Last time, I shared Shall We Play?, a report funded by the Gates Foundation and distributed by the Annenberg Innovation Lab. Today, we are releasing its companion report, PLAY (Participatory Learning and YOU!), which is authored by Erin Reilly, Vanessa Vartabedian, Laurel Felt, and Henry Jenkins. It continues our exploration of insights gained from our year-long work with elementary and secondary teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District as they sought to develop a more participatory environment in their classroom.
Through this research, our teams has identified five core principles for participatory learning:
1. Participants have many chances to exercise creativity through diverse media, tools, and practices;
2. Participants adopt an ethos of co-learning, respecting each person’s skills and knowledge;
3. Participants experience heightened motivation and engagement through meaningful play;
4. Activities feel relevant to the learners’ identities and interests;
5. An integrated learning system – or learning ecosystem – honors rich connections between home, school, community and world.
In this report, we will discuss each of these principles, describing specific examples of how they were applied through the workshop process, what impact they had on the teachers and students involved, and what some of the challenges we face in bringing about this kind of change within the current public schools system.