One of the cool things about going to Content in Context (CIC) for several years is seeing how educational publishing changes over time—with new challenges, trends, tools, and best practices. Technology is a big factor, impacting everything from content development to assessment. Publishers are facing issues related to Open Educational Resources (OER), data interoperability, and more. And, of course, there are several trends that are important to FableVision, such as the increasing use of games, growing interest in AR and VR, tracking and reporting of learning data from interactives and games, and integrating media into student-centered resources.

FableVision founder Peter H. Reynolds accepts the 2013 Visionary Award, part of AAP's Lamplighter Honors.

If you don’t know about CIC, it’s the annual conference of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) PreK-12 Learning Group. This year, I’m honored to be on the planning committee, working with a group of top professionals in the educational publishing field. The planning committee is working to make the conference a lively, valuable place to learn about edtech, product development, pedagogy, policy, and sales and marketing. And, of course, it’s a great place to network.

CIC includes pre-conference forums, the two-day conference, and a ceremony for the Golden Lamp Awards and the Lamplighter Honors. FableVision is thrilled that this year, as in several recent years, a product we developed is a finalist for a Golden Lamp Award. This year it’s the Good Thinking! free, animated professional development series, which we developed for the Smithsonian Science Education Center. The series supports K–12 science educators through targeted short-format videos that explore common student ideas and misconceptions about a range of science topics, such as energy, chemical reactions, and natural selection, as well as pedagogical subjects like student motivation and the myth of left- and right-brained people.

As part of the conference planning committee, I’ll be drawing from my experience in planning and developing educational media to moderate three sessions in different parts of the conference.

The first session I’ll present is Using Sales & Marketing Insights to Inform Technology Product Development. This conversation between Matt Keller, Chief Marketing Officer at Capstone, and me is part of the Content Forum. In working with FableVision clients, I’ve found that they don’t always understand the needs of administrators, teachers, and students in regard to technology products. Matt and I will explore these constituencies, and we’ll use case studies to identify ways in which developers can ensure their products meet the varying needs.

I’m most deeply involved in the EdTech Forum. After a series of presentations about the key technologies that support student-centered education, I will moderate a group discussion in which all of the panelists and attendees will generate 4–6 use-case scenarios. I’ll prompt and help shape the discussion with topics like variables like computer availability, the role of technology within the instructional design, needs for tracking and reporting, the mix of media to be used, and the degree to which the curriculum is student-driven vs. managed by the educator.

As the session progresses into the afternoon, participants will break out into groups and examine each use case in terms of the key technologies that were presented in the morning. The conference planners hope to turn the results of this entire forum into white papers for the industry.

The last session I’ll moderate is part of the conference itself. This session is called How to Make a Winning Play with Games. I’ve been fortunate to get several exceptional people to join my panel:

  • Steve Isaacs, a middle-school teacher in New Jersey, teaches a course in Game Design and Development. Steve is also one of the founding members of Games4Ed, an organization dedicated to increasing the use of games in the classroom. I recently joined the Board of Directors of Games4Ed.
  • Ryan Schaaf is a professor in the Technology for Educators Program at Johns Hopkins University. Ryan has written four books on educational gaming, and has a deep understanding of research into games.
  • Suzi Wilczynski, CEO of Dig-IT! Games, is one of the nation’s leading experts in game-based learning. Dig-IT! Games produces fun, engaging, research-based cross-curricular games, and FableVision has had the good fortune of developing their games Mayan Mysteries, which has won numerous awards, including a Parents’ Choice Award, and Can U Dig It!, a fun puzzle-based app.

During this session, we’re going to answer questions such as, What’s the difference between game-based learning and gamification? What are games good for? How can you make the best use of gaming’s strengths, and design games that are engaging and effective? How can you gather useful data from game play? And What can we expect in educational games in the next few years?

This year’s CIC conference promises to offer practical value and usable information to participants, along with an opportunity to exchange ideas with professionals across the educational publishing industry. Hope to see you there—find me and say hello!


About Shelby

Shelby Marshall is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Product Solutions. Shelby works with clients and partners to explore potential partnership opportunities and to map out the strategy and “ecosystem” for complex projects. He has a bachelor's in Biology from Cornell University, an MAT-Museum Education from George Washington University, and more than 35 years of experience designing and producing educational materials and experiences — including countless software products, websites, animated films, and books. Shelby is a Director of Games4Ed, an active member of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and a member of the Museum Computer Network (MCN). Learn more about Shelby