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Potentiality of Play

PhD. research in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University
Time frame: 2015 - 2020

Project description

This thesis, underpinned by cross-cultural design ethnography (DE) and research through design (RtD), re-reads play-based learning as design practice. In doing so, it charts the shifting relationship between design and theories of play-based learning. The evolutionary focus of this thesis is of interest to a wide range of stakeholders such as pedagogues, designers, and policy makers, each of whom contribute to where, what and how children are taught.

Illustration from the ethnographic research of children playing with Montessori's yellow and red cylinders at a Montessori school

Montessori affordances_2.jpg

Illustration from the ethnographic research of children playing with Montessori's geometrical trays at a Montessori school

This thesis frames and re-reads key historical play pedagogues as designers and design thinkers, whose work has shaped and influenced the evolution of play-based learning through the inception of play artefacts, spaces, and structures. This thesis further elucidates that design-thinking has been at the heart of play-based learning, demonstrated through the design of modular and standardised pedagogic objects and spaces of historic learning environments. The design evolution within this framework helps to comprehend tinkering and iterative prototyping as twenty-first century affordances of learning through play.

This thesis also adapts the practice-based research method of research through design (RtD), where it demonstrates and proposes that twenty-first century design affordances of tinkering and iteration can be suitably integrated to enrich historic play-based learning environments such as the Montessori method.

Mapping montessori's play pedagogy as design thinking

An infographic visualising Montessori's pedagogy as design thinking

By bringing into focus the triad of play, pedagogy, and design, an additional educational landscape of twenty-first century cultural learning environments is explored. Cultural learning environments (CLEs) such as museums and public galleries extend the scope of play-based learning beyond formalised spaces of schools and bring into relief, the predominance of design while incepting platforms, ateliers, and activities to initiate learning through play.

You can know more about the PhD by clicking on this link

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