Freeplay For Everyone

September 15th, 2018 | by JA
Freeplay For Everyone
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Jugaar Adda is conceived as a ‘knowledge-construction site’, a third space for relationship-building between different groups/ individuals in ways that allow partners to acknowledge and embrace their differences as just that – differences – not as strengths and deficiencies nor in relation to assumptions about the traditional and the modern. The intent of Jugaar Adda is to facilitate people in constructing knowledge and developing skills to interact positively with their environment. We want to create opportunities for community members to directly engage with their environment, tackle real-world problems using creative methodologies, collaboratively experiment with innovative ideas, reflect over the outcomes, learn from mistakes, and confidently develop as life-long learners. With the technological and creative revolution underway, learning by doing and working together offers the perfect medium for propagating knowledge and skills necessary for the 21st century.

In order to gear ourselves for the possibilities and challenges of life in the 21st century, it becomes pertinent to discern our post-colonial environment. The dialogue on post-colonial education addresses cultural imperialism by disrupting its legacy in school curricula and replacing it with a framework of education that enables critical thinking and global awareness. Although colonial education unsettled indigenous formal and non-formal educational systems, prevalent in former colonies around the world for centuries, realistically, indigenous education systems in themselves cannot be valued as sufficient mechanisms to bring about transformative change in present times. Additionally, the relationship between post-colonialism and globalization points toward dynamic implications for education and new ways of acquiring it. If colonial education was dismissive of indigenous knowledge, designed to undermine agency by dislocating its subject’s sense of self, then, post-colonial education doesn’t necessarily imply restoration of indigenous forms of schooling, it does, however, require forms of disruption and dislocation among educators and learners!

The liminal space-time surrounding us can deliver creative means to transform our educational framework into one that fosters knowledge-construction, with the built-in flexibility to adjust itself around our emergent identity as the ‘betweeners’, neither here not there but in-between, inhabiting the blur between the postcolonial and post-postcolonial. Developing ‘betweenness narratives’ may help view knowledge as something that does things, or makes things happen. Perhaps, it may even help develop a new mindset among educators and learners – one that can take account of the evolving meaning of knowledge and the new context and purposes for acquiring it.

Keeping an emphasis on partnerships, dialogue, and participation from the start, Jugaar Adda is programmed such that it:

  • Aims not to affirm any holistic view, enabling a chance for freeplay.  We are earnestly exploring, building upon, and developing a learning framework that has the capacity to accommodate new centers for thought.
  • Engages the community in collaborative projects that produce betweenness narrative facilitation for our hybridized post-postcolonial culture.
  • Creates occasion for educators and learners to participate in the evolution of the way problems are framed and tackled in real-world 21st century context.
  • Demonstrates knowledge construction as a series of actions involving teamwork, systems thinking, visualization, prototyping, and iterative progression.
  • Highlights the ‘process’ of making, with all its defining characteristics of ambiguity, messiness, disorder and mistakes clearly visible, not so it can be assimilated, but to allow it to just ‘be’, to express itself.

We’re in search for the defining spirit of ‘betweeners’, not set in any specific system, but continuously seeking through freeplay.

 

Our philosophy is learning by doing! Our work is influenced by the Piagetian idea that learning happens when we actively build our understanding of the world through our experiences and reflect over the outcomes to construct knowledge. Moreover, Seymour Papert’s insight that we learn particularly well when we engage in constructing personally meaningful and shareable objects in the real-world, is fundamental to our approach. At Jugaar Adda, we envision our role as enablers, functioning at two distinct planes.  At the micro level, we advance equitable access to quality learning tools, technologies, and resources by designing and developing products that aid knowledge-construction. These products include:
  • Space Design Solutions – We plan, develop and execute flexible, adaptive designs and functions for makerspaces in educational institutions that are replicable and scalable.
  • Activity Design – We develop creative methodologies and approaches for learners  to interact with materials, tools and technologies.
  • Facilitation – We create strategies that augment the interaction between Jugaar Adda, learners and educators.
Learning takes place throughout life in many places and spaces and today’s life and work environments require far more than just thinking skills and content knowledge. Learners need a broad range of experiences to develop skills, temperaments, and abilities to navigate through this global age of disruption in which change is constant and learning is a life-long process. The traits we view as fundamental to develop in children and young adults are those of open minded, critical thinkers who are self-directed learners, risk takers, and strong communicators. We hypothesize that these traits define our emergent identity as the ‘betweeners’, creating new ways of viewing and engaging with the world, not set in any specific system, but constantly experimenting through freeplay. Ultimately, the hope is to produce life-long learners who recognize the value of interdependence and assume responsibility for and take control of the direction of their future through attention, action, and reflection. Insert GIF – futuristic life of betweeners Simultaneously, Jugaar Adda functions as a community hackerspace that connects educational institutions, entrepreneurs, and the creative industry to stimulate the jugaar mindset. The hackerspace, spanning over an area of 4000 SFT in E-11/4 Islamabad, facilitates community capacity building in thinking and designing for innovation through personal and collective fabrication. It engages community members in iterative thinking, creative thinking, and critical thinking. It’s open to anyone who wants to solve complex problems and think divergently. Here, we also conduct hands-on, material rich, rapid prototyping, and problem-solving workshops and organize community events that include exhibits, presentations, talks, discussions, performances, storytelling and brainstorming sessions to spread the jugaar spirit far and wide! Insert sketch of hackerspace At the macro level, our work involves supporting the maker movement nationally, regionally and internationally and building a network of partnerships with like-minded individuals and groups to encourage collaborations that ensue meaningful relationships, joint projects, shared knowledge and experience. Our aim is to create a network that represents diverse expertise, viewpoints, and cultures, bringing people together in the spirit of mutual progress that ensures ongoing innovation in learning and education. Together, we hope to bust the myth surrounding problem-solving!