From Magic Micros to Magic Circle: A Manifesto for Playful Learning

Has learning lost its magic and, if so, what can we do?

In recent years, we have seen an increased emphasis on performance measures in our education systems, leading to more pressure on students and teachers to demonstrate their achievements. Formal education has become more focused on evidencing accomplishment and less on fostering deep engagement in learning.

Nicola WhittonProf. Nicola Whitton will argue that in this drive for measurable attainment, we have eroded the mystery, wonder, fun, excitement, joy, surprise, passion – the magic – from education, and that this deficit will have far-reaching negative consequences for individuals and society. A system obsessed with adherence to metrics and prescriptive measurement inevitably rewards conformity and avoids risk-taking and innovation. We are in danger of relinquishing our right to fail.

Nicola will consider theoretical perspectives on motivation, engagement and play and highlight lessons learned from her own research in the field of games and learning. She will reimagine the purpose and value of education, and show how games can inform the theory and practice of teaching and learning. She will contend that playful learning presents a real opportunity to bring back the magic to education.

The lecture will start at 6:00pm with refreshments served from 5:30pm in the Brooks Building Atrium.

To book a ticket follow this link.

Nicola Whitton is Professor at the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on digital innovation in learning and teaching and, in particular, games and learning in the context of Higher Education. Her research interests include interaction design, the impact of motivation and engagement, active learning design and the pedagogy of play. She has led research projects in gaming for older adults, collaborative game building as a learning approach, alternate reality games for student induction, and her most recent project investigates the impact of game-based neuroscience-informed pedagogy on science learning. Her first book, Learning with digital games, based on her PhD thesis, was published in 2010, and her more recent book, Digital Games and Learning: Research and Theory (2014), has received considerable international attention.


How do I get to the venue?

Information on travel to the Brooks Building and parking can be found here

What are my parking options at the event?

The Brooks Building multi-storey car park (and visitor’s car park) is open to the public and free of charge after 5pm weekdays.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?


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