Learning by remixing: play and theater in schools

Internet/WWW has made remixing everyman’s right. Same time Internet/WWW has brought the idea of remixing to other types of media than audio. When the original meaning of remix “is an alternative version of a song, different from the original version” (Wikipedia), today remix can be a mixture of video clips, text and images, several images, applications and widgets with content, etc.

In Internet/WWW everything can me mixed with everything by everyone. That is simply the nature of the medium. Seriously.

Already some time ago Heny Jenkins wrote an article
Learning by remixing
. Jenkins writes how children have recently become much more producers of media than ever before. Today a majority of children make some media to the Web: write blogs, do digital images, videos, sounds, games. In all this activity remixing content from different sources plays an important role. When remembering that almost everything we teach today in schools – from the results of science to humanities – are results of lending and referring to, as well as appropriation and transformation of earlier works – we should actually encourage our children to remix. Do we?

Behind the expanding enthusiasm of creating is the enabling technology: the nature of Internet/WWW (it is made for remixing) and the nature of digital commodity. As a material “digital stuff” is so flexible that you can make out of it whatever you want. You can shape it, carve it, glue it, add in it, color it and add in it other pieces of digital stuff – remix it. And yes you may share it.

If the enabling technology has been the factor that opened the flow of creativity doesn’t it mean that being creative is pretty inborn quality of us humans?

Doesn’t all this means that our creativity has been blocked?

Why? By whom?

I am right now listening my 4-year old playing with her 5-year old friend in a room next to. They are on their way to Africa. They have some jewels with them to protect them in their trip. They also have magic juice to get similar kind of forces Pippi Longstocking has. The trip is long and sailing all they way to Africa can be hard. It is actually so long that now they decided to take some of the magic juice to have the skill of flying. When flying over the sea they see an island where is Moomins home. They stop by to say hello for them. Then it is time to continue the trip.

The play continues and evolves freely. Everything is possible. Free play is beautiful example of ultimate remixing.

In my daughter’s kindergarten children do play. I have the feeling that the whole place is build around the idea of free play. They actually have research groups and they do some progressive inquiry. This year they have investigated “change”. Still, if children are playing the way I just heard them playing in here, I am pretty sure the teachers will understand its value, connections to “change” and will not disturb them.

What happens when children go to school? Do they loose playing? Unfortunately, very often they do. When they do not play they hardly have a chance to remix.

Today I went to see a pretty absurd theater play that was another example of ultimate remixing. The play Sudenmorsian (The Wolf’s Bride) is written by Aino Kailas , Finnish – Estonian author who lived in the early 1900’s. The play is a mixture of 19-century “romanticism”, “call of the wild” (Jack London) with a werewolf and some Finno-Ugrian story-telling tradition with strong Estonian spice, resistance of civilization and religion, as well as emancipation of women. Already as such it is a quite a package. On top of this in this particular case the style of the performance was traditional Japanese noh – “a major form of classic Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century”.

What a remix.

How much do they have theater in schools?

Not much. And when they do, it is often far from a free play.

Please, bring free theater to schools. Let’s remix in a real world, too.

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One Response to “Learning by remixing: play and theater in schools”

  1. Find Remix says:

    Yes remixing does help when it comes to learning. In music remixing other peoples tracks can help to understand how the music is put together. So I can’t see why it won’t work for children too.

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