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Down the Lane: Socialising and Socialisation

Most Saturday mornings we have a family visit to Dojo Bakery in Braidwood. I was particularly aware of it being a family occasion this Saturday. My early morning read, thanks to my wife Sue's find, was a story in The Guardian about Parent Gym. In his post, Robert Booth pointed out that: Parent Gym is one of 15 organisations that will deliver the lessons for mums and dads as part of a trial which is expected to reach over 50,000 parents. Others include Barnardo's, Save the Children and the National Childbirth Trust. He concluded his post with this observation: A recent study led by the...

Playing, Building, Flourishing

I listened to Radio National's Future Tense program this morning. By good fortune I heard Daniel Donahoo talk about the Robots in School project. I was fascinated by Daniel's conversation with Antony Funnell on Future Tense. I followed up some links to the project and read a description that resonated very strongly with me: The study uses storytelling and illustration to explore, across several dimensions, how children might like to interact with robots in a variety of situations related to school and learning. In addition to capturing wonderfully inventive, vivid narratives and robot concepts, we’re looking for insights into how children think...

From Gambol to Gamble and Back Again

I have been thinking about gambling and drinking recently. Not as personal life choice but ... I have been wondering what I can do to support initiatives that mitigate the effects of both activities. I believe profoundly in the cultural benefits of play and note that 'to gambol' is 'to jump about in play'. There has been considerable debate in Australia about the growing presence of betting messages on televised sporting events. This involves a different kind of 'gamble'. At a press conference on the 27 May held to report events at the COAG Select Council on Gambling, Stephen Conroy said: ... all of the...

Openness and Curiosity: Oceans Apart

Yesterday my wife Sue received an alert to an Economist blog post about James Heckman. James had given a talk at the Centre for Economic Performance that was co-hosted by the Young Foundation and the Studio Schools Trust. The title of James' talk was Creating a More Equal and Productive Britain. The summary note of his talk records that Professor Heckman discussed that openness and curiosity have a greater effect on academic outcomes than IQ scores. He argued that: contrary to long-held assumptions that these skills cannot be measured - the evidence is available and should be incorporated much more actively into spending...

Play and Playfulness

I have written a good deal about play and playfulness in this blog. In June I wrote about Sliding to Catch a Train and more recently wrote about Play and Display. This morning I received an RSS feed from The Scholarly Kitchen with a delightful example of the play spirit central to Johan Huizinga's play elements of culture (Homo Ludens, 1938). The Scholarly Kitchen post took me back to Roger Caillois too. Caillois suggests that play is: Not obligatory Separate (from the routine of life) occupying its own time and space Uncertain so that the results of play cannot be pre-determined and so...

Play and Display

Two items this week have prompted me to think again about Gregory P. Stone's distinction between play and display (American Sports: Play and Dis-Play, in Eric Larrabee and Rolf Meyersohn (eds.), Mass Leisure. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1958. See too his discussion of wrestling, 1971). The ABC reported that "Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade says he would not be surprised if AFL opponents were eavesdropping on his match-day coaching instructions." The report notes that "While other clubs use more secure digital communications system that are encrypted, the Bulldogs have a cheaper analogue system, which Eade said needed upgrading." Rodney Eade...

Play: Sliding to Catch a Train

Last year I wrote a post about playfulness inspired by an installation at the Odenplan train station in Stockholm. Seven moths later I have found another delightful example of playfulness in a railway station. Volkswagen have set up a slide at Berlin’s U-Bahn station at Alexanderplatz. Just like the Odenplan piano the Alexanderplatz slide elicits the playfulness in travellers. I like the response of non-sliders to sliders! This is the 1 minute 42 second video: Photo Credit Same Place, Same People

Hometown Memories 1: Buckley in the 1950s

Dean Shareski was my most recent prompt to think about hometown memories. In his post he points out that: Inspired by Doug Peterson, who was inspired by ZeFrank that then inspired Stephen Downes and others I’ve created a little video of my life growing up in Morden, Manitoba.  Thanks to the every growing database of Google Streetview, it’s now reaching even small towns like the one I grew up in. ... the use of Google Maps/Streetview as storytelling tools is largely underused as Alan Levine has said a number of times. Watching Jim ...

"We stand most securely when we stand connected"

Stephen Downes' OLDaily (23 March) led me today to a detailed post by Mark Pesce, The Unfinished Project: Exploration, Learning and Networks. I was delighted to read Mark's synthesis in the post and I think he has wonderful educational insights to share and prompt. I am committed totally to the centrality of play in learning and Clyde Street has been founded on the ludic dimensions of culture. I finished my reading of Mark's post and savoured his concluding statement "we stand most securely when we stand connected". By wonderful synchronicity just at that moment I received an alert from a...

Playfulness

One of the delightful aspects of sharing ideas is that others reciprocate in sharing. Today I received a YouTube link from a colleague that captured and encapsulated the essence of Johan Huizinga's play elements of culture in Homo Ludens (1938). The view we take in the following pages is that culture arises in the form of play, that it is played from the very beginning... Social life is endued with supra-biological forms, in the shape of play, which enhances its value. On seeing the video my interests in music and performance coalesced around playing and playfulness. The video is from a...