IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


The ways we play: digital communication and creativity | RFTRW: S09E04

10 May 2021

Play can mean everything, and sometimes nothing at all – and that’s ok. Research for the Real World dips into the highly imaginative realm of children’s play.

Research for the Real World episode featuring John Potter

John Potter, Professor of Media in Education, UCL Knowledge Lab.

Professor John Potter credits his early career as an East London primary school teacher as a key influence in his research interest in digital media and play. It’s in no way a surprise for RFTRW host Dr Keri Wong to hear that play connects to children’s lives in a way that the statutory curriculum doesn’t.

We hear about the enchanting Ministry of Stories which provided literacy experiences instead of classes and consider how the parallels between imaginative play and augmented and virtual reality can help to construct immersive storytelling.

We think about how TikTok and social media are providing templates from which children construct all sorts of games, what this means, and whether parents should be wary of technology's role in modern play. We also expect to see ways the Covid-19 pandemic has influenced children’s games, which John is investigating via the Play Observatory project.

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Professor John Potter with the artefact and zine from the 'Location-based Virtual Reality experiences for children: Japan-UK knowledge exchange network' project.

Professor John Potter holding a copy of a zine
Professor John Potter holding a copy of a zine