Transformative Play

The world is our playground; let's play...


Transformative Play explores the intersections of games and narrative, games and learning, and games and social justice. It sees storytelling as the first fundamental cognitive tool that humans use to make sense of the world, and to communicate their understandings of the world to each-other.  The second essential human activity is play, which creates strategies for exploring and understanding our world.  Storytelling and play are deeply lodged in the experience of being human: technology affords students new platforms for telling stories and for enabling meaningful opportunities to play that extend into adulthood.

Through a close collaboration with The Transformative Play Lab and Professor Josh Tanenbaum at University of California Irvine (, we have been investigating the use of Transformative Play as a tool to assist with improving pedagogy in the schooling and higher education spaces. Projects in ubiquitous computing, as well as student projects in 3d printing and explorations in augmented and virtual reality show that play can be used effectively in many education contexts. 

To discuss this project with members of the lab, please contact Dr Michael Cowling via the contacts page of this site, or visit the Transformative Play Lab at