For the next generations to grow up happy and successful, learning, adapting and (international) connecting seem crucial. However, we still teach more history than future, more print than digital, more achieving than failing, and more local than global.
Some say that education, as a system, can only be changed top down, starting with top universities. But if creativity, imagination and experimenting is what our future needs, it seems a no-brainer to preserve the good stuff, starting in Kindergarten or before. How can we play more to learn better?
6 Trends that are Redefining Play and Re-imagining Learning
From the first moment that One Globe Kids joined the Ashoka and LEGO Foundation’s Re-Imagine Learning Challenge, we tried to learn as much as we could from other projects. After studying many of them, six trends stood out:
Kid-preneurs: Kids are taking charge of making the world a better place – and educators are helping them start projects and business in the real world. Pacesetters all took on pieces of the challenge: tools, awards, curriculum, and success stories. The earlier they start change-making, the better.
“You are never too young to change a life on the other side of the world” – Kidknits
Hands-on, Minds-on: Dedicated, open spaces that support all kinds of makerspaces, tinkerteams, and collaborative exploring facilitates the learning and building process. Having a dedicated space for arts and crafts might not seem so new at first sight. However, combining low- and high-tech tools with design thinking opens up new ways to learn to solve problems. Add pop-up locations and working on local community needs to the mix and you have something promising.
“ Young makers become masters and develop their own ‘how tos’ ” – Makeosity
Empathy Awareness: There seemed to be a buzz about how to increase empathy among kids through education and play. Either with the help of animals, by facilitating (virtual) joint play for children that wouldn’t easily meet otherwise, or by organizing meet & greets that foster intergroup contact, many entries focus on playing to learn with, about and from others outside of a daily circle. However, how to measure and monitor impact and results needs flushing out. To be continued for sure!
“Here he can be himself and find folks who celebrate differences” – Extreme Kids
Virtual Reality: Multiple entries use technology to make the foreign feel familiar and bring far-away knowledge closer to home. Virtual play will make it easier and more fun to practice skills and “live” real-world scenarios without facing serious consequences . Games also let kids step into other people’s shoes and look at challenges from multiple perspectives, with the option to fail softly.
“Online games have what it takes to get Israelis and Palestinians together” – Games for Peace
Gamifying Education: Playing games, both offline and online, makes learning more fun and adventurous. The amount of entries that use game play (ao board games, sports, treasure hunts) to make traditional school subjects current and challenging was striking. The real innovative ones are able to connect the virtual game with the physical classroom.
“There are a few schools in Germany where young students are actually ignoring the bell, preferring instead to continue their studies with “Professor S.,” – Professor S
Intergenerational Play: It’s important for all members of a community to get involved in the learning process. Playing with young thinkers and sharing experience and wisdom is vital. Some entries focus on the role of older generations and/or on the use of local traditional events/activities.
“In Africa, when an elder dies, it is a library burning down” – The Grandmother project
We are proud and excited to be part of such an amazing community of people who let their creative juices flow into such unique learning opportunities. Re-imagining learning is fun and seems to be at a tipping point.
Stay Globe Smart, Sanny Zuiderveld