IMC Bootcamp on Play and Learning Part I - the qualitative lenses

Documenting, analyzing and evaluating Playful Learning Experiences with qualitative methods

2016.02.29 | Katrin Heimann

Date Wed 30 Mar
Time 09:30 16:30
Location IMC Meeting Room

Due to recent exciting new collaborations to be officially announced soon, some of the bootcamps of 2016 will be dedicated to the exploration of play and playful learning.

The topic of the day:

Play is an ambiguous and fleeting human endeavor, sometimes appearing as a brief flash during serious work, and sometimes as a prolonged shared activity mediated by tools, toys or imagination alone.

So how do we study play experiences, as they float into work, learning and social interaction? 

In this bootcamp, we zoom in on the ways play behaviors, play experiences and playful learning can be observed through qualitative lenses.

The presenters discuss their work in play research and describe their chosen tools ranging from field studies in video game- and technology infused classrooms, to conversation analyses of children’s play interactions.


The bootcamp is set up to allow participants to gain an overview and inspiration on the methods discussed in general, as well as playful learning more specifically.



Invited speakers :

- Andreas Lieberoth (

Introduction to Topic

Lars Geer Hammershøj (

Indications of the cultivation and creative processes of play

Before observing play we have to understand what play is. I argue that play is the original forms of human creativity and cultivation of man. In my research, I have attempted to conceptualize the processes of creativity and cultivation as affective processes of transcendence and judgment.  The processes of transcendence are indicated by shifts in mood, whereas the processes of judgment are indicated by the expressions of bivalence emotions. Building on this, I present a conceptualization of these processes in play and attempt to identify the affective indicators of play.   


- Mariane Hedegaard  (

Play observation and how this has to be anchored in theoretical concepts to allow interpretation

The Oak Tree a morning in January 2014. Focus children: Leyla og Else; Two pedagogues

1. There are activities going on at three of the tables in the room. The pedagogue sits together withsome of the youngest children who are drawing at one of the tables. At the largest table are twogirls Else and Leyla (both 5 years) playing with small dolls. They have two extendabledollhouses. They move some dolls between the houses and talk.
2. Leyla says, "We need to relax" and "When are we going to school?"
3. Else: "Oh, why should I be late? I do not want to. Princesses come on time! "Leyla: "You are right on time to get to school, no one is there yet!"
4. Leyla make her voice brighter and says: "The prince must also attend school (she moves a character who is a man in armor on horseback).Between the two girls are now collected seven figures.
5. A pedagogue enters the room with a toy airplane. She puts it on the table.
6. Leyla: "It's ours!”
7. A boy of four from the other room comes in and says: "It is not!" "
8. Else: "Yes!"
9. The boy points to some of the figures and says: "And we also need these. We also have aqueen.”
10. Else: "Can I see?" She gets up to follow the boy to the other room. She says on the way out:"You get this [toy airplane], if we get the queen!" Leyla follows. Shortly after they come backwith a new doll; a girl with wings in the style of the other figures at the table.
11. Else says to Leyla: "Come on, now we will play." She takes Lise’s hand and leads her back tothe table.
12. The girls move the figures around. Leyla mentions the word ‘detention’. Else said: "We shouldnot be in detention, because we were so decent and did everything the teacher said.

Questions to work with:Children’s interactions in an activity setting create each child’s social situation What is the children’s intentions? How can these be used to formulate the children’s motive orientation? Why is it important to understand children’s intentions, and motive orientations forunderstanding their learning and development ?Children learn through the demands they meet participating in activities in activity settings What demands are there and how can they be interpreted in the extract? How do demands from different practice influence the activity settings? Can you find demands on different levels in this extract? What change through children’s demands?What is learning then, and can we say anything about children’s learning from this extract?

Stine Liv Johansen (


Media Use and Children's play

Children's playful, everyday uses of media and technologies are often overlooked in research approaches focused on e.a. digital technologies in the classroom. By combining media ethnographic methods with a focus on mediatized play practices, different perspectives might appear, broadening our understanding of the role of digital technologies in children's lives. In my talk, I will draw on different studies that I have carried out over the last decade, while focusing on methodological issues related to multisited ethnography,children's voices, research positions, and the role of the digital in relation to different practices and artifacts. Further, I will discuss playfulness as a specific lense through which everyday media use might be nuanced.

- Thorkild Hanghøj (

Collaborate or die! Studying different aspects of collaboration in game-based learning environments 

My talk will focus on the educational value of collaboration in game-based learning environments. The examples include the educational use of debate games (The Power Game) and multiplayer computer games (Minecraft, Torchlight II), which illustrate different aspects of collaboration among students/players. I will discuss the uses of group interviews and video observations in the context of classroom game play. Finally, I wish to discuss future ideas for investigating educational collaborative gaming. 


General information about the Bootcamp format:

Once a month the IMC is organizing a full-day interactive workshop, featuring a hot topic in cognitive neuroscience research.  

Each workshop is one or two days long and open to a small crowd of people (30-40). It is an opportunity to present latest results, but more importantly, thought of as a space to discuss different approaches (e.g. theoretical enquiries, observations, various behavioural data, physiological measures, imaging methodologies) to look at the same phenomena with regard to questions, such as: 

- What are the premises of these methods? What do they actually assess? Which assumptions are made when used to look at the phenomenon of interest? What conceptual implications does that have? How do they inform each other or can they be combined, considering all this, without problems? 

- How do we apply these questions to research involving interacting individuals (n


To allow this, the event is structured as follows:

- The morning starts with an introductory lecture, giving a short and more historical overview and presenting general outstanding questions.  

- Then, 2-3 methodological lectures, each presenting one approach

- Finally, a informal discussion with all participants about questions that have emerged and challenges for future research. Time for talks and discussions is usually almost 50/50. 

Lenses are always chosen for their crossdisciplinary interest, so wether you are an veteran in the field or just curious, the IMC bootcamps are a great place to jump in aided by the foremost international experts in the fields.