[Ottiya Play Issue] Letter from the Editor, Rufina Park

For many of us, the idea that learning and even education can be playful seems like a paradox. Despite the rise of project-based learning and student-centered teaching practices, we still tend to associate schooling with long lectures, standardized tests, and assignments that do not relate to our interests.

Even for those of us who have embraced playful teaching and learning, we are still undecided on what we really mean by this concept. Do we mean play as an action, attitude, medium, or is it still just a metaphorical expression for learning? Is it easier to implement in the early years, but irrelevant for middle and high schoolers?

In the Play Issue of the Ottiya Magazine, we’re trying to make sense of some of these questions with our contributors from places as different as the US, Ghana, and Finland. We all thought about play a little bit differently, but all of the articles offer different ideas, resources, and questions that will help you to make sense of the intersections of play and learning.

In <Hand-in-Hand>, Seattle-based early childhood expert Allie Pasquier explores what kind of learning objects enable free play. Later in <Design for Learning>, Tamotsu Ito, a Japanese architect based in Switzerland, discusses the conundrum of designing places for play.

Derek Ham, an Assistant Professor at NC State College of Design suggests how we can help learners to become creators in the space of virtual reality (VR) in the section <Community Voices>.

I hope that you will also enjoy my interview with Mitch Resnick, the Director of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group and the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, through which I ask about his thoughts on the relationship between play and tinkering and his journey to where he is today.

We hope that this issue of the Ottiya magazine will inspire you to make learning more playful for yourself and for learners all around you.



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