Keeping the Play in Learning Games —Scot Osterweil The Education Arcade/MIT September 28, 2006 firstname.lastname@example.org Play, observable throughout the animal kingdom, is the fundamental way we learn.
"Now in myth and ritual the great instinctive forces of civilized life have their origin: law and order, commerce and profit, craft and art, poetry, wisdom and science. All are rooted in the primeval soil of play."
Homo Ludens, 1938
An example with rods and clamps…
from The Children’s Machine,
Seymour Papert, 1993
The player’s motivations are entirely intrinsic and personal.
How do we channel play into learning activities while still allowing for play’s fundamentally open-ended nature?
The promise of games is that they can structure real play with substance that we want the player to learn.
Zoombinis – a game about the math of the computer age: logic, combinatorics, discrete mathematics.
A good engrossing game which meets the definition of structured play leading to mastery.
But What Do We Learn?
The process can be managed by a single intelligence.Learning/Misconceptions
Cause and effect is either:
a black box.Learning/Misconceptions
This particular model of a happy city is somewhat suspect.Learning/Misconceptions
Why not: all good change is negotiated by a collective intelligence.
Computer vs. non-computer games.
Computer games are good for computationally dense activities: simulations, war games, fast action, puzzles, or visual complexity.
Playing against other players introduces subtlety, unpredictability.
We learn cooperation, collaboration, negotiation. The skills we need as planners.
Thinking about the future: blending the best of both worlds
On-line communities: negotiation and collaboration
Computer generated challenges and visualizations