Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Unplugging - Tweens, Teens, & Adults

A columnist recently posed this challenge: How to unplug your kids to give them a break from technology. Looking for tips, tricks, strategies, philosophies, etc. Here is my response:

I must first state that I'm not a parent, but I have taught high school and middle school. My current work focuses on providing tweens and teens (and the educators that serve them) with healthy hands-on learning experiences and promote whole-person wellness. 

That said, I would like to share a quick personal story. A few years ago, my husband (and business partner) and I were hosting my niece's 13 year old birthday party at our house. Being the big kid that he is, my husband broke out the tools that we use in our workshops - skill toys such as spinning plates, flower sticks, and other juggling like objects that are "powered" by physical skill and practice. The toys were a huge hit and it wasn't until about 45 minutes later that the first phone came out. And it was to take a picture of one of the girls with a couple of plates spinning . It was that night that we came up with the line - "Hands-on and thumbs free!"

From our teaching experience, research, and many anecdotal stories such as this, I have the following suggestions for parents of tweens and teens:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Upcoming Book Events

Great Book Caper Reading Festival - Rowan Public Library 
Saturday April 12, 2014 - Salisbury, NC
Join Dawn and many other authors as they celebrate reading. The event is sponsored by the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Media Services and Rowan Public Library as part of a larger reading initiative. There will be storytellers, entertainment, and of course lots of books!

YA FEST - Easton Public Library
Saturday April 19, 2014 - Easton, PA
Dawn's excited to participate in this festival celebrating YA authors and their books. The mission of the event is to give middle grade and teen readers a chance to talk to authors about books, writing, and publishing.

Why Juggling?

The crowdfunding campaign video presented quite the challenge. How do you condense information about the project, the people, and the plan all in less than three minutes while keeping people interested enough to watch the whole thing? The first version we created came in at about six and a half minutes!

We ended up making several different versions. The video below got cut from the final version, but I wanted to share it because it explains why I see juggling as such a valuable teaching tool. 

To see the current version of our campaign video (that didn't get cut), visit

Monday, April 7, 2014

Crowdfunding Kick-Off: Can I Get a Re-Do?

During the month of April, my partner and I are conducting a crowdfunding campaign to fund a new app that will help individuals and teams learn to juggle and other physical skills, log and reflect on practice, and share successes. We went to a number of workshops about crowdfunding and felt prepared. This was the first of many miscalculations. 

To kick-off the effort, we hosted a wine and cheese event at our house that had the theme of celebrating the past, present, and future of skill based play. We had a museum of vintage skill toys, an area for people to play with modern versions of the toys, and a demo of our new app that will use technology to engage people with real world objects. We invited friends, family, community business leaders, and artists that we hoped would be potential donors as well as advocates on our behalf. And the response to the invitation was overwhelmingly positive.

All sounds good so far, right? Well, here's where the other miscalculations come into play. The beta version of the app had some delays and my partner was literally working up to the last minute communicating with programmers to get the finishing touches added. I, on the other hand, was focused on getting all of the party planning details in place. Miscalculation #1 – not spending enough energy planning the actual presentation about the app to the sixty plus people that came. We just figured it would be enough to show the campaign video and see if there were questions. Miscalculation #2 – we assumed that the video was engaging and explained the details of the project. Miscalculation #3 - addressing the audience as a group of family and friends that would be excited to support us and not as a critical group of potential buyers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Crowdfunding: Marketing Brand, Validating Ideas, and Raising Capital

During the month of April, Dawn Daria and her partner Paul Miller are embarking on a new endeavor - launching a crowdfunding campaign. Although raising capital serves as one of the motivations, they are also looking to use the platform to market a new product and to validate an idea.