Over the next three weeks, we will dive a bit more deeply into theories of knowledge, learning and community. In order to kick us off I’ve invited another colleague of mine, Chad Sansing, a middle school teacher associated with the Central Virginia Writing Project and a Mozilla Webmaker Fellow. He will join us on Wednesday night to support us in “unpacking the power of play.”
Chad has taught me a lot about the idea of “play as a pathway for transforming professional practice” and the power of this approach to learning through “hack jams” and the like that he describes in this post. Chad’s work as described many other “hacks” across the country, including one at University of Penn, Our Hackjam: Hacking the Story, and another here at Arcadia which has something to do with the start of this Connected Learning Certificate Program.
Thinking about the role of play in learning takes a variety of forms. Some additional reading/watchings you might consider this week include:
- Kylie Peppler, a scholar from Indiana University, discusses youth and adults playing and tinkering with different tools and materials and the way they support thinking in this recent interview with Howard Rheingold at DML Central;
- Mitch Resnick, the founder of the Lifelong Kindergarten program at MIT Media Lab, writes about playful ways to support creative thinking in his article “All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten”;
- Katie Salen describes the Quest to Learn Schools which are developed around a game-influenced pedagogy;
- In a somewhat different way, James Paul Gee takes on the statement “video games are ‘a waste of time’” in the opening chapter from his very influential book What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy;
- John Seely Brown’s keynote from 2012 called The Global One Room Schoolhouse describes play as essential in rapidly changing technological environments.
The week ahead:
Wednesday: We will gather via Google Hangout from 8-9pm ET with Chad and “unpack play” together. I will send the link by 7:45pm that same evening to your email.
Our make this week: Playfully remix/hack something … you can do this alone, with friends/family and/or in your classroom. Here are a few ideas (and we’ll get more ideas from Chad too):
- Book hack: Find a picture book at home or at the thrift store that you would like to change .. and change it! Above is an example.
- And here’s another example of a digital book that was created so that you can change it too: Hacking Barbie (and Breaking Gender Stereotypes).
- Game changing: There are rules to your game. What would happen if you tweaked a few? Or threw in a ice shark or two?
- Toy remake: Grab a few unused toys from around the house and tools you can use to take them apart. Feel free to gather your favorite crafting supplies, as well. Disassemble the toys and reassemble them in a new way (<– this is just one example).
- Web remix: Webmaker makes a range of tools to support remix and remaking content on the web.
Blogging prompt idea: What connections are you making between play and learning?
Find 5 Friday: Let’s find 5 things that we would like to continue to play with (ideas, materials, technologies) into the future!
In addition to the links above, some useful resources on remix and “hacking” might include:
- “Is it Appropriate to Appropriate” by Henry Jenkins from Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the English Classroom.
- Related video: “Ahab” by MC Lars
- On the topic of remixing and creating, check out this video on A Shared Culture by Creative Commons.
- Here is a link to the new curriculum series mentioned by Kylie Peppler in the interview linked above: Interconnections: Understanding Systems Through Digital Design
- And hot off the press GameKit for making games from Institute for Play (still in beta)
Twitter: Now that you all have twitter accounts, you can do more with them then just chat (as we know, chatting is not necessarily for everyone). I would encourage you to continue experimenting with what you can do with twitter by following your classmates. I made this list of our twitter @handles … if I’m missing yours please tweet me at @seecantrill
In learning and connecting solidarity,