Designing South African Children’s Health Education as Generative Play

Forty students designed a wicked solutionto the wicked problem’ of childrens health in South Africa. In groups of 3 to 4, they designed educational toolkits to cultivate health awareness in local children through ‘generative play.Generative play refers to an experiential-constructivist learning environment that engages students in pedagogical play in order to yield positive cognitive or behavioral change. Integrating principles of collaborative design with game theory and psychology, generative play takes root at the intersection of generative research,’ ‘meaningful play,’’flow, and generative justice. Generative research describes designed instruments and procedures that actuate the creative agency in lay people. Meaningful play refers to gaming as a semiotic transaction. Flow refers to a challenging, pleasurable experience; and generative justice is the universal right to generate unalienated value and directly participate in its benefits. Based on anecdotal evidence from students, we conclude that generative play provides the affordances of both pleasure and responsibility.We propose to exhibit four of the tangible toolkits along with anecdotal evidence derived from a design process involving various stakeholders including a play therapist. Each toolkit consists of educational activities that integrate play with learning about health.

Cite: Bennett, Audrey; Cassim, Fatima; van der Merwe, Marguerite; van Zijl, Karen; Ribbens, Megan. Designing South African Children’s Health Education as Generative Play. Proceedings of the International Association of Societies of Design Research, Queensland University of Technology, November 2015.

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of the Visual Technologies project at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.