Mozilla Clubs are expected to be open, playful, and fun for those attending and teaching. Instead of relying on conventional learning methods that include watching & listening, we encourage facilitators to use engaging, inclusive and fun ways for sharing knowledge.
“[…] research has repeatedly shown that the benefits associated with play are profound and wide-ranging. Following a meta-analysis of 800 studies, […] there was cogent evidence for the positive impact of play on developmental outcomes. Play was found to significantly promote cognitive and social aspects of development.”
In Mozilla Clubs, we understand that playfulness in learning goes beyond the concept of “entertainment”, and takes advantage of this special human capacity to explore and understand the world through “playing”. It recognizes that we are not only Homo Sapiens, but also Homo Ludens “Man the Player”.
Games are an integral part of all cultures and are one of the oldest forms of human social interaction, from the ancient Greek Olympics to the latest computer games. For man, the game has a serious purpose, which has to do with the strategy, the rule and the concentration of major life activities.
While the game tends to disappear in most of adult mammals, it persists and even evolves in the human adult world according to multiple modes, and is supported by specific institutions.
Play in the learning process
Through games, we learn new skills and develop expertise. By providing simulated environments and situations, it gives us the opportunity to try, make mistakes without fear and learn from them.
In this video, produced by the Connected Learning Alliance, Professor and Game designer Katie Salen, explains the contribution of gaming in the learning process.
1.2 How fun connects to engaging?
“People don’t pay attention to boring things. Emotional arousal helps the brain learn. ” Medina (2008), Brain Rules, 94.
In some contexts we’ve been taught that using the word FUN to learn can be dangerous because it is understood as a waste of time or mere entertainment. However, education specialist Joni Dunlap from the University of Colorado, asks us to stand up to reclaim the concept of FUN in education. She believes that with the correct intention and learning purposes, it is not only appropriate but also highly effective. When you make the learning process compelling you allow people to enjoy and get into the flow… in other words, you get people ENGAGED.
In this video, Mozilla curriculum developer Chad Sansing shares with us how students get engaged: “Games give students experience on how to solve problems, a real sense of cause and effect and tools to constructively work out of bad situations. Students love to learn and use games to set their own learning goals”.
Mozilla participated in a gaming session for the SPARK Hackathon in Charlottesville, VA in which participants formed teams to tackle real-world problems.
The outcomes were inspiring. Chad Sansing, Curriculum Developer at Mozilla, and facilitator of this session said, “The prototypes our groups presented delivered everything I hoped for from the event. With minimal big picture coaching on the Open Web and targeted technical help from a few mentors, our teams captured their ideas about online freedom, openness, and privacy. At the end the consensus among the judges seemed to be that the quality of work produced by attendees rivaled that of undergraduate students working in areas like computer science and biomedical engineering”.