Play Based Learning

Educators in both formal and informal learning spaces aim to use technologies to provide collaborative learning experiences. We developed and implemented a body tracking system with a group of primary students (6-8yrs) and found that the use of collaborative technology allowed for agency when engaging in play based science lessons. Educational Context and Design We developed an open source software called OpenPtrack to make consumer hardware accessible to educators and institutions at a low cost. OpenPTrack enables real-time position tracking of many students in a large space, which gave students the chance to embody science content through unique costume assignment in a mixed reality environment (Danish, et al., 2015). The study’s science unit on ecosystems focused students on the importance of the distributed system that honey bees follow to gather nectar for the hive (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Students played as a bee on a screen through their body movements in an active tracking area. When implemented in play based learning, OpenPTrack allowed multiple students to collaborate and explore in the tracking space concurrently (Heath & Lehn, 2008). Findings and Implications Without the barriers of the mouse and keyboard, learners using OpenPTrack were able to embody a bee through their bodies, giving them agency in their interactions with the science phenomena. The use of OpenPTrack in the play based learning environments resulted in opportunities for students to collaborate and test their misconceptions on the science phenomena in a risk free environment. While formal learning environments that emphasize achieving learning goals compromise the benefits of play, OpenPtrack in play based learning focused on using student curiosity to elicit observations, questions, and predictions on their own learning experience. We found that the body tracking system promoted student agency in their scientific thinking by furthering the playful, embodied, and collaborative interaction with the content. Speakers Session Leader : Christine Lee, Doctoral Candidate, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Co-Presenter : Randy Illum, Doctoral Student, University of California, Los Angeles MCN 2016 Presenting Sponsor: Piction New Orleans, LA