Why I play

Art by Lena Torikov

Before I bought my iPad, people would ask me what I planned to do with it. Why was I spending so much money? Was I certain it was worth it? How was the iPad going to be different from a notebook? Should I buy an iPhone instead?

I couldn’t answer any of these questions with any certainty. That’s why I was buying an iPad – to play, to gain an understanding of what an iPad enabled me to do, to figure out if iPads played a role in the changing face of learning in schools.

There’s nothing wrong with putting forward a suggestion before you have all the answers. I didn’t and don’t have all the answers for iPads in education, but I don’t want to wait until the time when it’s safe, when the majority of educators have understood the value of iPads and accepted their place in schools. If I wait that long, I’ll be on the tail end of a movement that doesn’t stay still. I won’t be a forward thinking educator but a safe follower who calls out for others to wait up.

If I waited until I was sure, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Where am I now? I’m on the road to finding out. The iPad apps session I recently did with staff at school was a way in – despite the best advice to hold off because I only had one iPad to pass around, to hold off because iPad education wasn’t a realistic option at my school, because people weren’t ready, because because…

Play is an essential part of being a teacher – it’s the learning part of teaching. Play is experimenting, discovery, it’s creative, it’s action, it moves into a new space. Wouldn’t it be great if play was compulsory at school? Instead of instruction from teachers to students, play would put everyone on the same playing field. Risk would be a prerequisite.

If we wait until it’s safe to do something, we’ve been left behind.

4 thoughts on “Why I play”

  1. Thank you for this affirming post. I’m about to get an iPad for the preserving English teachers I teach to play with. I’ve never had one to play with for long, but I figured the same as you – we’re not going to sit on our hands waiting for other people to tell us now to use this.

    It’s a shame that some people aren’t inclined to take risks with play. Also a shame that teaching can be such a draining job that people feel a lack of energy for play. What people don’t realise is that PLAY is RE-ENERGISING! But you can only find that out if you do it. So…

    Viva la iPad!
    Viva la contagious play!

    1. You’re right, Kelli, play IS re-energising! Here’s an idea for a #GTASYD project – collaborate to demonstrate how you can use Google tools/apps for play to make learning fun. Thanks for visiting my blog! I look forward to following your feedback about ipads for English teaching.

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