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Deep Play Group

Play is the highest form of research. — Albert Einstein

What is “Deep Play”?

By deep-play we mean an engagement with rich problems of pedagogy, technology and content and their inter-relationships. Deep-play is creative, seeking to construct new ways of seeing the world, and new approaches to using technology, in order to develop creative pedagogical solutions.

Taken from Deep-play: developing TPACK for 21st century teachers


The 50 members in your cohort have a wide range of interests. Moreover, each of us has topics that we would like to learn more about. It is difficult, if not impossible, for us the instructors, to meet each and every of of these interests and needs.

The Deep Play groups are a way for members of the cohort  to engage and interact with each other around of topics of shared interest. Think of it as an opportunity to explore, create, and share ideas in a risk-free, playful manner. In other words, the Deep Play Groups are inter-disciplinary teams focused on developing a better understanding of a specific topic related to teaching and learning in the STEM disciplines.

Topics may range from integrating coding in a K12 context, to learning to use 3D printing in your classroom, from the implementation of problem-based learning to the use of digital simulations in the teaching of mathematics. Here is a list of sample topics. You don’t need to restrict yourself to this list:

  • Multimodal composition
  • Coding
  • Maker movement
  • PBL (Problem Based Learning)
  • Simulations in the science classroom
  • Project-based learning
  • Creative forms of assessment
  • STEAM / art forms for understanding
  • Video Creation
  • Gamification
  • Learning by Design
  • Creativity
  • Augmented Reality
  • Fun Professional Development Models
  • Genius Hour
  • Blended Learning

Your topics must be something you are interested in learning but haven’t had a chance to learn or understand.

We will form these groups during our face-to-face session this summer, when you meet as a group with your advisors. Each advisee group will be divided into two smaller Deep Play groups ranging from 4 to 6 members per group.

Deep Play Group Outcomes:

You will create a page on your website that is related to your Deep Play group and place all of the work or links to Deep Play products on this page.

Within the advisee groups, we will start by developing two teams and identify the topics you will explore. Over the summer you will start your research, specifically focusing on the following:

  • What do you want/need to know about your topic?
  • What else is there to learn about your topic?
  • What materials/resources do you need to explore your topic?
  • Develop a way to curate your resources and strategies for how your group will keep track of and share articles, blogs, books, etc. read by team members? (ex: Google Doc, Diigo, Google Site/Group, Facebook Group, etc.)
  • You will utilize this throughout the year to share your learning with your team.  By the end of the year, you will have compiled a comprehensive list of favorite resources around your Deep Play related topic using this tool.
  • Since some important part of this work will happen after the summer, you will need to develop a plan to connect with team members on a regular basis to keep this work going. Groups will meet as often as needed to accomplish the tasks. If you need help setting up tools to meet, your advisor can help.

By the end of the summer, you should:

  • Be a member of a Deep Play group
  • Have a topic selected
  • Have developed protocols for how you would approach the topic.
  • Create a video introducing your topic and how you will go about playing and exploring it. (Due August 9) — read here for details.

Finally, over the year, you will be working towards accomplishing the following tasks with your Deep Play group. Here is a quick snapshot:

  • Introduction Video (Late Summer)
  • Book Review (Fall)
  • Newsletter (Spring)
  • Conference Presentation (depending on the date)

There is a lot more happening with the groups in fall and spring –  and you will be informed of it in due time.


Tinker Tale: Take 1

Tinker Tale Take 1: Make a quick video journal introducing your Deep Play Topic! Simply record yourself talking to the camera, telling your new friends about your play time so far. Your video should include: Your name and the members of your group. Talk about your group’s goals and your individual goals. Share what you’ve learned so …