I love the fact that every child in human culture plays. Creativity, problem solving, coping are all skills that are developed through play. And, it seems to me, so many aspects of human existence are role-played in play: joy, love, fear, romance, anger, and so on. But of course, cultural norms and expectations are also a force in determining the boundaries of play. Children are often gendered, classed, racialized, etc. in play scenarios. This is an interesting dynamic. In a sense children can imagine a (any) future or create their own worlds yet these imaginings may conflict with hegemonic structures leading to admonishment, shame, or punishment. Play is clearly a primary agent in the construction of a society, community or family, in potentially positive and negative ways.
I relate so much to the discussed shift in our culture with children being over-supervised and over-scheduled. When I was a child, I was told to go out and play. I might disappear for the whole day. There were no cell phones and my whereabouts was often not known by my parents. I’m sure at times they worried but this was the way it was for all my friends. Now, my friends who have children are so different. Most are over-supervising and over-scheduling their kids (in my opinion). And I see how fear-based it is. I can’t help but feel that the media plays a major role in prompting and perpetuating this fear. I’m not convinced that children are any more in danger now than they were when I was young.
I’m not saying that my friend’s children don’t play or that there aren’t opportunities for playing with both adults and peers. But it’s very different. What’s lost seems to be about taking risks, working out problems with peers, decision making, self-care, self-responsibility. I wonder how this will be revealed in their adulthood.
I love the concept of a multimodal classroom/education. I believe it fosters amazingly creative ways of making meaning. So I was very interested in the Research essay and how it looked at multimodal research. It was key to understand multimodal not merely as a method for conducting research but as a feature of the places studied. The ideas of action/reaction, material semiotics, and interactivity, for this essay examined in an exhibit, are very similar to how multimodality functions in the classroom. I am interested in learning more about hypermodality, hypertext + multimodality, ‘the new interactions of word-, image- and sound-based meanings . . . linked in complex networks or webs’.