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What is Playful? - our hopes for playshops

Noboru Kobayashi M.D. (Japan)

What is the biological basis of being "playful" for children? I think that "playful" is a state of "joie de vivre" induced by play, which is generated by a full rotation of the innate programs of body and mind of children.

The programs are switched on by information, which is logical or sensitive. Sensitive information is important for "playful," since it switches on the programs of mind. If the programs of the mind are not switched on by sensitive information, the programs of body do not function well with any information.

Play is something like an extempore drama, where unexpected new or newer information always emerges. This new or newer information further activates the programs of body and mind. Through experiencing this new information by being "playful," children can alter information to knowledge. Therefore playing interacts with learning in "playful."

Takemochi Ishii M.D. (Japan)

What I expect from Playshop
When children do something they enjoy and play, they are very focused. And, when they take pleasure and become totally absorbed in something, they bring their abilities into full play in a way that cannot compare with the act of passively listening to their teachers at school. Each summer for the past five years, we have held a Multimedia Family Camp that lets children experience the latest media. And, every year, I am amazed at their ability to use media. It is important to teach children how to use computers in classes at school, but they probably aren't able to exercise their abilities to this extent. This year, the theme of the camp was "wearable," and we had the children make their own clothes containing portable computers which they created in an instant with incredible concentration. You could see this in their eyes that were shining with excitement. I hope that the people who participate in Playful this time will have experiences that also make their eyes shine with excitement. It would also be wonderful if the experiences here serve to make each of our lives more playful.

Playful experiences
I have a playful time when I am talking to students. And, the most enjoyable time is when we are eating and just having conversation. Of course, I find it rewarding when we are discussing research topics, but there is nothing better than when we forget difficult ideas and just relax. But, it is strange that even when we are relaxing and talking about something totally unrelated, there are times when I suddenly have a great idea concerning a research theme. That is probably because I find myself having an enjoyable and rewarding time without my even being aware of it. Human beings shouldn't concentrate on one thing and be tense all the time; they also need time to unwind. Isn't a playful time precisely this interval when this tension is broken? Participants and staff will be totally engrossed in cooperating towards a single goal at this large-scale event, but when it is over and everyone feels relieved and begins to talk about it, this may be when the real playful time begins.

Yoshiro Miyata Ph.D. (Japan)

In the playshop, I look forward to share the joy of creating another playful and intimate moment with people in the world of living.

Miya Omori Ed.D. (Japan)

On November 28, I hope to dream with the participants of the playshop so they may go away with a playful spirit and make meaning of their dreams today and always. I wish for these dreams to become the twinkling star in their playful design of learning-scapes, lifestyles and relationships. I am also looking forward to working with the many experts and specialists in various fields of education, theater, fashion, psychology and music, so we can help each other understand and add to our professional dreams!

Lehan Ramsay (Japan)

To me, this class is a little bit of fun because I like to actually do things. In the other classes, I just take notes, and then take notes, and oh, I also take notes, too. It's the only thing to do. Take the notes. This class is different. I can move around. Not exactly moving around, but interacting. This class is an "interactivity". It's in 3-D.

That is the same reason why I like technology and art classes as well. I don't just take notes, I do. I create. I've never liked language class, anyway. I can't do anything. The teacher is the only one alive. We're all dead out here. The teacher is talking to a bunch of corpses. The teacher must be bored, too.
I think that the teachers and the students should interact, just like in this class. The air should be moving. The air between us and the teacher.

This is a quote from one of my students; a second year junior high school student. He said it better than anything I could ever say. THE AIR SHOULD BE MOVING.

Nobuyuki Ueda Ed.D. (Japan)

Now I am very excited to be improvising a playful moment with you at the CRN+Mudpie playshop. I would like to bring my spirit from the Yoshino River and inspire your innovative minds. See you all at the party!!

Hillel Weintraub (Japan)

For the "Designing PLAYFUL! Learning Environments" event sponsored by CRN in November, I want to help others be energized with the spirit of "I can be a playful designer of my relationships, my learning, and my life!"

Edith K. Ackermann Ph.D. (U.S.A.)

I dream the playshop as a "life theater," a transitional place of sorts, where participants come together to imagine/play-out scenarios of what it means to learn, grow and relate. The stage is filled with props, at different degrees of finition, that players bring to life through their enactment. Participants put on different masks, take on different roles.
As in children's pretense, we will be playwrights and actors. We will create our worlds, fictional or real, inhabit our creations, and become inhabited by them. We will not recite scripts written by others. I cannot imagine a better setting to cast the significance of engagement in learning, design, to grasp the multiplicity of ways of knowing, or relating to the world.

Milton Chen Ph.D. (U.S.A.)

In the playshop, I look forward to meeting new colleagues from Japan and co-creating learning environments that reach across cultures and languages.

Ruth Cox Ph.D. (U.S.A.)

I am excited to spend time with you improvising, and exploring new ways to use creative expression as well as share some ideas from my own work. I am looking forward to writing, drawing, moving, making sound / music, and creating some new, innovative modes of playful learning together!

Jogi Panghaal (India)

My recent attempts have been to evolve a common platform or a connecting language between the artisans, users of their services and designers so that a new creative, sustainable dynamic emerges for making of both product or services. Key to this, I suspect is the notion of play. I feel that a playful platform is what would create, using Hillel's term, a dancing dialogue between the three players (artisan,user and designer). It is through play that a created entity shifts its centres from an artisan's body to the body of the object and then on/into the body of the user. What is the 'gross domestic play' in a society might well be an important measure of our wellbeing in the coming century.

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