What We Learn From Play
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What We Learn From Play
Until recently play was dismissed as the antonym of productive work, but is now being recognized for its fundamental role in how we learn.
Curated by Ryan Burwell
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The Definition of Play

The Definition of Play | What We Learn From Play | Scoop.it
Play in our species serves many valuable purposes. It is a means by which children develop their physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and moral capacities. It is a means of creating and preserving friendships. It also provides a state of mind that, in adults as well as children, is uniquely suited for high-level reasoning, insightful problem solving, and all sorts of creative endeavors. 
Ryan Burwell's insight:

Peter Gray makes an important point when he argues that "the characteristics of play all have to do with motivation and mental attitude, not with the overt form of the behavior". Thinking about play in this manner permits us to entertain the notion that it can take place outside of the sandbox. A playful mindset is vital at all ages because it invites us to be self-motivated, and to appreciate the intrinsic rewards of our activities. It also allows us to find enjoyment within challenge, and lessons within failure. Defining play as an activity only tells half the story! 

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Zeal for Play May Have Propelled Human Evolution

Zeal for Play May Have Propelled Human Evolution | What We Learn From Play | Scoop.it
Studies of children are looking at how they let their imagination run free to make and find unlikely connections.

Via Ilana Ben-Ari
Ryan Burwell's insight:

More compelling evidence that play needs to be encouraged outside of recess. Something which is imprinted in our DNA shouldn't be treated as a childish activity which is distinct from productive labour.  

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Ilana Ben-Ari's curator insight, July 23, 2013 2:57 PM

Studies suggest that free, self-directed play in safe environments enhances resilience, creativity, flexibility, social understanding, emotional and cognitive control, and resistance to stress, depression and anxiety. And we continue to explore as adults, even if not so freely. That’s how we got to the Internet, the moon, and Dr. Gopnik’s lab.

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Mobile Games: Reaching the Hardest to Reach

Mobile Games: Reaching the Hardest to Reach | What We Learn From Play | Scoop.it
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Ryan Burwell's insight:

The majority of the 1 million residents in Africa's largest slum live on less than $1 per day. Remarkably, 75% of those residents have access to a mobile phone.  Combining the astonishing reach of mobile networks with the educational potential of games is a powerful idea.  

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Paula Owen's Mission to Save the Environment with Gamification

Paula Owen's Mission to Save the Environment with Gamification | What We Learn From Play | Scoop.it
Paula Owen has a plan to use gamification for fun to create interest and engagement for saving the environment.
Ryan Burwell's insight:

Placing environmental discussions within the context of play helps to address some of its baggage.  Unfortunately, a lot of environmentalism has developed a doom and gloom reputation, leading to both apathy and satire, as seen on shows such as South Park:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhtITYmL9a0.  Both enjoyable and action-oriented, play may help to reframe environmental problems as positive challenges, rather than apocalyptic certainties.

   

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Play, passion, purpose: Tony Wagner at TEDxNYED

Tony Wagner recently accepted a position as the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. Prior to this, he w...
Ryan Burwell's insight:

Unstructured play is an intrinsically motivated activity - we do it because we love it, not because we are told to.  It is in play that we begin to identify what we are passionate about, and ultimately what our purpose should be.  

 

Tony Wagner does a great job explaining why this progress from play to purpose needs to be at the centre of an education system which emphasizes innovation over obedience.  

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Toy stories by Gabriele Galimberti

Toy stories by Gabriele Galimberti | What We Learn From Play | Scoop.it
Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti spent 18 months travelling around the world and shooting photos of children with their most precious possessions.
Ryan Burwell's insight:

All children love the imaginative possibilities of play, but those from wealthier areas are more possessive of their toys.

 

Examining play provides insight into social values because it is through play that we learn how to behave.  There is an important lesson in this - if we want to build a more empathic and cooperative society, we must start by rethinking how we use the toy box.

 

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Kimochis - A Dream of Ending School Violence

Nina Rappaport Rowan, Academy Award Winning Producer for the Animated Short "Bunny" & Executive Director of "Despicable Me", discusses how she was inspired b...
Ryan Burwell's insight:

Toys have incredible power to represent other experiences. Kimochis allow children to navigate through complex emotions within the safety of play. 

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Gaming's new frontier: Cancer, depression, suicide

Gaming's new frontier: Cancer, depression, suicide | What We Learn From Play | Scoop.it

What does it feel like to face the death of a child, or to live with hopelessness, or to suffer from the bitterness of extreme loneliness?...

Ryan Burwell's insight:

Not all games have to be fun -  "Empathy games" teach players what it feels like to experience loss, mental illness, and other issues which are often avoided.    

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World of Classcraft

World of Classcraft | What We Learn From Play | Scoop.it
Ryan Burwell's insight:

An interesting application of gamification in the classroom, but this platform raises a few important questions.  I would love to hear what you think:

 

How are experience points different from traditional grades?  Are they just a more elaborate method of quantifying student behaviour, or is there something deeper going on?

 

What are the overarching lessons of this approach, which students will be able apply after the class is over?

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Visual Play in the Classroom: Matthew Peterson

In school, the dominant way of conveying ideas is through words. Words can be great barriers to learning. Matthew Petersen shows and explains how we can lear...
Ryan Burwell's insight:

Like a tremendous number of students, Matthew Peterson struggled with the word-centered approach of his education.  His response was to design a computer game which teaches a wide variety of mathematical concepts using visual explanations and feedback.  Its success is strong evidence for the efficacy of both visual learning strategies and play in the classroom.    

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In these video games, depression is the point

In these video games, depression is the point | What We Learn From Play | Scoop.it
New online games offer an alternative to the therapy couch
Ryan Burwell's insight:

A virtual world can be a very useful forum for working out real world problems. Games can help people learn and test cognitive strategies in a safe environment. 

 

Regardless of its form, play itself has many therapeutic benefits. Play allows us to imagine alternative possibilities, which is essential for those stuck in a cognitive or emotional slump.    

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