Educators can level up student learning using tech for classroom play

Education Dive | January 16, 2019

Marina Umaschi Bers, professor and chair of Tufts University's Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, believes educators should create learning environments where classroom technology can be harnessed to enable learning through play, she wrote in EdSurge.These tools should create learning "playgrounds" – which allow for more autonomy and choice – rather than "playpens," which Bers says are isolating and limiting. She also discusses her "Positive Technological Development" framework, which includes six "playground" behaviors children can exhibit when using ed tech:Bers encourages teachers to view their class spaces as art rooms, where children aren’t directed to produce a correct answer, but instead to learn and discover. She also says it's important to embrace failure and, in rethinking assessment, to consider community events – such as inviting parents to see finished projects –  as a way for children to take pride in their work.After the early grades of elementary school, students rarely equate time spent in the classroom with fun. That’s arguably unfortunate for a number of reasons: For one, students who view learning as enjoyable may extend their educations and potentially career options. Plus, having fun also affects the brain chemically — helping children focus more keenly on their work and, as a result, engage and participate more in class activities.

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