fish ‘n’ chips and thoughts at the seaside down South #ECEL2011 #CMC11

playfulness exposed

playfulness exposed

This is Brighton where I attended and presented at the 10th European Conference of e-Learning. Not sure why we keep using the e- or distinguish between e- and non-e since it is, or should be considered, now part of normal learning. But what is normal learning? We seem to have lost and forgotten all about the playfulness of learning. The fun we have or used to have when we were jounger, when learning through play was and still is a reality and accepted.

  • What stops us from having fun in learning when we are adults?
  • Why do we stop having fun as adult learners?
  • Why do we stop playing when while learning?
  • What stops us from having fun when we are teaching othes and learn with others?
  • Why is it wrong to have fun and learn through play when we are adult learners and especially when we are in a university?

I would love to hear what others think about the above. So, please feel free to comment if you are reading this.

If Prof. Maggi Savin-Baden is right when she said during the ECEL2011 conference (paper by Savin-Baden, S. , Tombs C. and Wimpenny, K. Implementing and Evaluating Problem-based 3D Virtual Learning Scenarios) that playing with learning is important, as well as playing with and playing around and that

“We need to stop seeing the curriculum as a predictable, ordered and manageable space, but instead review it as an important site of transformation characterised by risk and uncertainty”

– why do we keep replicating what was always there, what we were always doing? Prof. Anne Boddington in her keynote “Designing Education and Reshaping Learning” provides her answer to these questions perhaps by saying that 

“we forget to question the structures we inherited, the frameworks within which we sit need to change.”

Anne also passionately noted that learning is an adventure but also a social activity and that we need to move away from ‘me’-learning towards ‘we’-learning and asked us all what universities are for. And if would agree with Prof. Grainne Conole’s keynote “Trajectories of learning – new approaches and directions” who stated that content and expertise is freely available now, what does this really mean for universities and what are universities really for? Anne defined universities as a place and a space to

  • sustain conversations
  • shape the future of human life
  • stimulate innovation
  • shape new structures of and for learning
  • shape new pedagogies
some food for thought

some food for thought

Learning, teaching and researching in parternship, in one community as Anne suggested?

And if this is indeed the way forward, how can we make this happen?

4 thoughts on “fish ‘n’ chips and thoughts at the seaside down South #ECEL2011 #CMC11

  1. Hi Katie,

    How wonderful to see you here and thank you so much for the link to the summary of this, what must be, a fascinating paper. I love the terminology, I have to admit – fun engineer and fun mechanics, just great!!!

    I wish too that playing would not be disregarded so easily in HE. I think in order for people to feel in-flow, they also need to feel in-group and if this is not the case, I think any creative expression, which will be risky is a no-no zone…

    For me it is important to create relationships that will enable us all to loosen up and open up a bit and feel that it is ok to do things that others might regard as silly or childish or inappropriate for HE (it is of course ok when Prof. Soandso does it!). I have noticed that people follow you easier when they trust you and see that you are risking as much as you ask them to risk. Does this make sense?

    I will study the full article, thank you Katie. This will also be useful in something I am writing about at the moment for Nicola.

    Your CV is also very impressive!!!

    Speak again soon ;o)

    ps. I enjoyed your hands-on iPad session during the ECEL2011. It is just a shame that not many people have one yet… especially students and academics. If we could just give one to each. Maybe I should be looking into getting iPads for our course. Any tips?

  2. Not just for learning either… what about fun in other cooperative activities? Community planning for example. Just think what a boost fun and play could bring to committee work

  3. Hi Vanessa,

    You are right. An injection of fun in other human activities such as community planning could make such a difference and be so motivating too. Are you using specific approaches. Have you seen Lego Serious Play, for example at

    Would love to find out more about what your thoughts are on this. Speak again soon.


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