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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, 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.

avatar for Yoon Jeon "YJ" Kim

Yoon Jeon "YJ" Kim

Executive Director, Playful Journey Lab
Dr. YJ Kim is the executive director of the MIT Playful Journey Lab (playful.mit.edu). Her work has centered on the topic of innovative assessment and how technological advancement influences what we are measuring about student learning and how we are measuring it. For more than ten... Read More →

Saara Nissinen

Junior Researcher, University of Eastern Finland
avatar for Justin Reich

Justin Reich

Asst. Professor, MIT
avatar for Dan Roy

Dan Roy

Research Scientist, MIT
Dan Roy is a research scientist at the Education Arcade and the Playful Journey Lab. He is the lead game designer on the CLEVR project, inviting high school biology students to explore a cell in VR and collaboratively diagnose and treat a genetic disorder. Dan is also the founder... Read More →
avatar for Meredith Thompson

Meredith Thompson

Research Scientist and Lecturer, MIT

Henriikka Vartiainen

Senior lecturer, University of Eastern Finland

Friday August 3, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm
MIT Tang Center, E51-149 - Classroom, Building E51 2 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02142

Attendees (18)