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★★★ Open House ★★★
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CTR Weekly 11/28/2018
Children's Media -- Istanbul style; plus reviews of ARcheology - Dig Up History; Sing & Play: Wheels on the Bus; Wiggles, The: Fun Time With Faces
"Coding is the only language you can use to communicate with seven billion people." Tim Cook, Apple (from a presentation by Ferdinand Habsburgs during TRT's Children's Media Conference.

This week finds me in Istanbul, Turkey at a very large (500+ person) conference on children and media.

I'm participating on a panel tomorrow that digs a bit deeper into Dust or Magic themes -- how child development can help interactive media designers. There seems to be a concerted effort to keep the agenda less focussed on fear driven issues, and more interest on a balanced discussion in search of solutions; which is why I suspect the conference organizers invited me.

Follow the twitter feed at

ARcheology - Dig Up History
Uprooted Software, , ($1.99 on iPad, iPhone, for ages 7-12.
Point your camera to a flat area of the room, and start tapping on the screen to "dig" up a fossil, using AR (augmented reality). The basic idea of this app is solid -- it's fun to see what you'll find. But there's not much content, and the interface has a few snags. For example once you're in a "dig" you can't escape until you've examined each of the hot spots. While the replicas of the fossils are scientifically accurate, the other illustrations are limited.
Video Link:

Sing & Play: Wheels on the Bus
Edoki Academy, , ($free with IAP on iPad, iPhone, for ages 3-6.
By tapping on the screen, you can move through an animated version of "Wheels on the Bus." You can tap to wipe mud from the window, or honk the horn to get some chickens from the middle of the road. The lyrics are illustrated using simple graphics, but are not very responsive to the child's touch (hence the lower rating).
The good news is that there are 20 levels (the first two are free) that use the song to illustrate traffic signs, stop to pick-up children or to let people/animals cross the street and make sure everyone gets to school on time. The paid version of he app includes Crazy Bus -- drive on curvy roads and stop to pick-up passengers. If you complete all the levels, you can earn a Edoki Academy driver's license. The free version includes three levels of the driving simulation game. Available in four languages.

Wiggles, The: Fun Time With Faces
Weyo Ltd., , (Sample $20/year, for ages 3-9.
Are you one of the lucky few with an iPhone that has face scanning features? (iPhone X). If so, check out The Wiggles: Fun Time with Faces -- but be careful if you start the free trial. Note that you have to cancel within a week, or else you are charged ($1.99/month or $19.99/year).
Like the show, the music is good and the dances get children moving. If you like the show, you'll like the app.
Powered by ARKit, the app mixes your camera's view into one of the Wriggles songs, allowing you to put the content into a story, narrated by Yellow Wiggle Emma. The videos can be saved or shared.
The free version comes with one sample song; the subscription gives you all the content. Made by Australian-based Weyo.
Video Link:

Save the date for Dust or Magic Bologna, March 31, 2019, Bologna Children's Book Fair!