Designing Engaged Learning through Making and Play


NMDS 5286A

Instructors: Nitin Sawhney (School of Media Studies) and Lisa Grocott (Parsons School of Art, Media and Technologies)

Thursdays 4:00 - 6:45 pm (offered next in Fall 2015)

The course critically examines concepts, practices and innovations in designing learning environments and platforms through experiential, participatory, hands-on making, tinkering and playful modes of engagement. We examine the pedagogical ideas of critical literacy by Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal; child-centered experiential learning by Jean Piaget; psychology of play and imagination by Vygotsky; pedagogical practices of Maria Montessori; constructionist learning by Seymour Papert; and feminist perspectives on distributed learning by Anne Balsamo. We will consider emerging and future learning environments through networked communities, distributed technologies, and maker/hacker spaces, and their role in creating new forms of cultural production, participatory learning, and civic agency. We will also examine critical modes of learning in under-resourced and contested contexts including Theater of the Oppressed, game play and youth media for human rights. As part of a semester-long project combining theory and practice students are encouraged to investigate and propose novel pedagogical concepts, curricula, tools and platforms, while devising participatory peer-based assessment, particularly for informal learning environments beyond the classroom.


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