Quote: “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” (p. 97). I love watching my son play. He sometimes falls and gets hurt, but ultimately learns a lesson from certain experiences. He also learns how to play with others, and that the world doesn’t revolve around just him. Sharing is key, and he’s learning to make meaning of certain norms within the context of play. I’m learning the value of play by watching him go through it at such a young age.
Question(s): How do we get our administration and other teachers to understand that playing games in class, if structured to a purpose, is NOT wasting time? I cringe when I hear administrators warn our staff of a scheduled walk-through and that we should avoid playing games or watching films, or even tests. I understand the last two, but playing games aligned to an objective is active participation at its best! Other outcomes will come of it and students will love learning more.
Connection: I started reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess, and while of its content is outdated, in my opinion, the underlying idea of making teaching meaningful and fun is emphasized. Teachers and students should enjoy learning together, and so I think educational games and activities are very important in the classroom. And why not use technology as a platform? There are countless online learning apps and sites available, and students will also learn to foster digital literacy while playing.
Epiphany: The whole notion of homo sapiens, homo faber, and homo ludens is something I never would have thought about. The idea of knowing, making and playing as an overlapping group of skills that redesign educational institutions, and not just “patch” them up (p. 90).
Chapter 8: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out
Quote: “The richness of experience and social agency produced by hanging out and the sense of embodiment and personal agency created by messing around, combined with the sense of making, produces what we think is the ultimate goal of indwelling: learning” (p. 104). What a sentence! This quote summarizes the chapter very well. Students and teachers establishing a social environment that emphasizes play, all while creating good work, leads to amazing tacit learning that is invaluable.
Question(s): If teachers are not on board to forming online collectives, then how do they implement collaboration to its maximum potential? For teachers who are on board, what sorts of “hanging out” and “messing around” activities do they emphasize in their own teaching?
Connection: Because I’m advocating for a 1:1 Chromebook pilot program in my own classroom, I would love to use this chapter as a perfect justification for why online collaboration in safe collectives is extremely important for learning and fostering digital literacy. I’ll be sure to recall these concepts when creating my proposal project for EDL 600.
Epiphany: I didn’t realize, until reading this book, just how much I have been “geeking out” lately. I have been utilizing many resources, “both social and technological, for deep exploration” (p. 105). I find myself talking with so many people about the things I’m learning, and then realizing that I’m constantly thinking of new ways to implement amazing technology to my every-day life.
Chapter 9: The New Culture of Learning for a World of Constant Change
Quote: “(1) Play is more than something we do, it is who we are, and (2) play precedes culture” (p. 116). This quote, referencing homo ludens in chapter 8, is something that stood out to me because of the connection to culture. It makes sense that forms of play can define a collective of people who enjoy that same type of playing, which could lead to a cultural being. This is true with sports teams of all kinds.
Question(s): Since I’ve never really been a big gamer, would learning to play a game like World of Warcraft teach me to appreciate the teachings of this book even more? This chapter focuses a lot on MMO games, and I think that’s something that interest me to find out.
Connection: I am passionate about learning the most efficient and effective ways to teach my students, and learning the technology from EDL 680 this summer has been inspiring me so much. I have been tinkering with various apps, learning about collectives and creating things by playing with features and connecting with people all over the world. It feels like games sometimes, since playing with various programs has been fun, but it has also been teaching me more than I could ever learn in a lecture.
Epiphany: The final paragraph brings everything together in a very concise way: “That moment of fusion between unlimited resources and a bounded environment creates a space that does not simply allow for imagination, it requires it” (p. 118). From the beginning of the book, that’s been the biggest message, and it’s stuck with me. We access to unlimited resources, yet a bounded environment with structure in order to focus students to create something innovative. This has been a great book that I will recommend to everyone on my staff.
Thomas, D & Brown, J.S. (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington: CreateSpace.