The World According to Edu-LARPs

The World According to Edu-LARPs: The analog learning games
Sande Chen
Re-Posted from: Games & Learning

Excerpt from this article:

LARPing It Up
Any adult who has been through a mock interview can tell you about the benefits of role-play and simulation. Universities have been using role-play and simulators for years in the fields of healthcare, business, science, and social policy. Former teacher Peter Shea, now director of Professional Development at Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts, recalls one incident in which a student doctor was weeping after she had killed off her virtual patient.

Adults, in general, understand the value of role-play for professional development, but may not see how the imaginative play of LARPs helps education. Call it a historical re-enactment and it sounds educational, but that wouldn’t fully describe larping since players affect the story of the game. They are not just hearing about or re-enacting a story, but are a part of the story.

Like improvisational theatre combined with the game mechanics of tabletop RPGs, LARPs have systems for character progression through the narrated story. In Archer’s edu-larp on the Industrial Revolution, there are experience points (XP) given for various activities and yet, winning may not be about gaining the most XP. Winning might be in co-authoring an extremely satisfying story regardless of whether or not the player’s character dies or amasses the most wealth in the game.

Archer’s company, Iocari Games, recently branched into developing curriculum-compatible edu-larps for schools in addition to its after-school programs and summer camps. The after-school program relies heavily on tabletop RPGs with familiar gaming systems like Dungeons & Dragons but with original content. The summer camp combines engineering, physical activity, tabletop RPGs, and larping by allowing the kids to play out their created characters. For example, in one summer session, he did a Star Wars themed week where the kids got to manufacture foam light sabers using parts from Home Depot.

Archer anticipates the need for professional development and maybe a digital/analog solution. Teachers would use the digital portion for analytics and to track student progress. All his edu-larps comply with Common Core standards and he understands the need to mesh with curriculum. In some cases, the subject matter, particularly math and science, may lend itself easily to both edu-larping and more traditional learning methods. For example, a chemistry-oriented edu-larp could naturally flow into lab sessions. He can envision situations whereby a school would want Iocari Games to come in and run the edu-larps or alternatively, the school might want to train teachers to run the games themselves. The development costs for this digital/analog hybrid might end up similar to the ones for digital games in “The Real State of Learning Game Funding.” [LINK to Article 2] but in general, development costs for edu-larps tend to be lower.
For full article link HERE



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