July 12, 2019

PoP Online

Sharing with and learning from educators

As researchers on the Pedagogy of Play (PoP) project, we often think on the macro and micro level about our work. Describing what we do as being at the nexus of research and practice, our ultimate goal is to contribute both to the larger field of education and to impact daily classroom practice. We aim to share with stakeholders around the world PoP ideas and the tools we co-create with practitioners, so that more children (and educators!) have the opportunity to learn through play in school.

Researchers across Project Zero, the research center where PoP is located, have been developing online courses as a way to offer practitioners the opportunity to dip their toes into various research areas. In March and April of this year, some of us on the PoP team offered a short, four-week course for participants to learn about and try some emerging PoP ideas. Joining us were sixty-eight educators, representing 13 countries; early childhood through higher education; and, a variety of contexts, including government-funded and independent schools in rural, urban, and suburban settings.

Throughout the course, educators interactively explored the research, developed a nuanced understanding of learning through play, and found opportunities to incorporate playful learning practices into their classrooms. They investigated questions, such as:

Why is learning through play important? What does learning through play look like and involve in your teaching? How is learning through play culturally and contextually specific?

Through playful provocations, readings, and examples from our partnering educators in Denmark and South Africa, participants engaged playfully with each other while considering the benefits of playful learning.

Participants offered new and different perspectives on our research, expanding our understanding of what playful learning looks and feels like and the opportunities and challenges afforded when bringing play into formal educational settings. We look forward to sharing more of our work in future courses, and learning with and from an even larger group of educators from around the world.