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Editors’ Choice: Can Ivanhoe Facilitate Playful Learning Both In and Out of the Classroom?

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation –Plato

From the beginning of the year, the Praxis cohort recognized ‘play’ as one of the key aspects of the Ivanhoe experience. Yet, how does play shape Ivanhoe? What are the effects of this play? In previous years, the focus has been on the role of play in the classroom, but we considered from the beginning, as expressed in our Praxis Charter, that Ivanhoe might be useful, fun, and even educational for other communities as well. Is Ivanhoe relevant–educationally or otherwise–for established, self-motivated textual play, like fan fiction and collaborative creative writing? Is the original educational conception and identity of Ivanhoe lost if such communities do use it? Or does ‘education’ expand to include informal opportunities to learn and grow outside of the classroom?  As we still struggle with the identity of our players, it is important to consider what exactly Ivanhoe does, how it does it, and for whom it is relevant. In this blog, I will start at the beginning: What is play? Can it be educational? How is it educational? Is it something that we can foster or produce within a formal setting? And finally, how does Ivanhoe provide a unique experience that incorporates aspects of both play and education?

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This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief Amanda Morton based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: Molly Hardy and Maria Manuel Borges