Imagine a school where the students’ day revolves around playing games, all day long. Video games, live action role-playing games, board games, building games. At the PlayMaker School in Los Angeles, the school day takes kids from one game activity to the next, as they explore any number of different subjects and ideas, from the physics of flight to ancient Mesopotamian culture. PBS NewsHour’s April Brown gives us a glimpse into this otherworldly school.


The students at the PlayMaker school don’t just play games — they design, code and market their own video games as part of a class project. The school is designed around all types of game play, including high-tech, low-tech and no-tech. Watch how and why this evolves within the school day.


A School Day That’s All About Play 9 July,2014Tina Barseghian

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  • Briana

    Please consider the public middle schools in Cambridge Mass for broadening the scope! The city has just reconfigured from a K-8 model to a more traditional K-5 and 6,7&8 middle school system. Perfect timing to really switch things up! There are only 4 middle schools and with the support of MIT and other tech companies growing here it’s a perfect size city to try things out with the added challenge of a very dirverse population.

  • Claudia Martinez

    Amazing! Would be great to see this program expand to the wider Los Angeles community.

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  • Eric Scoles

    While this is great for the kids that it’s great for — as are all these extremely-specific charter school ideas, for the kids that they’re good for — it leaves unanswered how we address the need to educate the kids that just aren’t that interesting to the people who want to fund stuff like this.

    What strikes me just now is how much this is emblematic of libertarian and ‘open-source’ approaches: If someone cares enough about an approach, it gets funding, regardless of whether it solves the larger problem. If you either don’t have the capital to do it yourself (or be interesting to someone who does), or you are just not interesting to someone powerful, then you’re basically SOL. This has been nowhere more evident than in open-source software, where it’s not uncommon to have feature requests met with a frankly and openly hostile demand that you “code it yourself.”

    Approaches like this are even more sensitive to the quality of effort on the part of instructors than is normal schooling. So as you pay more — or as you invest more time/money in recruiting able, interested teachers — you will get disproportionately better results.

    It’s not that we shouldn’t do these things. But we should be noticing this disrpoportionate impact, so we don’t lose a generation before we can do something about it. That is, of course, assuming that these kids getting lost are interesting enough that someone cares about them.

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