Persona

The academic homestead of Annika Waern

Tom Tit’s science café – and research on ‘stupid questions’

Me speaking at the science café. Shows that I have lost some weight, nice!

Last Thursday, I participated in a winter holiday ‘science café’ at Tom Tit’s. I love doing this kind of appearances, especially when I have a chance to discuss with kids. I started out by saying that researching games involves a lot of asking really, really stupid questions, and finding complex answers for them. And then I started asking some of those questions to the audience: such as ‘why do we play?’ and ‘what is the difference between playing and gaming?’. As usual, kids were better at finding answers than adults, such as actually admitting that we play games because it’s fun and not just because it’s educational.

In return, I learned about a couple of really interesting IPad applications that are making their way into pre-school. The example that I found most interesting was Toca Tea Party. It uses the IPad as a tiny interactive table, around which kids pretense-play a tea party together, or alone, or with their stuffed animals as party guests. I love the idea and how it illustrates how innovative applications can be, when the interface is nothing but a sturdy screen that you can place anywhere including on the floor. But I would want to see an IoT version, complete with play cups and toy food!

(After the Science Café, I went straight home and hit the sack – nurturing a flu that has kept me grounded for five days straight now. The flip side was that I finally got around to starting this blog.)

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