Play in the 21st century; The Search for New Synonyms

“Do not…keep children to their
studies by compulsion but by play.”  


In my last posting, “Why is there no synonym for “Play?”,
I noted the odd absence of other ways to say “Play.”  My belief is that the absence of synonyms is due, with a few exceptions, to an historic lack of  respect for "play".   On the other hand, "work", "play's" ambitious and more respectable brother, has lots of synonyms.

Things, however, appear to be changing.  Our attitudes towards play, at least in the 21st
century, seem to be moving towards a co-habitation with work.  Why can’t we enjoy our work by making it
playful, or as some of our modern thinkers like to put it: “Why can’t we gamify

For those who are not familiar with “Gamification”,
it is the application of game playing theories to school, work, marketing and
other end result enterprises.  It is a
growing force in enterprise with its own website and wiki:  As that
website puts it:  “According
to a a recent Gartner
Research Report
 it is estimated that by
2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes
will gamify those

Here is how Wikopedia describes
the emergence of Gamification in work and education:

The New
York City Department of Education
with funding from the MacArthur
and the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation
has set up a school called Quest to Learn centred around game-based
learning, with the intent to make education more engaging and relevant to
modern kids
.[26] SAP has used games to educate their
employees on sustainability.[27] The US military and Unilever
have also used gamification in their training.
[28] The Khan Academy is an example of the use of
gamification techniques in online education.

Gamification a fad or is it something that is going to endure?  Will “Play” finally get its synonyms.  I think there is a good chance that gamification
is more than a fad
and as we
move further into the century, I think we will begin seeing more potential
synonyms joining new words and concepts like gamify, playify, "ludic interface"
and fun at work as ways to describe a new way to play; play with a purpose.


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