I'm a HUGE fan of play. All sorts of good things happen when you give humans the opportunity to play. Stuart Brown talked about the vital nature of play in his TED talk and even wrote a book about it. One of the concerns of our new laptop program has to do with play. Adults were fearful that our students would play less during discretionary time periods once they started bringing computers to school each day. As a result of this concern, our school started putting out all sorts of balls, jump ropes, frisbees and other objects for the students to use during discretionary time blocks like recess and lunch. Guess what is happening? They are playing!
We even took a piece of sidewalk chalk and created a four square court...you should see the kids get in line to play. The line often times will run 5-10 people deep! I've even enjoyed jumping in on a few games (the game is much more difficult than I remember by the way).
I'm sure the laptops will inspire all sorts of interesting learning experiences for our teachers and students in the years to come. At this point, however, I'm quite excited that our laptops have simply inspired us to play more!
Its quite simple...build it and they will play.
Image of our makeshift foursquare court: