Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Encouraging Imperfection, Embracing Not-yetness, Almost-thereness

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Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 57 seconds

I took a huge risk today with my students. I had them take the educational games they designed, and I asked them to play them at the foyer of our library. I invited faculty, librarians and friends to come (some don’t even work on campus and they came!) and I asked them to invite their friends to come, and to call people coming into the library to study to take a break and come play.

It’s a risk because I only see my students for 4 weeks and whatever they produce is imperfect. Even after I looked at their prototypes and they revised it, it’s imperfect. I give imperfect feedback 🙂 and they have millions of things to do.

But it’s still beautiful work they produce. Creative, which is the key goal of the course. And it all has so much potential, which is what matters. Here are their initial descriptions of their games (they solicited feedback from my twitter network and got great tips).

In one way, I wanted them to play imperfect games and think of how to improve them. One group told me today how they kept tweaking the rules with each iteration of the game. Another group told me how they created a simpler “mission” for their game to make it manageable within 15 minutes to finish their game. One group created a survey to get feedback on their game (not something they were required to do).

All in all, I think it was a good risk to take. There was a lot of joy and pride and just plain fun going on after the initial anxiety of having their work displayed. I pushed them to make themselves vulnerable and they shone.

Check out the photos I tweeted to the #gameseg hashtag.

So I think I’m gonna borrow Amy Collier’s (now very popular) term “not-yetness”, which I take to be an embracing of emergence, of “almost-thereness” 🙂

I keep wondering if i should be teaching my students more about things like game mechanics and dynamics and aesthetics and stuff, but it all feels like words, when the fun and creativity that comes out of them when they play, reflect, and construct and re-construct seems like so much more learning and so much more than I can imagine. Every single time. It gets me every single time. I love my undergrads 🙂

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