Changing Currents in Education and Public Life
Edited by Lynn Book and David Phillips
Chapter 5: Worldplay as creative practice and educational strategy
The invention of imaginary worlds, or worldplay, has much to offer educational efforts to teach for deep understanding and creativity. Close examination reveals a powerful tool for learning and constructing knowledge. Natural worldplay in childhood may prepare for creativity in adulthood; mature worldplay at work proves a viable strategy for developing novel, effective knowledge across the arts and sciences. A range of educational efforts mimicking imaginary world invention are explored here, as well as their promise and limitations in light of natural worldplay. Further development and practice of worldplay in education, as well as its extracurricular encouragement, may facilitate the acquisition of imaginative skills and behaviors and thus cultivate society’s creative capital. Worldplay is a complex form of pretend play involving the repeated evocation of an imaginary or parallel place, a paracosm. This place may be as fantastic as a land of talking toys or as realistic as a human colony on Mars. It may entail made-up systems (e.g., sports games, social networks, political institutions) or fictional beings or constructed languages.
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