This film examines a fundamental human experience and key component of connected learning, ‘play,’ and explores whether it has been underestimated and whether, as a state of being, it holds answers for the reimagining of education.

We commissioned filmmaker Nic Askew ( to make a series of films about connected learning, a new approach to learning he called “courageous” and “transformational.”

Guided by six learning principles and three core values, connected learning is the outcome of a six-year research effort supported by the MacArthur Foundation into how learning, education, and schooling could be reimagined for a networked world.

The film asks:

  • ‘Might we have underestimated the value of ‘play’?’
  • ‘How would your life look if seen through a playful state of mind?’
  • ‘Might confidence sit at the heart of an extraordinary education?’
  • ‘Might a playful frame of mind stand to transform the experience of education?’
  • ‘Might a playful state of mind enable the strength of our true human spirit?’

The interview subject is game designer and DePaul University professor Katie Salen, executive director of a non-profit called Institute of Play ( that is focused on games and learning and leader of the team that founded Quest to Learn, a 6-12th grade public school in New York City, as well as CICS ChicagoQuest, a 6-12 charter school that opened fall 2011 in Chicago. Both Quest to Learn and Institute of Play are supported by the MacArthur Foundation as part of its Digital Media and Learning initiative (

Other films in the connected learning series: