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Our experts

It's hard to know whose opinion to trust, especially when it comes to our kids. So we’ve brought together a rich variety of experts from the worlds of education, gaming, child development, online safety, technology, family therapy and more to add professional knowledge and experience to the conversation.

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Laurens Derks

Education AU
For most of his career Laurens has worked in the public education sector in a number of Australian states. Since 2011 he has initiated training opportunities for secondary school teachers as they integrated technology into teaching and learning. His passion is to empower teachers to use innovative, 21st century technologies and practices so that Australian student may be competitive in our global society.

Bob Zenhausern

Education New York, US
I taught neuropsychology and research and analysis for 35 years. I developed a theory of dyslexia that has a simple etiology and an even more simple solution. I am now working to bring education into the 21st Century that flows directly from that research in dyslexia. I have developed a network of African NGOs called Peace Flame which has created the Archive of Social Good, a directory of organizatiions. It can be searched by country, population and mission. ESF is also providing online professional development to schools in emerging countries to prepare their students for the 21st Century.

Maria Sibireva

Child development Saint Petersburg, Russia
am a PhD in Sociology, senior lecturer at the North-West Institute of Management of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. I am the member of International Sociological Association (Research Commitee 53 "Sociology of Childhood") and I am also the member of European Sociological Association (Research Network 4 "Sociology of Children and Childhood"). I conduct sociological researches with children who are 4-7 years old and I try to do everything to make adults hear the "voice of children". I use special methods (quantitative and qualitative) and now I have more than 300 small respondents.

Alexander Ryu

Software/app development US
I'm a medical student and educational app developer. As a 3rd year medical student at Harvard, I co-founded LifeGuard Games, a company which creates mobile games to help kids stay healthy. I'm inspired to help create a culture of wellness starting from our youngest generations, speaking to them in their native language - games. Our first app will be focused on helping kids with asthma, while our subsequent releases will focus on other health issues.

Claire Panter

Gaming London, GB
Listed on the UK's first top 100 women in games (http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/the-top-100-uk-women-in-video-games/0112138).

Mark Rutter

Education AU
Education Professional, Director and Principal Tutor in Mathematics and English Years 3 to 12. Part / time educator of Year 6 students in a technology rich environment. Triathlete Surfer Skier

Dana Obleman

Parenting skills Sarasota, US
Dana launched her successful private practice in 2003, and since then has helped over 30,000 of parents solve their children’s sleep problems. She is the creator of “The Sleep Sense Program,” www.sleepsense.net, a best-selling “do-it-yourself” guide for sleep deprived parents. Dana has made numerous television appearances, has been featured in national and local newspapers, spoken at multiple parenting trade shows and baby conventions. She was also invited to lecture on solving infant and toddler sleep problems to Family Physicians, through the University of British Columbia. In addition, to a BA in Psychology, Dana also holds a degree in Elementary Education from King’s University (1999), and is a professional member of the National Sleep Foundation.

Alexandra Mercer

Child development GB
I'm a devoted wife and mother of six. I home educate, thoroughly enjoy baking, love taking my children to the park in the sunshine and can't wait to get started on my long awaited allotment. I've just started running and my initial goal is to complete five miles without stopping. I have a degree in child development, I'm an optimist, eat organic but can't resist the odd takeaway. My tipple of choice is an extremely cool gin and tonic.

Visa Shanmugam

Health Dallas, Texas
I am a mother of 2 boys (3 year old and newborn) who is from the UK, but now live in Dallas, TX. I am also a certified sleep consultant for newborns, babies and toddlers. I am passionate about transforming peoples lives through sleep! I educate and coach families to help their children develop independent, sleep habits, so that everyone is well rested.

Andy Russell

Software/app development SF, US
Inspired by the movie BIG and a lifelong obsession with LEGOs, I decided when I was 8 years old that I was going to be a Toy Designer when I grew up. Today, after a few years of school at Northwestern and Stanford and design work at Hasbro and Sony PlayStation, I am a co-founder of a small startup in San Francisco called Launchpad Toys where we create apps that enable kids to create and share stories through play.

Dr Michael Levine

Child development New York, US
Expert on early learning, parenting and interactive media. I lead an innovation -oriented research organization named for the founder of Sesame Street.

Phil Altshuler

Education Dade City, US
I have been in education since 1996. Eight years as a special education teacher, nine years as a instructional technology specialist, and now as an information communication technology literacy coach.

Jenny Middleton

Education Brisbane, AU
I am interested in anything that will promote student engagement in lifelong learning and teacher involvement in ensuring this happens. In my role as the Director of Curriculum and Professional Practice, I provide comprehensive professional and collegial support to the Principal, and I contribute to the strong and cohesive team at the educational leadership level. I play a significant role in developing, promoting and resourcing a dynamic learning community, which is willing to embrace the challenges of learning life for the present and the future and I engage diligently in the process.

Sue Atkins

Parenting skills GB
Sue Atkins is an internationally recognised Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Author of the Amazon best selling books "Parenting Made Easy – How To Raise Happy Children” & “Raising Happy Children for Dummies" one in the famous black and yellow series as well as author of the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She has just launched the 1st in her series of Parenting Made Easy apps for iPhones and iPads. Sue offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children from toddler to teen. She regularly appears on the award winning flagship ITV show “This Morning”, BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and is the parenting expert for many BBC Radio Stations around the UK. She has a regular monthly parenting phone- in on BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex and her parenting articles are published all over the world.

Shah Hussain

Child development PK
Program manager of Children First. Responsible for overall program management which includes implementation and the scope of programs.

Philemon Burney

Education Sydney, AU
I'm a learning & technology consultant based in Sydney, Australia. I'm passionate about teaching and learning, and using technology to enhance education.

Janet Powell

Parenting skills Melbourne, AU
Janet is an accredited parenting coach and trainer with many years’ experience working with children and families, including in the Early Childhood sector. Studies in Applied Science and Children’s Services, combined with a passion for great parenting, lead Janet to start her business helping parents in 2007. She is currently the Victorian representative for Effectiveness Training Instructors and has a seat on the Board of the Effectiveness Training Institute of Australia. Janet is the mother of three adult children who have successfully moved out of the family home and begun their own independent lives. Four little grandchildren have now been welcomed into the family, to add another dimension to Janet’s parenting experience.

Peter Stidwill

Software/app development Cambridge, US
Peter Stidwill creates educational games and digital learning products. He is currently Executive Producer at the Learning Games Network, a non-profit spin-off of the MIT Education Arcade and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Games+Learning+Society program. He produced the award-winning ethical-thinking game ‘Quandary’, and is currently developing ‘Playful Learning’, an initiative to catalyze the use of game based learning in schools. Peter previously worked at the UK Parliament where he developed the multi award-winning civics games ‘MP For A Week’ and ‘MyUK’, and at the BBC on a range of formal and informal education projects, including the Digital Curriculum (‘BBC Jam’) and Science and Nature Online. Peter holds a B.A. and M.Eng. from Cambridge University (UK), where he created an online science outreach initiative – an extension to his engineering masters dissertation in which he specialized in digital learning.

Thomas Marriott

E-safety Harlow, Essex
I am a secondary school teacher of ICT and Computer science. I've recently qualified as a E-Safety Officer due to in-depth nature of the online world, including it's threats and dangers. I have spent the last year educating my children, parents, teachers and governors in the school of the dangers on the online world and up-to-date strategies to help them protect themselves and young people around them. I hope to one day to take this further to develop my own training and consultancy firm in E-Safety across schools nationwide.

Paul Solarz

Education Mt Prospect, US
I'm a National-Board Certified 5th grade teacher focusing on real-world skills and integrating MacBooks & iPads into my 21st Century Classroom. We are collaborating globally with students and classrooms around our country and around the world. I believe that time spent in school should focus on the process instead of the final result. I feel that my main job as teacher is to provide meaningful feedback to my students so that they continue to grow in areas that they need to improve in. When I'm not teaching, I'm playing with my 8 year old nephew who, despite having autism, manages to teach me something every day, and my 6 year old niece who will some day rule the world!

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