consumers of technology. Through high-energy panels, innovative demonstrations, original research, and thought-provoking discussions with industry leaders, analysts, journalists, educators and parents, each Summit strategically intermingles disciplines and viewpoints to bring fresh ideas to every event and never talk to a room full of nodding heads.

About MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a co-educational privately endowed research university, is dedicated to advancing knowledge and educating students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship to serve the nation and world. The Institution has more than 900 faculty and 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. MIT's commitment to innovation has led to a host of scientific breakthroughs and technological advances. Achievements include the first chemical synthesis of penicillin and vitamin A, the development of inertial guidance systems, modern technologies for artificial limbs, and the magnetic core memory that led to the development of digital computers.

The Education Arcade explores games that promote learning through authentic and engaging play. The Arcade's research and development projects focus both on the learning that naturally occurs in popular commercial games, and on the design of games that more vigorously address the educational needs of players. TEA is a joint project of MIT's Comparative Media Studies Program, and the Scheller Teacher Education Program.

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http://www.SandboxSummit.org