Tuğba Yıldırım Kumbasar

The “Play Make Learn Conference” was held on August 8-9, 2022 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States. This interdisciplinary conference brought educators, researchers, designers, educational game developers, museum and library educators together to share innovative ideas and practices on the topics of game design and game play, personalized learning, arts integration in formal and informal spaces, making and makerspaces, playful learning, and research partnerships. 

My main motivation for this conference was to gain new perspectives particularly about arts integration and museum learning that would enable me to design lessons bridging arts and language instruction. In line with this, I would like to share my experience of one of the workshops at this conference that gave me an idea about how I can implement performing arts into my teaching context to provide my students with the opportunity for creative expression in the target language.

Erica Halverson, Kai Saplan, Andy Stoiber and  Jonathan Tunstall introduced us to their arts education residency program “Whoopensocker” and provided us with the actual experience of a highly effective community building practice designed to enhance creative expression and collaborative writing. We, as the residents of the imaginative Whoopensocker City, started the workshop by brainstorming the characters living together in this community and their existing problems. The second phase of this practice consisted of a collaborative writing practice which involved us working in groups to write a story based on the details we came up with in the brainstorming phase. Then, we performed our stories in groups and shared our reflections about this creative performing arts-based experience. I believe the steps of this art-based practice can likewise be applied within our teaching contexts in the School of Languages.

As well as participating in conference sessions, I had the opportunity to deliver a poster presentation titled “Building Classroom Community through Art: Collective Poetry” through which I introduced the steps of collective poetry and shared how my students in an intermediate English class responded to it.

In sum, the Play Make Learn Conference promoted an interdisciplinary learning opportunity for professionals from a variety of fields to explore cutting- edge ideas and experiences at the intersection of education, technology and art.