Prescription for Play

If you know me, you know I’m a big proponent for play for children.  Even big children. While I agree with what is being said in the video, we can’t ignore the modern world we live in.

What constitutes play with computers?  Is it video games?  According to Dr. Marilyn Benoit video games aren’t what they mean here.  I’m inclined to agree, the type of play being described is free play.  Free play can be though of as unscripted, no rules or loosely defined rules where children are open to try new personalities, ideas, skills without the fear of evaluation from another.  While most video games tick off some of these, I belief they are in violation of the first, they are not all unscripted.

So, what does this free play with computers look like?  I’ve got a few ideas and I love to keep the suspense so… I’d like to hear from you first.  What does play with computers look like if it isn’t video games?

The Dichotomy of Work & Play

This is hardly Earth shattering, though, at the same time, there is so much right and so much wrong with this exchange. These students clearly enjoyed learning at the National Museum of Play, but it felt a whole lot different from what they are accustomed to.

During a time when it seems that children are liking school less and less, do we really feel as though the only way for them to succeed is to coerse them to develop a work ethic?   Professor Mary Jane Treacy suggests we meld of the dichotomy between work and play:

I think we really have to break that dichotomy of play and work, so if you’re a student and you go and you work at your classes and play is something that you do afterwards. And I really think that that’s a false dichotomy and we need to change that, so I’m gonna have to bring those together. We first have to do that among ourselves, the faculty.

What if that so called work ethic we so desire in schools was actually a play ethic?  What if the process of playing developed the very habits, tendencies and dispositions that we wish to invoke through a forced “work ethic”?

What if we really believed that “play is our brain’s favorite way of learning”?

I Have Questions: Gaming

A little background, I’m currently attending a two-day training on Quest Atlantis, a multi-user virtual environment game.  While listening to the rationale for QA, questions that have been stirring about in my head finally leapt out of my head and into Evernote for me to capture.  While the training wasn’t the best place to pose these questions, for obvious reasons, I thought I’d pose them here for some of your thoughts.

  • If there are viable alternatives in the real world, should educators use simulations and games?
  • Are games being used as an easier alternative to real world learning experiences like project-based or service learning opportunities?
  • How do we create situated learning experiences, in the real world, similar to those found in video games?