22) thank you philadelphia « Tidepool News

Four full days of wandering the cavernous halls of the Philly Convention Center, I’m mentally numb and exhausted, yet thankful and amazed at the reception Tidepool has gotten from the many I’ve spoken with here at ISTE 2015.  Working alone for so long, I’d all but forgotten the reason for it, but after a few hundred short conversations (and a couple very long ones), I’m entirely convinced of Tidepool’s merits.

Again and again, I’d start a conversation with someone nearby, ask where they were from and what they did, get to talking ed-tech, then do my quick Tidepool pitch:

“I’m making a programmable game world for kids (show the card).  The inaccurate but easy way to describe it is “Minecraft meets Scratch.”  It’s not like Minecraft because it’s a single multiplayer world, an MMO, that’s entirely hand-drawn.  All content is made by players.  They can change anything they see.  It’s not like Scratch because the programming model  is more flexible, more robust.  No top-heavy tiles that box you in.  We’re using a conversational approach where players literally chat with the agents they’re coding, using AI tech to make syntax and vocabulary more forgiving.”

Usually this led to the particulars they were most interested in, which then led to a larger conversation about the conference, ed-tech, or more personal topics such as family.  As the conference wore on, I spent less time talking ed-tech and more time talking about personal things.  Hearing yourself say the same thing over and over is its own kind of hell.  I began to crave connection more than bullet-point delivery.

Aside from my Tidepool talks, the conference itself was incredible.  More than 20,000 people who like what I like, with a huge expo hall filled with robotics, 3D printing, desktop VR, and much more.  The presentations and group talks filled my sails for a good time to come.

Now to drive home and sleep through the long-weekend.  I’m tired many times beyond what I thought possible, but eager to pick up my tools again and finish the next version, so my new friends can try Tidepool and help me build a new world.

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