Children's Media Conference 2016

The Children’s Media Conference is an event that we always look forward to, so this year we decided to step things up a notch and get involved in the conference, by guest blogging for the CMC.

The Children’s Media Conference is the must-attend UK event for anyone involved in developing, producing and distributing content to children. This includes educational content, something that’s particularly close to our hearts at Can Studios.

The Children’s Media Conference always impresses with its speakers, but this year’s line-up read like a who’s-who of the children’s media industry. Speakers from many household names including the BBC, Disney, Microsoft, YouTube, DreamWorks and LEGO delivered over 60 sessions, plus workshops and keynotes, to more than 1,100 delegates. Plus, this year the conference handouts came in a Powerpuff Girls tote bag!

Education is always a big topic at CMC, and over the three days I got the chance to attend lots of sessions that explored all the different ways technology is changing the face of children’s education.

In case you missed the headlines, virtual reality (VR) is big news, with many people claiming that VR has the potential to revolutionise the way we see education. It was no surprise then, that CMC had a session dedicated entirely to VR and augmented reality (AR). In VR 101: Making Virtual a Reality, the expert panel gave attendees a unique insight into some exciting VR projects they’re currently working on.

Ed Barton from Curiscope even brought along a fantastic example of how we can use AR to get children more engaged in science: a t-shirt that, when viewed through the companion app, reveals the wearer’s anatomy.

Another session that focused on educational technology was Innovation in Education, where another panel of experts shared examples of how they’re using technology to make the curriculum more engaging. One of these projects was the episodic show ‘Professor S,’ where the time-travelling main character sets children tasks they need to complete, in order to help him get back home – conveniently, all these tasks just-so-happen to tie into the school curriculum!

We’ve been hearing lots about Minecraft this year, especially with the recent release of MinecraftEdu, so it was no surprise that Minecraft got its own session at CMC. During Minecraft University, we saw lots of examples of how Minecraft is being used to educate – from teaching SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural development), to giving children the opportunity to explore imaginary worlds inspired by famous works of art, and even experiencing the impact of natural disasters in a safe environment.

Minecraft also cropped up in Too Cool for School, alongside other examples of content that was originally created to entertain, but has since found its way into the classroom. In particular, the speakers focused on how TV and movie clips have the potential to educate, with Science Education Consultant Sai Pathmanathan pointing out that: “A lot of children get their complex knowledge from TV and feature films, for example learning about marine biology by watching Finding Nemo.”

Although education is always going to be our main focus at Can Studios, I also got the chance to blog a few other sessions that explored different parts of the world of children’s media (Bible Class 2: The New Testament; The Creative Edge, and Sound Advice). You’ll also find write-ups of lots of other sessions at the CMC blog, so I’d definitely recommend checking them out!

Since we specialise in creating education content, including educational content for children, we’re really lucky to have an event like the Children’s Media Conference taking place a few minutes walk from our office. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference!