It’s been three weeks already — congratulations for getting connected to each other and for sharing. That’s been the goal of these first weeks — to get connected and practice sharing with each other. Therefore, before we move to the next thing, I wanted to ask: How are things going? What are you noticing about getting started with connected learning? What stands out to you?
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Play is training for the unexpected. – Marc Bekoff, biologist
In the weeks ahead, we will continue these same practices — reading, engaging with each other via social media and collaborative tools, and continuing to experiment. The focus of the next three weeks is on theories of knowledge, learning and community — and to kick it off, let’s start with play, theories about play, and the implications of play for equity in connected learning and teaching.
Here are some readings/recordings to get us started:
- 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”;
- James Paul Gee on Learning With Video Games from Edutopia;
- If you’d like to go deeper thinking about literacy and video games, try the opening chapter from his very influential book What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy;
- Colleagues of mine recommend Peter Gray’s work on play. Here is a TEDx talk he gave on the subject: The Decline of Play and Rise of Mental Disorders
- Kylie Peppler, another colleague and scholar from Indiana University, discusses youth and adults playing and tinkering with different tools and materials and the way they support thinking in this interview with Howard Rheingold at DML Central;
- 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 …
Blogging: I encourage you to take the week and think about play in the course of your daily life. Where does it happen? Where does it not? What are the implications? … Try also to deliberately approach something that you are doing in a playful way. What happens when you do that and how does it impact your learning?
Blog this week on the implications of play for learning, whether its through your own experience or through observing or interviewing someone else. What are the implications for equity in learning and teaching? Share your thoughts and observations via your blog this week.
If you aren’t feeling in a particularly playful mood, here are a few ideas and resources that might inspired you:
- Try Global Thumb-Wrestling;
- Try a Gamekit Challenge: Find Play in Things;
- Check out some Games for Change;
- Hack something! Try a Story, a Game, a Toy, the News, or even Barbie;
- Write your own Choose Your Own Adventure Story;
- Create a game or an animation on Scratch;
- Remember 100 ways to play from the Boston Children’s Museum;
- or learn at DIY.org to be a “Cardboarder.”
Find 5 Friday: Find 5 things — from each others blogs, the readings, and other work you are doing — that you would like to continue to play with (ideas, materials, technologies, etc.) into the future.
Hot tip …
Check out Letters to the Next President 2.0:
This is a project I am currently working on at the NWP … click on the website above to learn more about it and see the range of opportunities and resources for educators seeking ways to support youth engaging with the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. We will return to this site in future classes but you might be interested in signing up now as it gets underway.
In learning and connecting solidarity,
Image attribution: Shelley Spector’s Keep the Home Fires Burning, Philadelphia Art Museum September 2015