Seema Patel, CEO of Interbots, and Patrick Mittereder, CEO of Electric Owl Studios, joined K+C Network members this afternoon for a lunch full of learning. Held at The Children’s Home & Lemieux Family Center, the lunch & learn focused on the market research attained at the Sandbox Summit earlier this year.

The Sandbox Summit is an annual conference that focuses on an aspect of children and play. The 2012 conference was geared towards mobile play- having the ability to play anywhere and everywhere at anytime. Seema and Patrick traveled to MIT to attend the summit on a stipend awarded by the Spark program, through The Sprout Fund. While there, they concentrated on information that was applicable to the Greater Pittsburgh region and could be used in their own business practices.

They took notice of the diversity of participants of the conference. While most conferences follow a very specific line of audience members, this year’s Sandbox Summit was fairly evenly dispersed between publishers, developers, educators, and researchers. This variety of audience members allowed for a spectrum of opinions and theory, and produced wholesome conclusions.

Seema and Patrick both stem from a developer background, and so there were significantly interested in the market research presented at the Sandbox Summit. They revealed the three key characteristics of applications that appeal to children. Children apps must be interactive, animated, and simple. E-books follow these same basic guidelines for success. While it is vital that content must spread to digital platforms, changing the platform is not nearly enough.

It must mean more than turning a digital page on a digital book. It must be interactive. It must be an experience.

 

They also took the time to discuss details about Generation Y and Generation Z. Gen Y, those who are currently 18-32, are consumed with digital media, obsessed with their social worlds, and seek transparency in the marketplace. Gen Z, on the other hand, consists of those currently younger than 18 years of age. They are focused on take the digital lead by having hand-me-ups, exercising use over ownership, and valuing the power in technology. While both generations differ greatly, they share the same vested interest in technology and the digital world. Developers and marketers are able to connect these two generations through their shared passion for digital life. They seek technology and expect content to be everywhere and anywhere at any point. They want to find, literally, technology at their fingertips- through computers, smart phones, tablets, including all iDevices.

A significant idea brought forth during the lunch & learn is that of age appropriate electronic devices. While the Nitendo DS is ranked as the most common electronic device owned by youth, the iPad is said to be the most commonly used- although a whirlwind of difference divides the two. Who is to say what type of device is appropriate for what age level? If children are progressing so quickly that we cannot keep them to a standard of age appropriateness, should there be age limits at all? Children may not be able to use an electronic device to its maximum potential, but they do know the basics of how to use them. Some children are even teaching their parents how to use devices, reversing roles.

Seema and Patrick chose several videos to direct audience members towards. These videos are all from the Sandbox Summit. Those unable to attend the conference earlier this year are able to go online and view certain sessions. Significant videos include Rick Richter of Ruckus Media & Play Science and Jane Gould of SVP Consumer Insights, Nickelodeon. To view the remaining taped sessions, check out the 2012 Sandbox Summit’s video archive.

To hear more news on game developers collaborating with educators, learn more about upcoming annual conferences, or to find the next Spark Lunch & Learn, visit the Events & Opportunities page on Spark’s site!