Unhappy families: using tabletop games as a technology to understand play in education
In this article, we argue that tabletop games provide a helpful means of rethinking the affordances of digital games in pedagogy. We argue that tabletop games offer a distinctive technology from digital games in exploring the idea of play as experience, providing a sociable, accessible and tactile platform that can easily be adapted by players to suit their needs. At a workshop session at an international conference on play in education, we used tabletop games to enable discussion and observation of play. This workshop suggested that, rather than a singular definition, tabletop play means different things to different people, and what is ‘counted as’ play depends upon both individual and group interactions. Building upon this discussion, in this article, we return to both tabletop and digital games to discuss the idea of play as experience, especially with regard to the use of technology in educational settings, and how games might be seen as less ‘predictable’ than other technologies. We hope that this discussion provides future inspiration to other scholars who are considering the use of tabletop games in both pedagogical and technological research.
Published: 9 May 2018
This paper is part of the Special Collection: Playful Learning Conference, edited by Fiona Smart and Mark Langan. More papers from this collection can be found here.
Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2018, 26: 2027 - http://dx.doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.2027
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors contributing to Research in Learning Technology retain the copyright of their article and at the same time agree to publish their articles under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.