Meaningful Play – part 1 #mplay

The other week I had the opportunity to attend the Meaningful Play Conference in Lansing Michigan. For the tweets that flowed from the conference you can check out #mplay or take a look at the storify here:

Photo Courtesy by @HellscapeGames

Photo Courtesy by @HellscapeGames

And for those that would like to dig deep and read some of the papers presented at the conference then check out the detailed proceedings.

I really loved this conference and wish I could have attended for the whole time. I got to play, listen, discuss and learn a bit along the way 😉

Ok, I learnt a lot along the way!

There are lots of reasons why conferences are wonderful. Firstly, its about meeting up with and chatting to people in that face to face setting. One of my most enjoyable moments was having discussions with a lady called Mary, whom I would not have met if it wasn’t for attending the conference. She taught me heaps through general discussion and comparing sessions that we attended. Which leads me to the first workshop that I attended run by Filament Games.

Dan Norton was the presenter and as part of the workshop we had to, in groups, create a game that taught you how to tie knots. The first question we faced was can you teach someone how to tie knots effectively in a digital game. So what are your thoughts? Consideration is needed here, is it an effective means to teach knot tying? Then we focused on our learning objectives for the game and how we determined if they were met. Personally I loved the session, it was fun and interactive – we were actively involved in the learning process. However, this was not the case for all. So one has to question was it the activity that caused some to not feel that they gained from the session. In discussing this further it appears that it came down to the group and the dynamics within the group. I was fortunate to have two others in my group who were encouraging, thoughtful and respectful. We first considered what we brought to the group – we gave each others strengths a position to be empowered. Then we put forward ideas first starting with understanding the purpose of a knot and built on our concept from there. So the learning from this session was two fold. Firstly, it was about going through the process of developing a game pitch/idea. Secondly, it was about understanding that group dynamics and personalities can impact on the learning undertaken and the enjoyment of the experience. In a one off situation this is hard to monitor or control to ensure optimum outcomes.Yet in regular classroom settings this is where the teachers understanding of students and their learning needs is paramount. This doesn’t mean we design for effectively working groups at all times, but rather provide students opportunities to build skills to become more effective team members and collaborators. Yes, sometimes this is uncomfortable and frustrating.

Our Game Notes:

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