"[J]ohan Hizinga argue that play is not merely central to the human experience, it is part of all that is meaningful in human culture. In almost every example of what he describes as "the sacred," play is the defining feature of our most valued cultural rites and rituals...play is not something we do; it is who we are" (97).
I love Hizinga's concept of play, because I think it is such an important part of human life and a source of tremendous joy for all humans, and yet the concept of adults playing is not really something we tend to openly value in our culture.
Working with High School students; how do we incorporate the idea of "play" in the classroom, without completely losing them to being off task? Is being off task a relevant concept to consider when speaking about playing?
I connect this chapter and the concept of "playing" as learning to our 20% project. I think this project is going to be a really interesting one, because we are all going to be experimenting and "playing" with our passions and interests. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with and what we all learn!
In this chapter, the authors further go on to describe that play is the most overlooked aspect in understanding how learning functions in culture. Yet, the authors describe, "Much of what makes play powerful as a tool for learning is our ability to engage in experimentation. All systems of play, are at base, learning systems" (97). I look to this passage as an aha moment, because it is absolutely true. If one is playing and having fun, then they are at their highest levels of engagement with the outside world,. Engagement,to me, is the most important component of learning new things; therefore I better understand why the authors describe play as fundamentally connected with learning systems."
"[M]essing around, which is characterized as 'open ended,' 'self-taught,' and 'loosely goal directed' follows from hanging out. As people start to play in their environment, they rediscover the different possibilities opened up by those gaps. That rediscovery causes a shift in perspective, where the process of knowing stops being about one's relationship to others and becomes about one's relationship to the environment" (102).
I selected this quote, because I like the idea that when "messing around," people need to simply do just that. Instead of having a set goal or a specific process, one just messes around and teachers themselves new things until they are guided towards something interesting to them.
For the most part, our education system has guided students, myself included, to listen to a teachers instructions. Therefore, how can we teach students to unlearn this system and direct their own learning?
I like the authors notion that as students discover a shift in perspective, their "process of knowing" becomes less about their relationships with others and more about their relationship to the environment. At the High School age, students seem obsessed with their relationships with their friends, both online and in person. It would be interesting to get students to drive their learning away from what their friends are doing and towards personal development. How would I create this in my classroom? How do you get students to learn about their connection to their own world?
This chapter has taught me that we CSUSM single subject teacher candidates are embarking on this "Hanging Out," "Messing Around," and "Geeking Out" adventure. Last semester we mastered 'hanging out" as we created professional online identities (twitter, PLNs, etc) and learned how to interact with others using these technologies. Now we have began participating in the "Messing Around," and soon "Geeking Out "stages as our learning via technology is becoming more self- driven and open ended. I am beginning to value the 20% project more and more as it approaches!
"Games have grown up, and playing with them is no longer reserved for children. In fact, the ability to play may be the single most important skill to develop for the twenty first century. " (114).
This reminds me of the inquiry based movement in education where we want students to question everything and find answers to those questions.
If we as adults struggle with the notion of playing until we open pathways for our learning, how do we expect our young students to be able to learn this skill?
I agree that the ability to play has become a very important skill to acquire today. Google prides their ability to find employees who really think outside of the box. Common Core standards are shifting towards student abilities to "think for themselves." As teachers, we are reminded of the importance to get our students to be creating in the classroom, not just absorbing information. In my classroom, I want to foster students who learn to play and not just learn from me. I feel I have a long way to go in learning how to create this type of classroom.
"That moment of fusion between unlimited resources and a bounded environment creates a space that does not simply allow for imagination, it requires it...And where imaginations play, learning happens" (118). I like that the text ends with this idea regarding imagination. It leaves me hopeful and at the same time overwhelmed. I absolutely think we need to have more imagination and creativity in our classrooms, but I see this change as slow moving. As an English teacher, I see many opportunities where I can incorporate imagination and student ideas into the curriculum, but maybe less of this in more math science classrooms. Hopefully I am wrong! I think back on my experience in K-12 education and really only remember those classrooms that were more imagination oriented (usually art classes and electives). I will try to make an effort to incorporate as much creativity in my English classroom as I can, so that my students will learn what their passions are and remember their learning experience, so that it is meaningful to them.