Why Play? Examining the Roles of Play in ICTD
The role of technology in socio-economic development is at the heart of ICTD (ICTs for development). Yet, as with much Human Centered technology research, playful inter- actions with technology are predominantly framed around their instrumental roles, such as education, rather than their intrinsic value. This obscures playful activities and under- mines play as a basic freedom. Within ICTD an apparent conflict is reinforced, opposing socio-economic goals with play, often dismissed as trivial or unaffordable. Recently a slow emergence of studies around play has led us to pro- pose a framing of it as a capability, according to Amartya Sen, recognizing and examining its instrumental, construc- tive, and constitutive roles. We discuss how play unleashes a more honest and fair approach within ICTD, but most importantly, we argue how it is essentially a basic human need, not antithetical to others. We propose ways for the recognition and legitimization of the play activity in ICTD.
Anand, S. and Sen, A. 1994. Human Development Index: methodology and measurement. Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Apter, M.J. 1989. Reversal theory: motivation, emo- tion, and personality. Routledge.
Arora, P. 2012. The leisure divide: can the “Third World”come out to play? Information Development. 28, 2 (2012), 93–101.
Assembly, U.G. 1989. Convention on the Rights of the Child. United Nations, Treaty Series. 1577, 3 (1989).
Banerjee, A. et al. 2005. Remedying education: Evidence from two randomized experiments in India. National Bureau of Economic Research.
Bardzell, J. and Bardzell, S. 2011. Pleasure is your birthright: digitally enabled designer sex toys as a case of third-wave HCI. Proceedings of the 2011 an- nual conference on Human factors in computing systems (New York, NY, USA, 2011), 257–266.
Bell, G. 2010. Messy Futures: culture, technology and research.
Bødker, S. 2006. When second wave HCI meets third wave challenges. NordiCHI ’06: Proceedings of the 4th Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction (New York, NY, USA, 2006), 1–8.
Boyd, D.F. and Krasnow, H.S. 1963. Economic Evaluation of Management Information Systems. IBM Syst. J. 2, 1 (Mar. 1963), 2–23.
Brown, B. et al. 2011. Into the wild: challenges and opportunities for field trial methods. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (2011), 1657–1666.
Brown, S. and Vaughan, C. 2010. Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. Scribe Publications.
Burrell, J. and Toyama, K. 2009. What constitutes good ICTD research? Information Technologies & International Development. 5, 3 (2009), pp–82.
Caillois, R. 1961. Man, play, and games. University of Illinois Press.
Calder, A. 2001. The Fables of La Fontaine: Wisdom brought down to earth. Librairie Droz.
Chirumamilla, P. and Pal, J. 2013. Play and power: a ludic design proposal for ICTD. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development: Full Papers-Volume 1 (2013), 25–33.
Crewe, E. and Harrison, E. 1998. Whose develop- ment. An ethnography of aid. (1998), 23–65.
Csíkszentmihályi, M. 2008. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. HarperCollins.
Van Dijk, J.A. 2006. Digital divide research, achievements and shortcomings. Poetics. 34, 4 (2006), 221–235.
Donner, J. 2009. Blurring livelihoods and lives: The social uses of mobile phones and socioeconomic development. innovations. 4, 1 (2009), 91–101.
Easterly, W.R. 2006. The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done so Much Ill and so Little Good. Penguin Press.
Eisen, G. 1990. Children and play in the Holocaust: Games among the shadows. Univ of Massachusetts Press.
Ellwood-Clayton, B. 2006. All we need is love—and a mobile phone: Texting in the Philippines. Cultural Space and Public Sphere in Asia, Seoul, Korea. (2006).
Escobar, A. 2011. Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton University Press.
Ferreira, P. and Höök, K. 2012. Appreciating plei- plei around mobiles: Playfulness in Rah Island. Proceedings of the 2012 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (New York, NY, USA, 2012).
Fischer, C.S. 1994. Changes in leisure activities, 1890-1940. Journal of Social History. (1994), 453– 475.
Galarneau, L. 2014. Global Gaming Stats: Who’s Playing What, and Why. Big Fish Games. (2014), 1– 5.
Gallagher, C.A. 1974. Perceptions of the value of a management information system. Academy of Management Journal. 17, 1 (1974), 46–55.
Gaver, W.W. et al. 2004. The drift table: designing for ludic engagement. CHI ’04 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (New York, NY , USA, 2004), 885–900.
Hodge, H.N. 2013. Ancient futures: learning from Ladakh. Random House.
Hole-in-the-Wall: 2011. http://www.hole-in-the- wall.com/insight.html. Accessed: 2015-01-24.
Höök, K. 2006. Designing familiar open surfaces. Proceedings of the 4th Nordic conference on Human- computer interaction: changing roles (New York, NY , USA, 2006), 242–251.
Horst, H.A. and Miller, D. 2006. The cell phone: an anthropology of communication. Berg.
Huizinga, J. 1939. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Routledge.
Juhlin, O. and Weilenmann, A. 2008. Hunting for fun: solitude and attentiveness in collaboration. Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (New Y ork, NY , USA, 2008), 57–66.
Kam, M. et al. 2008. Designing e-learning games for rural children in India: a format for balancing learn- ing with fun. Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Designing interactive systems (2008), 58–67.
Kam, M. et al. 2009. Improving literacy in rural In- dia: Cellphone games in an after-school program. In- formation and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD), 2009 International Conference on (2009), 139–149.
Kaprow, A. 2003. Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life. Univ of California Press.
Kolko, B. et al. 2014. The value of non-instrumental computer use: Skills acquisition, self-confidence, and community-based technology training. TASCHA.
Kuriyan, R. et al. 2008. Information and communication technologies for development: The bottom of the pyramid model in practice. The Information Society. 24, 2 (2008), 93–104.
Loudon, M. and Rivett, U. 2014. Enacting Openness in ICT4D Research. Open Development: Networked Innovations in International Development. (2014),
Gee, J.P. 2003. What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Computers in Entertain- 53.
ment (CIE). 1, 1 (2003), 20–20.
Geertz, C. 1991. Deep Play. Rethinking Popular Culture: Contemporary Perspectives in Cultural Studies.
Gray, P. 2013. Free to learn: Why unleashing the instinct to play will make our children happier, more
self-reliant, and better students for life. Basic Books.
Gumucio-Dagron, A. 2001. Making waves: Stories of participatory communication for social change.
Rockefeller Foundation New York.
Heeks, R. 2008. ICT4D 2.0: The Next Phase of Applying ICT for International Development. Computer.
, 6 (2008), 26–33.
Heeks, R. 2008. Mobiles for Impoverishment? ICTs For Development.
Henricks, T.S. 2006. Play reconsidered: Sociological perspectives on human expression. University of Illinois Press.
Lucas, H.C. 1973. User reactions and the manage- ment of information services. Management Informatics. 2, 4 (1973), 165–172.
Malaby, T.M. 2007. Beyond play a new approach to games. Games and culture. 2, 2 (2007), 95–113.
Manzo, K. 1991. Modernist discourse and the crisis of development theory. Studies in comparative inter-
national development. 26, 2 (1991), 3–36.
Marsden, G. 2009. UNDER DEVELOPMENT Electronic tablecloths and the developing world. Looking
ahead. 16, 2 (2009).
Michael, D.R. and Chen, S.L. 2005. Serious games: Games that educate, train, and inform. Muska &
Mitra, S. et al. 2005. Acquisition of computing literacy on shared public computers: Children and the“ hole in the wall.” Australasian Journal of Educa- tional Technology. 21, 3 (2005), 407.
Mitra, S. 2003. Minimally invasive education: a progress report on the “hole-in-the-wall” experiments. British Journal of Educational Technology. 34, 3 (2003), 367–371.
Mosse, D. 2001. People’s knowledge’, participation and patronage: Operations and representations in ru- ral development. Participation: The new tyranny. (2001), 16–35.
Schwartz, A. et al. 2013. Balancing burden and benefit: non-prescribed use of employer-issued mobile devices. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Information and Communications Technologies and Development: Notes-V olume 2 (2013), 140–143.
Sen, A. 1999. Development as freedom. Oxford University Press.
Mpogole, H. et al. 2008. Mobile Phones and Poverty Alleviation: A Survey Study in Rural Tanzania. Pro- na.
ceedings of 1st International Conference on M4D Mobile Communication Technology for Development (Karlstad University, Sweden, 2008), 69–79.
Nussbaum, M. 2000. Women’s capabilities and social justice. Journal of Human Development. 1, 2 (2000), 219–247.
Nussbaum, M.C. 2011. Creating capabilities. Harvard University Press.
Nussbaum, M.C. et al. 1993. The quality of life. Clarendon Press Oxford.
Pawar, U.S. et al. 2008. An „Office Hole-in-the- Wall‟ Exploration. Microsoft Research Technical Report.
Piaget, J. and Cook, M.T. 1952. The origins of intelligence in children. (1952).
Poverty, E. 2015. Millennium development goals.
United Nations. Available online: http://www. un. org/millenniumgoals/(accessed on 23 August 2011). (2015).
Radha, G. 2013. Mobile Gaming in Emerging Markets - Some Insights. TreSensa.
Ratan, A.L. and Bailur, S. 2007. Welfare, agency and “ICT for Development.” Proceedings of the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (Bangalore, 2007).
Raza, A.A. et al. 2013. Job opportunities through entertainment: Virally spread speech-based services for low-literate users. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (2013), 2803–2812.
Raza, A.A. et al. 2012. Viral entertainment as a vehicle for disseminating speech-based services to low-literate users. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (2012), 350–359.
Riezler, K. 1941. Play and Seriousness. The Journal of Philosophy. 38, 19 (1941), 505–517.
Sachs, J. 2005. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. Penguin Press.
Salen, K. and Zimmerman, E. 2004. Rules of play: game design fundamentals. MIT Press.
Sengers, P. and Gaver, B. 2006. Staying open to interpretation: engaging multiple meanings in design and evaluation. Proceedings of the 6th conference on Designing Interactive systems (2006), 99–108.
Sey, A. et al. 2013. Connecting people for develop- ment: Why public access ICTs matter (eBook). (2013).
Sey, A. and Ortoleva, P. 2014. All Work and No Play? Judging the Uses of Mobile Phones in Devel- oping Countries. Information Technologies & Inter- national Development. 10, 3 (2014), pp–1.
Smith, A. and Nicholson, J.S. 1887. An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations... T. Nelson and Sons.
Smyth, T.N. et al. 2010. Where there’s a will there’s a way: mobile media sharing in urban india. Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Human factors in computing systems (New York, NY, USA, 2010), 753–762.
Solow, R.M. 1987. We’d better watch out. New York Times Book Review. 36, (1987).
Song, S. 2009. Nathan and the Mobile Operators. Many Possibilities.
Statistics, I.T.U. 2014. International Telecommunication Union. ITU ICT Statistics. Retrieved February.
Suits, B. 1978. The grasshopper: Games, life and utopia. Broadview Press.
Sutton-Smith, B. 2009. The ambiguity of play. Harvard University Press.
Walton, M. and Pallitt, N. 2012. “Grand Theft South Africa”: games, literacy and inequality in consumer childhoods. Language and Education. 26, 4 (2012), 347–361.
Weber, M. 1905. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and other writings. Penguin.
Wittgenstein, L. 1953. Philosophical investigations. John Wiley & Sons.
Wyche, S.P. et al. 2013. Facebook is a luxury: An exploratory study of social media use in rural Kenya. Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work (2013), 33–44.