Playful Learning - The Kira Institute
Starting from a scientific world view - we ask the question, what else is true
HomeAbout the InstituteCurrent InitiativesPast InitiativesPublicationsContact
Home arrow About the Institute arrow Playful Learning
Playful Learning

The Kira Institute embraces a "playful exploration" approach to education and research, based on sharing and cooperation between participants through social networks. Our approach provides a gentle hand in guiding these informal social networks to maximize the learning and discovery taking place during "play."

Social networks provide a natural bridge between play and learning, and while participants may be initially attracted to the "play" aspect of these exchanges, they often take away an unexpectedly useful body of knowledge. During "play" people relax; they open up and start sharing information and ideas that, in a more formal setting, they may have presumed to be irrelevant or uninteresting to others. It is precisely these "irrelevant" bits of information, shared through informal social networks, which facilitate a cross pollination, providing fresh angles and approaches to old problems. Rather than rejecting ideas that are not "ripe" enough to share, in a playful learning environment these "incomplete" ideas provide the very seeds from which collective fruit can grow.

Collaborations in the "playful exploration" approach take place on the level of "peer teaching" where participants acts as both teachers and students, and "peer research" where participants engage in collaborative projects. These projects create ways in which participants can build upon one another's ideas and experiences in a playful and structured setting, the combination of which allows a harnessing of their collective intelligence in a fresh and constructive way.

The notion of "play" as central to humanity has a long history. Johan Huizinga's influential book Homo Ludens (1938) made clear connections between human culture and human play. In a very practical manner, the `open source' movements of software development of the last twenty years have shown how playful volunteer-based approaches can effectively compete even with industry giants such as Microsoft. This open source approach has been hailed as a new way of combining both democracy and meritocracy in a global pluralistic world. However, the birth of modern science in the seventeenth century already had all these characteristics, and in fact, science could be called the oldest open-source movement.

The two key ingredients of science are playfulness and seriousness: a willingness to try out new ideas, no matter how crazy they may look at first, combined with a very serious critical investigation of those ideas. This combination of liberalism and conservatism is what has allowed modern science to grow and blossom over a time span of more than a dozen generations. In Kira we try to emulate this scientific approach, by combining the critical authenticity of our `roots' approach with the playfulness of a fully open exploration.

Home | About the Institute | Current Initiatives | Past Initiatives | Publications | Contact Site designed and developed by Josh Bergman
Copyright © Kira Institute. All rights reserved.