Dust or Magic

Every year I attend several edtech and math education conferences. Most of the time, I attend in order to share Woot Math with teachers, but sometimes I attend simply to grow and learn.
Dust or Magic Logo

“An idea can become dust or magic
depending upon the talent that rubs against it.”
– Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉)

Last week I got back from Dust or Magic’s Fall Institute, one of my favorite “grow and learn” events of the year. It has been awhile since I attended, but I won’t make that mistake again. After writing up my notes for Woot Math’s team, I realized that some of what I captured might be interesting to the broader Woot Math community.

To begin, we were encouraged to keep a quote journal over the 2 days to capture favorite quotes to share with the whole group. I love this idea and plan to try to keep it up now that I’m back home in Boulder. Here is a screenshot of my new journal with some of my quotes…

Krista's Quote Journal

There were several terrific speakers, but here are two in particular that I keep thinking about.

Jesse Schell
VR and AR: What’s Now, What’s Next?

Jesse is the CEO Schell Games and a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Jesse Schell

Luckily, I found essentially the same keynote address, here. It is fascinating look at the future of VR and AR, and I highly recommend watching the whole thing. Here are some of my takeaways:

  • New technologies always start with limited adoption followed by an exponential rise, as illustrated here:
Technology Adoption Rates Chart

“You only own the technologies you grew up in.”
– Jesse Schell

  • Jesse predicts that the “knee in the curve” for VR is coming and coming soon.
  • As the price continues to drop, VR will be affordable for its key market,
    people under 25.
  • VR will become social, and social is what always drives exponential growth.

“VR is the most powerful of all digital social experiences.”
– Jesse Schell

  • Where do we need AR? An ideal use of augmented reality is AR games in a self-driving car that happen outside the car. Bonus, you can play them without getting motion sick – unlike reading.
  • Jesse poses that the killer VR and AR applications are for children (and illustrates it with a hilarious story that you will see if you watch the video.) VR is an augmentation of your imagination. Not surprising that children LOVE it SO MUCH!

“We as designers are designing the eyes of the next generation. I urge you to make sure we make the best damn eyes the world has ever known.”
– Jesse Schell

Jim Marggraff
"What have we learned this year, and what can we expect for 2019?"

Jim is an inventor and an entrepreneur. You may or may not know his name, but you probably know his inventions like the LeapPad Learning System and Livescribe smartpen.

Jim Marggraff

Most recently, Jim founded Eyefluence, the first eye-interaction technology for AR and VR devices which can transform your intent through the action of your eyes. It was bought by Google in 2016. In 2018, Jim got the entrepreneurial bug again, and left Google to explore technology that offers the potential to make the world a better place. He shared his journey to do just that in a keynote at Dust or Magic, and some of what he covered you can watch here.

Jim believe that VR offers the potential to rally people around social justice issues. In 2017, Jim demonstrated this by raising money in partnership with Google for the VR film “One Small Act”.

One Small Act

Through VR, the film shares the story of a little girl from both the point of view of the girl and her teddy bear. Through their journey, the film highlights the impact of Rotary’s End Polio Campaign. It was originally screened to a record breaking 3,000 people simultaneously.

VR Audience

Jim is currently writing a book, How to Raise a Founder with Heart, that is scheduled to be released early next year. I can’t wait. Jim believes,

“Violence is not a sustainable means of conflict resolution.”
– Jim Marggraff

I always leave Dust or Magic with a list of books that I want to read. Here is some of the titles that made the list this year:

  • The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell
  • How to Raise a Founder with Heart by Jim Marggraff (coming Spring 2019)
  • Understanding Kids, Play, and Interactive Design: How to Create Games Children Love Paperback by Mark Schlichting
  • iThrive’s Journal of Games, Self, and Society edited by Susan Rivers
  • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Last, I leave you with a recommendation that is sure to make you smile. It is from a charming presentation by Vikas Gupta, the CEO of Wonder Workshop.

Wonder Workshop

Vikas began by sharing this hilarious video about teaching dogs to code. Wonder Workshop is serious about it, and they believe you should be too. Enjoy.

Teaching Dogs to Code Video

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