What is the role of play in tech?

Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.’

2017 has been a busy year for Nano Simbox (can you believe it’s June?). We are regularly at large events and exhibitions for teachers and their students to explore our immersive digital platform. There’s always one thing that is really obvious when students use Nano Simbox. Learners love to use Nano Simbox to physically interact with molecules – twirling them, trying to squash them, throwing them around or trying to push and pull them.

What is the real benefit of having our molecular simulations right in front of you or at your fingertips?

Play.

What’s so important about play in technology and learning?

Nano Simbox & PlayIt’s at the core of all of us. From a young age, we are learning through the medium of playing. It’s our creative imagination. It develops our inquisitiveness, gives us confidence, and helps us to communicate with our peers. The process of itself is lending itself to exploratory learning. It’s importance during your learning years is invaluable, and that’s why we’ve included it as one of our 10 core teaching and learning principles at Nano Simbox.

Play is needed to learn and create new learning pathways. Play is simply an innate way that allows us to follow our own leads of enquiry and curiosity – creating new areas of interest and ultimately learning. Play should not be underestimated in its power to drive enquiry through the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation it provides.

We have seen students who use Nano Simbox delve into the molecular world, and their playful nature leads to seeds of curiosity – what happens when I use force to collide two molecules? The action itself creates a thought process that the learner is eager to discover.

It’s important to note that by using technology as a visual and interactive aid, we can create a new learning journeys for students in an engaging way. Technology has quickly become the way of communicating. I have seen 5 year old children use a tablet without any issues at all, as if it was second nature. Our youngest fan of Molecules & Me is just 4 years old, and by playing with the molecules they are already gaining familiarity with what they look like.

While traditional play continues to have heaps of benefits, technology such as Nano Simbox allows us to go one step further. Who would have thought a decade Play-NSBago that children could learn about molecules through intricate molecular simulations? It opens the door to new opportunities previously thought impossible. Not only can children go on their own learning journey, but they can do this as a community, and as the next generation of scientists.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the value of play through technology. Tweet us @nanosimbox