University of Cambridge has a pretty novel position it’s looking to fill, with applications for the Lego-financed professor of play role soon to close.
A salary of around £83,000, a role at the esteemed University of Cambridge and a position built one Lego brick at a time, the vacant professor of play role is one that will certainly get people interested.
The Lego Foundation, which owns 25pc of the entire Lego business, made a £4m endowment towards the university to help fund the role and finance a new Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning (Pedal).
The person who fills the new role, with applications welcomed until 20 January, will lead Pedal as the university attempts to increase its focus on play, an area that is “relatively under-researched”.
“You have people who are claiming that [play] enhances learning, that it’s important, that it’s good for children’s wellbeing,” said Prof Anna Vignoles, interim director of Pedal, in The Guardian.
“All of that might be true, but actually there’s remarkably little evidence for that. The aim of the Pedal centre is to conduct rigorous research into the importance of play and how playful learning can be used to improve students’ outcomes.”
According to Cambridge, Pedal will examine the importance of play and playfulness in education globally, with an aim to produce research that supports excellence in education so that “children are equipped with 21st century skills like problem solving, team-work and self-control”.
Standard duties for the role include teaching and research, examining, supervision and administration, with the professor based at Cambridge.
Pedal has already released a report called ‘The Importance of Play’, accessed via its website.
Lego’s role in education is well established. This time last year, St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, which hosts 2,500 students studying education, partnered with Lego Education to help build better tools for teachers to get STEM ideas across to students.
Called the Lego Education Innovation Studio, the St Patrick’s College students essentially develop new approaches to teaching that can be replicated in schools throughout the country. More than just the bricks of old, Lego Education brings in things like computing and electronics to give a bit of a broader scope to teachers.