“Brains love play. Find a way to bring more play (or at least a sense of playfulness) into someone’s life, and you might just end up with a fan. (…) Brains evolved to play, and apparently the bigger the brain, the more likely it is to play. Play turns the brain on.” Creating Passionate Users (via InfoDesign) suggests a number of ways to make work more playful: games, festivities, and diversions.
I keep thinking that there are more ways we can take a playful approach to work. That we do, in fact, learn better and are more productive when we are having fun.
“It’s when we do this foolish, time-consuming, romantic, quixotic, childlike thing called play that we are most practical, most useful, and most firmly grounded in reality, because the world itself is the most unlikely of places, and it works in the oddest of ways, and we won’t make any sense of it by doing what everybody else has done before us. It’s when we fool about with the stuff the world is made of that we make the most valuable discoveries, we create the most lasting beauty, we discover the most profound truths. The youngest children can do it, and the greatest artists, the greatest scientists do it all the time.”
— Common sense has much to learn from moonshine: less grammar, more play
The above is quoted from an article about teaching children to write. I found it relevant to my own pursuits of teaching science and writing software. User interface design is education. The study of chemistry can be boring, but mixing baking soda and vinegar is inherently fun, especially the first time you do it. I think software can be fun too, even if there are no games, puzzles or cartoon characters.
“True education flowers at the point when delight falls in love with responsibility.”