Play: the First Learning Experience

I know you don't have time to attend a class or workshop on some new technology or learning practice, but - for your own good, take a break to play.

Abbie in the Sandbox - Photo adapted from Flickr
Uploaded on August 28, 2007 by COmfH
licensed under
Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0.

Where have I been?

It's been a while since I've posted to this blog. I've been busy: playing. Well, more appropriately, I've been learning about many things, and this "creative play" has re-invigorated my contemplation about learning and helping others learn. Some time ago, Jeff Nugent suggested that learning begins in play and I thank him for his prompt, his shared interest in learning and his support which allows me the opportunities I have each day. Listen to some of my play.

Transferring knowledge gained during play:

The podcast link above is a bit of silliness created on a Macbook Pro, in an audio program called Garageband. The point here is that learning to use a new technology for an ultimately serious business such as education, can be fun. The acquisition of knowledge can be achieved by playing with tools and then transferring the knowledge gained to more meaningful ends. My ultimate goal is to be able to assist faculty in the use of such tools to create audio files and podcasts to meet their educational objectives. I also plan to work with my colleagues, Jeff Nugent and Britt Watwood to create informative podcasts and provide additional resources for our faculty.

Consider the following strategies for overcoming barriers to learning new technologies:

  • Find and take time to explore something new to you: commit to no more than 15 minutes each day (you just might get inspired to keep working)
  • Play - Have fun
  • Laugh
  • Learn in short, but regular segments (scaffolding)
  • Eliminate risk – Don’t set out to create a masterpiece - experiment in a "sandbox" environment
  • Ask questions: what will happen if I …?
  • Take advantage of many free resources and people who are willing to help via the web
  • Don’t be afraid to “break” anything
  • Experiment with the intent to learn from failure as well as success
  • Share your successes and failures with others
  • Seek advice from others who have experimented with the technology or application you are learning
  • Transfer learning from your personal fun experiments and projects to your professional work

I plan to study and share more of what I learn about the notion of learning through play, but right now, I want you to just go have some fun!


  1. Funnily I once got offended when someone talked about the play component of these tools because I take what I do as getting the job done. However changed my views because play is the most important part of getting people engaged to use these tools. The trick is to find that hook that makes them want to learn how to use -- digital story telling tends work well with most people.

    Now I must get going -- time to go back to play.

  2. Great comment by Sue. Fun is just another word for engagement...and it has been fun watching your engagement these past few weeks!