This first week of CLMOOC has reminded me again of the power of connected learning. Don’t get me wrong…I am a connected learner all year long, but there is something about the intensity and playfulness of the CLMOOC that amplifies the effect. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to serve as a coach for an upcoming make, and when I learned the topic would be games I wondered just how much help I would be. In online spaces when someone says games, I immediately think of Minecraft and Halo and other video games.
Instead, our conversation went to stories about games from our childhood…games we made up, unstructured time when we were left to our own devices and “forced” to entertain ourselves. Terry brought up some research about the lack of games in children lives and I wondered how that could be true–aren’t people complaining that kids are too obsessed with gaming? That’s when our conversation got really interesting…when we realized that game had different connotations in different contexts. What we all worry about is how little time children seem to have that is unsupervised and free for imaginative play, exploration, making, and doing…not pre-structured by adults. (Many thanks for a rich, thought-provoking conversation Terry, Joe, Christina, and Michael!)
Here’s a link to the talk Terry had referred to:
My husband took today off from work and after we treated ourselves to breakfast out, we headed to the beach for a leisurely low tide walk. It was warm and sunny, but not too hot, perfect beach weather. And as we started walking I realized that my husband and I often make up our own games to keep our beach walks interesting. Our latest “game” has been to search for beach glass as we walk. It’s like a scavenger hunt, eyes tuned for the gleam of the glass worn by the tides. We have very little glass on our beaches–probably in large part because glass has been banned on our beaches for a decade. But when we started playing this game a few weeks ago, each find has become a treasure. Here’s today’s haul.
And Christina reminded me that my photography is a game. And it’s become even more so managing both #sdawpphotovoices–a monthly photo a day challenge and a weekly photo challenge that I post on my blog and for the NWP iAnthology. This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is #two…and I couldn’t resist snapping this photo of my husband fitting our flip flops in his pockets so we don’t have to carry them on our walk. He puts one of each of our shoes in the pocket since mine are smaller (two of his shoes won’t fit in one pocket!).
I also took some photos that I knew I would use to play around with filters and effects. This “still life” seemed perfect for trying out a new app (thanks Bonnie for pointing to it) called painteresque. I love the effect!
And then today I added yet another game to my photographic repertoire. I’ve been wanting to take photos of “found alphabet” letters. My rule (self-imposed) is that I have to photograph it as it is, I don’t get to arrange it. Here’s a couple I found at the beach today.
Here’s a Y from kelp:
An M I found in the cliffs:
An O formed by a sea anenome:
And who can resist the i made of bird poop! (And it was washed away by a wave right after I snapped it!)
And part of the fun of these games is playing them with others. It’s fun to search for beach glass with my husband, celebrating each find. And taking photos is even more fun when others play along and we can share with each other and learn from each other.
I’m hoping that others will join me in the found alphabet fun. I’m thinking I have two different “sets” I am searching for: found in nature and found on the beach.
What I love best about the CLMOOC is the spirit of playfulness and the ways we build on each others’ ideas and makes. We are free to explore, to play, and to hack the structures presented. The connections are essential because they motivate and encourage and urge us on to try one more thing. And thanks Terry, Joe, Christina, and Michael and the rest of you CLMOOC-ers for reminding me that I do know about games. Now I can’t wait for the game-focused make cycle! I’m already making up new games!