Sandbox Summit Explores Digital Kids, Parents, and Play
April 23, 2012 | Educators and scholars, toy and
game designers, developers, child psychologists, digital media
producers, analysts and innovators of all kinds converged at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) last week for
the 2012 Sandbox Summit, Going Mobile, Going Global:
Tracking the Anywhere/Everywhere State of Play.
Held from April 17-18 and presented by the MIT Education Arcade and
Comparative Media Studies, the 2012 Sandbox Summit explored the mobile
revolution and its impact on the “tools” and
“rules” of play from a wide range of disciplines and
The conference featured speaker presentations and hands-on workshops
that explored the developmental and socio-emotional significance of
play; the prevalence of mobile technology in the lives of children
beginning at a very young age; challenges faced by “digital”
parents; and the opportunities and obstacles faced by digital content
providers and businesses. [The full list of speakers and workshop leaders can be
A dominant theme threaded throughout the dynamic discussions was the
importance of creating digital content that encourages children to
express themselves and to give their own input as they play.
“We need to be creating experiences, not products,” said
Alex Games, Ph.D., Education Design Director at Microsoft.
“Technology alone isn’t a magic bullet,” added
Carla Seal-Wanner, Director of Education and Curriculum, FlickerLab.
“There is a need for integrated content. Kids want to have a
personal relationship with media and make it their own … they have
come to expect that now.”
Russell Hampton, President of Disney Publishing Worldwide, spoke of
the significance of offering children a dynamic content world.
“Digital content must be interactive and customizable …
requiring companies to edit and update their content on a continual
basis in order to drive sales.”
Sandbox Summit was launched in January 2008 by Claire Green and Wendy
Smolen to address how technology affects the ways kid play, learn, and
connect. The Toy Industry Association (TIA) was proud to sponsor
the 2012 Sandbox Summit.