I’ve become a curator. Recently, I’ve inherited an immense collection of knowledge that I need to transfer to a receptive, but fickly audience. The museum I work for is the institute of parenthood and my audience just one, but a very loyal (and forgiving) one: my son. We’re the ideal museum – free access and wifi, flexible opening hours, great coffee – but also an extraordinary one: Instead of designing exhibitions, we play games.
The rational behind games and play as an educational tool can be found in any David Attenborough documentary, “To the young cubs, play is serious business. Through their innocent games they learn invaluable lessons about survival in the wild.” (Can you hear his voice?) The 21st century and its call for life-long learning has made us all cubs, even if our wild is a modern office environment.
Good games and play are fun. It’s what sets them apart from work. A brilliantly sticky quote by Sebastian Deterding, paraphrasing Ralph Koster says that “fun is learning under optimal conditions”. In other words, we learn from everything that is fun and when we’re having fun, we’re learning. This is a convincing call for all facilitators (parents, teachers, museums) to use games and play as much as we can.
And we do, or have been trying to do recently. Codeword: Gamification. By adding common game elements to traditional systems, we make them more fun and enhance learning. Unfortunately, as people like Adrian Hon from Zombies, Run! fame point out, it doesn’t work that way. Gamification – leaderboards, badges, achievements – doesn’t necessarily create games; it doesn’t necessarily stimulate play. Continue ReadingRead More »