Written By Christine Pinto and Jessica Twomey
Magical things can happen when learners come together and play! Play holds the power to make connections, share ideas, explore possibilities, and discover each other.
Something magical happened when the #GAfE4Littles (Google Apps for Littles) community came together to discuss #InnovatingPlay during the first #SlowFlipChat of the year. Two visions found a space in which they flourished and played well together. The #GAfE4Littles community has always been about the ways in which kids can learn and create, with technology as one of their tools. The #GAfE4Littles vision is more than kids using technology, it’s about the ways that we BELIEVE in kids and trust them by not limiting their potential to the way that they learn. We give them a variety of tools they CAN use to thrive in the time and space in which they live, regardless of their age.
#InnovatingPlay was created out of that energy and mindset to BELIEVE, because when we (educators, kids, admin, ANYONE) play together, meaningful learning emerges and ANYTHING is possible because there are no limits!
The vision for #InnovatingPlay is to VALUE play as a necessary part of creative and meaningful learning experiences. We need to PRIORITIZE questioning, discovery, exploration, and reflection and EXAMINE the ways in which natural play experiences can be combined with 21st century approaches.
When we put these pieces together, we can innovate play for all learners in classrooms and beyond! #GAfE4Littles is a piece of #InnovatingPlay because of the mindset the visions share and values they hold at the heart. Careful consideration on the selection of tools we put into the hands of our students has always been in place with #GAfE4Littles. #InnovatingPlay connects the examination of tools to the bigger picture of purposeful learning by including play. If we begin with play in mind, kids are bound to make authentic learning connections. PLAY HAS A PLACE in the classroom!
Giving a Voice to Play
We (Christine and Jessica) are choosing to bring this new discovery and magic to make new connections with the community so that play can have a voice! Through these connections, we are giving a voice to ALL learners.
LET’S PLAY AS A COMMUNITY!
#InnovatingPlay is taking on the #SlowFlipChat model. A #SlowFlipChat is a combination of using the slow chat model on Twitter (where one question is posted a day) and Flipgrid. Going at a slower pace with a chat gives us time to really think and collaborate deeply on a given chat topic and our teaching practices. Flipgrid offers a space to extend our thinking (we have a few short minutes vs 280 characters) and interact with each other in a more personal way. Be sure to check the #InnovatingPlay hashtag on Twitter and to be following @jlabar2me and @PintoBeanz11 to catch the Flipgrid link and continue the conversation on Twitter.
EVERYONE IS INVITED TO PLAY. Play is not limited to an age range. Play is for everyone! So, regardless of what grade you teach, what content area, or your role in education, YOU are invited to play!
- Chat topics for the #InnovatingPlay chat will be posted the FIRST and THIRD Sundays of the month.
- ALL questions will be open on Flipgrid on Sunday
- One question will be posted on Twitter Monday through Friday (So, if recording videos is not your thing, you can still participate on Twitter, slow chat style!)
- Four questions will be geared towards the topic, and the fifth question will be a reflection question. You will be able to share your takeaway(s) for the week.
The chat officially lasts 6 days (Sunday-Friday), and it is up to you if you participate daily or check in one day. Flipgrids will always remain open, so discussions can continue outside of the chat week. Together with the platforms of Flipgrid and Twitter and the pacing of the chat, we have opportunities to connect as a community in new ways and expand our collaboration experiences!