Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 330

There is a power in #play, a power that needs to be protected, and promoted. #QuoteADay #Day330 #edchat #edu #NYedchat #satchat cc: @InstituteofPlay

Today we were lucky enough to have the chance to work with a team from the Institute of Play (IoP).  If you haven’t yet heard of IoP, you need to look them up.  Here’s their site: http://www.instituteofplay.org/

A main premise of their work is simple: It is important (and necessary) to promote game-based thinking into the work we do with learners.  

Below are a few pictures of workshop attendees as they modified existing games to better understand game design and start to consider the benefits of game-based learning:

Modding Tic Tac Toe

Modding Picture Talk

Note that engaging in game-based learning doesn’t mean we’re constantly “playing games,” (or that all games are great learning tools) but it does mean that we utilize the structure and design theory inherent in games to further the learning we want students of all ages to experience.

As a life-long gamer, these are ideals that I live by.  I’ve enjoyed playing board, card, video, and thinking games/puzzles for as long as I can remember, and the only thing preventing me from gaming more is simply time.  At the same time, I understand that games for learning are very different than games for games-sake.

As a classroom teacher, I tended to embed game-design in some of my work (I always wished I could do more).  Here’s a picture of a game I still have in my office to remind me of the power of play:

There is a power in play, a power that needs to be protected and promoted at all costs. 

And here’s the rub: Gaming isn’t new; it’s been happening in schools for decades. 

What is a little bit different these days is the fact that so many more learners are gamers in some regard, particularly with the advent of smartphones and puzzle apps (even my one year old will swipe at a screen, even if it isn’t on, or it doesn’t have a touch screen J).

With such a huge base of ready and able gamers, we shouldn’t deny embedding game-based thinking and learning into our work. 

If the main goal of education is to help others learn and lead, then why wouldn’t we want to shape learning in a relevant and enjoyable way?

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