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Affordances of play for student agency and student-centered pedagogy Documents

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Affordances of play for student agency and student-centered pedagogy 

written by Noah S. Podolefsky, Daniel Rehn, and Katherine K. Perkins

While guided instruction can successfully focus students on concepts to be learned, this instructional approach can also reduce student agency and ownership of learning. Over the last two years, we have implemented PhET interactive computer simulations in middle school (MS) classrooms and found that "open play" can allow increased student agency and simultaneously lower barriers for student-centered pedagogy. In these MS classes, activities begin with 5-10 minutes of open play where students use the simulations without instruction. A moderately-guided, inquiry-based activity follows. In a study of classes with play versus no-play, we found that with play, the teacher focused on student ideas and science content, while without play the teacher employed more direct instruction.

Published January 24, 2013
Last Modified June 27, 2013