Play-based learning and a twenty-first century education

The concept of play is both complex and complicated. Nevertheless, play has been most often regarded as antithetical to the most stable pillars of learning in the twentieth century. It is the opposite of work. It is fun, rather than serious. And its connection to learning is secondary or incidental.
Play, we believe, in keeping with [Johan] Huizinga, is probably the most overlooked aspect in understanding how learning functions in culture. It is easy to identify spaces in which the information network provides opportunities for play, online games being a clear example. But thinking about play as a disposition, rather than as merely engaging with a game, reveals something more fundamental at work. Much of what makes play powerful as a tool for learning is our ability to engage in experimentation. All systems of play are, at base, learning systems. They are ways of engaging in complicated negotiations of meaning, interaction, and competition, not only for entertainment, but also for creating meaning. Most critically, play reveals a structure of learning that is radically different from the one that most schools or other formal learning environments provide, and which is well suited to the notions of a world in constant flux.” (p.97)

Whatever one accomplishes through play, the activity is never about achieving a particular goal, even if a game has a defined endpoint or end state. It is always about finding the next challenge or becoming more fully immersed in the state of play. In play, therefore, learning is not driven by a logical calculus but by a more lateral, imaginative way of thinking and feeling instead.” (p.99)

Ref: p.95 Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2011) A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky. : CreateSpace?

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Metaphors and Narratives around children and learners, Teaching excellence, Understanding Education and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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