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Friday, August 3 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Research Paper Panel: Play and Connected Learning for Teachers and Kindergartners

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Exploring Authenticity and Playfulness in Teacher Practice Spaces
Justin Reich, YJ Kim, Kevin Robinson, Dan Roy, Meredith Thompson

Teacher practice spaces are learning experiences, inspired by games and simulations, that allow novice teachers to rehearse for and reflect on important decisions in teaching. Practice-based teacher educators use various approaches to simulation in methods courses, and these simulations often attempt to holistically replicate the complexity of teaching conditions. In this research, we present a range of practice spaces that don’t attempt to replicate teaching, but explore design spaces with varying levels of authenticity. We define four dimensions of authenticity in teaching simulations:authenticity of complexity, of situation, of role, and of task. We discuss how these different dimensions of authenticity intersect with playfulness in the examination of five case studies of teacher practice spaces. We hypothesize that authenticity of task is essential to most teacher practice spaces, but interesting new design spaces can be found by moving away from other dimensions of authenticity.

Connected Learning in Kindergarten
Saara Nissinen, Henriikka Vartiainen, Petteri Vanninen

The aim of this socioculturally informed study is to explore teachers’ insights into connected learning projects in kindergarten. The focus was on the ways in which early childhood teachers and educators (N = 27) supported children in connecting their interest-driven and inquiry-oriented learning to their local surroundings, family, and community. The data consisted of teachers’, educators’, and researchers’ collaborative conversations, supplemented by project portfolios. The preliminary content analysis of the two representative projects shows how the children's own discoveries of nature were connected to an extended network of peers, family, and external experts though the use of a trail camera. Conclusions are drawn about activities that afforded the co-creation of a participatory network of people, tools, and resources organized around a shared object of inquiry.



Speakers
avatar for YJ Kim

YJ Kim

Research Scientist, MIT
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Saara Nissinen

Junior Researcher, University of Eastern Finland
avatar for Justin Reich

Justin Reich

Asst. Professor, MIT Teaching Systems Lab
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Dan Roy

Research Scientist, MIT Teaching Systems Lab
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Henriikka Vartiainen

Senior lecturer, University of Eastern Finland


Friday August 3, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-325 - Lecture Hall, Building E51 2 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
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Attendees (7)