Play and Learning with Technology, Realities of the Marketplace

Ann McCormick, CAPS Mira Studio

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 24, 1996


What makes software fun? What makes powerful learning? How much "edge" do parents want in kid's software? Ann McCormick will discuss her perspective as a children's software designer with marketing responsibilities. She will show a concept demo of a multimedia reading program for urban illiterate teens and describe changes that came about in preparing it for market.


Ann McCormick designs learning software at CAPS Mira Studio and serves as Executive Vice President of the company. She has worked with the Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA for many years seeking ways of transforming education using technology. At Nueva, children routinely create multimedia projects, surf the net and carry on real world projects. Before joining Nueva, Ann helped Jaron Lanier launch a virtual reality company in 1985.

In 1979 Ann founded The Learning Company, pioneering development of a new kind of playful learning software. Her team won national awards for sixteen products, including Reader Rabbit and Rocky's Boots. With a doctorate from Berkeley, Ann conducted research in poverty area schools throughout the United States and published a monograph on Black Dialect and Reading. She began her career teaching fifth grade in East Buffalo, NY, which inspired her technology interests.


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