club « Tidepool News

Hi everyone,

As most of you (or your kids) know, I’m developing an educational game called Tidepool … kind of a non-violent, educational, hand-drawn variant of Minecraft.

I’d like to invite your child to be one of twelve original members of the Kismet Club, a group of Tidepool users that will someday get much larger.

I’ve chosen the twelve to fit these criteria:

1) even mix of boys and girls
2) half in the Lehigh Valley, half in Bucks County
3) going into 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade
4) likes video games or tablets

No money or time is required of you or your child, though we do hope you’ll play Tidepool at home and attend some Tidepool playdates this summer.

You’ll be joining an existing group of 74 families who have been following the Tidepool project all year.  To catch up on what you missed, visit:

I’m not expecting you to read all of those old emails, just letting you know they’re there if you’re curious.

You can also read some chapters of a book I’m writing about the project:

I’ll be sending you each a secret codename that will allow you to download Tidepool soon.   It also grants you five Tidepool accounts with lifetime unlimited crystals, which someday could be quite the bonus.  Only 84 families will ever get these.

We’ll be releasing the first Tidepool alpha version in a day or two, so watch your email.


p.s. the 12 kids are Abby (4th), Annabella (3rd), Armaan (2nd), Brady (4th), Christian (3rd), Dana (3rd), Isabel (3rd), Jackson (3rd), Kai (3rd), Lillie (2nd), Maisy (3rd), and Reece (3rd).

Hi everyone,

If you’re getting this, then your child knows my daughter Isabel, either from school or around town. As you’ve probably heard, I’ve been developing an educational computer game called Tidepool, which with any luck should be published by the end of the year.

Last summer, we organized the “Kismet Club”, a group of twelve children who would be the first players of Tidepool.  Today, I’ve doubled that number, adding another twelve children, most of whom are third graders from the Fox and Anthony classes at UFS.

In the next three months, the Kismet Club will meet six times at colleges around the Lehigh Valley.  Each 90-minute meeting will be both a kids brainstorming session and an ed-tech workshop.  We’ll teach your children using the techniques from our Waveplace classes in places like Haiti, Nicaragua, and Africa, though this time with Tidepool, the newest in a line of learning environments that includes Logo, Squeak Etoys, and Scratch.

Nothing is required from you except time and transportation.  It’s not necessary that your child make all six meetings, though the first is probably a good idea.  Your child should also have access to a computer at home (Windows, Mac, or Linux), so they can use Tidepool in their free time.   The kids will likely want to play together from home, as their schedules allow.

We’ll ask you to sign our standard waiver, which allows photography of the children and use of the materials created by them.  All works will be Creative Commons, so they’re essentially owned by the world, just like Wikipedia.

I completely understand if you don’t wish for your child to participate.  I’m actually hoping that some of you decline, so the class is smaller.  Please let me know if you’re interested or simply reply with “no thanks” (no reason needed) and I’ll take you off the list.  If you have questions, call me anytime at the number below.

To learn more about our Waveplace work (or to hear us featured on NPR’s All Things Considered), visit:

Here’s a video that shows what it’ll be like.   Here’s a good one on our work in Haiti.

Immediately following this will be a SignupGenius email.  If you’re interested, let me know what dates.  We have flexibility with the times, so if you want another time, indicate in the comment for that day.

Take care,

Hi everyone,

After five months of financial and technical limbo, I’m finally ready to move forward with Tidepool and the Kismet Club once again.

Please let your kids know how sorry I am to have started strong with promises of fun, then making them wait for months. I needed to make sure the schedule was solid enough to avoid another delay. Until today, that just wasn’t possible.

We’ll begin at Moravian College on Saturday, May 16th at 3pm, mere hours after Moravian’s commencement, a fitting time to start. Thereafter we’ll meet every other Saturday afternoon at alternating locations (Lehigh Valley schools).

Here’s the full schedule (all Saturdays at 3pm):

  • May 16th – learn to make sketches and stories; alpha 2 release!
  • May 30th – plan our public stories & neighborhoods
  • June 13th – learn to program our sketches
  • June 27th – finish our public stories; Kickstarter launch & alpha 3 release!
  • July 11th – start making third grade lessons for kids from other countries
  • July 25th – finish our lessons and share with other kids; possibly launch alpha 4

We’re timing things so your children will be the first to use each new version of TIdepool, and so they can watch us “push the button” that launches each to the world.  A big day will be June 27th when we launch the first public alpha just prior to travelling to ISTE, the world’s largest ed-tech conference, to show off Tidepool to educators.  We’re also launching our Kickstarter campaign during that class.

I know that scheduling is difficult, especially as the semester ends, so don’t feel you need to attend every class, or any at all.  We’ll be making Tidepool available to each of the 16 kids in the Kismet Club whether you can attend the classes or not.   Our hope is that your children will learn to program, create, and collaborate in Tidepool, and that their efforts will be the seeds that inspire many, many others around the world this summer.

As always, call anytime at <my number> if you have questions.

Take care,


Hi everyone,

It’s been two weeks since my Kismet Club invite.  With only four kids confirmed (and one of these just for Saturday), I’ve decided to cancel the in-person classes until there’s more interest.

I completely understand.  Spring is a busy time with many activities.

In a few days, you’ll all get an email to try out the new Tidepool release.  If you have time, please show the tutorial video to your child and help them download Tidepool.  We’ll be unveiling Tidepool to the world in a month or two, so their creations will be the first for many other children to see.

If there’s renewed interest after you kids have tried Tidepool at home, perhaps we’ll reschedule the classes.  Otherwise, I’ll reach out to a new group (probably homeschoolers) for July & August.

Take care, and have a great summer!


Hi everyone,

While we had hoped to launch Tidepool Alpha 2 today in-person with the kids, they can still be among the first to try it at home.

Instructions for downloading Tidepool and watching tutorial videos will follow shortly.

Each child in the Kismet club has their OWN account, so you DO NOT need to make an account for them. Their username is <hidden>.  Their password is: <hidden>

Encourage them to watch the videos and make sketches for the other kids to see.

One hundred people from around the world are being invited to try Tidepool today.  Your children were all given prime real estate, as you can see in the attached map of the Tidepool world.

Call me anytime with questions at <hidden>

Take care,


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