Title of Abstract

Guardians of the Classroom: Transformative Play for Learning

Abstract

Why do we engage in structured play? What does an avid player get out of replaying level after level of a platformer for mastery, or even working towards a perfect three star record in Angry Birds? Why do we welcome frustration in a game but turn away from it in the classroom? Games have been referred to by Jane McGonigal in Reality is Broken as spaces where we willfully engage with “unnecessary obstacles,” pursuing mastery of skills in environments that can be inherently collaborative and filled with learning. By understanding these games, and their potential as learning spaces, we can better build educational environments that encourage students to take agency in their own learning experience. As the integration of technology in the classroom continues to grow, more and more attempts are being made to harness the power of digital media for transformative purposes. Terms like “gamification” and “games for change” suggest the potential of teaming up games and learning; and, as superhero movies teach us, the power of teams can be world-changing. I will share some of the potential unlocked by delving into games as a medium for student agency as designers, collaborators, and builders of shared interactive worlds. Applying game-inspired mechanics to our classrooms draws upon the extensive parallels between teaching and experience design, and gives us a new lens for thinking about the ways technology can be integrated in learning.

Streaming Media

 

Guardians of the Classroom: Transformative Play for Learning

Why do we engage in structured play? What does an avid player get out of replaying level after level of a platformer for mastery, or even working towards a perfect three star record in Angry Birds? Why do we welcome frustration in a game but turn away from it in the classroom? Games have been referred to by Jane McGonigal in Reality is Broken as spaces where we willfully engage with “unnecessary obstacles,” pursuing mastery of skills in environments that can be inherently collaborative and filled with learning. By understanding these games, and their potential as learning spaces, we can better build educational environments that encourage students to take agency in their own learning experience. As the integration of technology in the classroom continues to grow, more and more attempts are being made to harness the power of digital media for transformative purposes. Terms like “gamification” and “games for change” suggest the potential of teaming up games and learning; and, as superhero movies teach us, the power of teams can be world-changing. I will share some of the potential unlocked by delving into games as a medium for student agency as designers, collaborators, and builders of shared interactive worlds. Applying game-inspired mechanics to our classrooms draws upon the extensive parallels between teaching and experience design, and gives us a new lens for thinking about the ways technology can be integrated in learning.