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Cross Curricular

EDUCATIONAL LIVE-ACTION ROLE PLAY (EDU-LARP)

Educational Larp (edu-larp) is a form of spontaneous, co-creative, active learning. It utilizes interactive experiences embedded within conceptual narratives that inspire students to enjoy and retain their lessons.

grade level:
4-12
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Created by
Mylo Lam
Curriculum Developer and Researcher

Overview

The following description is from Seekers Unlimited, a nonprofit organization that designs edu-larp experiences for students:

Educational Larp (edu-larp) is a form of spontaneous, co-creative, active learning. Edu-larp utilizes interactive experiences embedded within conceptual narratives that inspire students to enjoy and retain their lessons. The unique experience of role-playing enhances student engagement, social skills, interest, and mastery of scholastic subject matter.

The urge to enact narratives in a group setting is a natural expression of human culture, an essential part of ritual activity cross-culturally. Tribal cultures across the world enact participatory stories for pedagogical purposes within a group setting, often containing mythological or otherwise epic content. Therefore, these recent permutations of interactive storytelling emerging in the twentieth century are best viewed on a continuum of role-taking activities inherent to human social behavior.

Below is a video interview conducted by the ENGAGE! webseries with Seekers Unlimited, further explaining the richness of edu-larping for learning and engagement.

Edu-Larp

Well-structured edu-larps understand that emotion is extremely important in retaining key information, skills, and concepts. Through proper scaffolding, edu-larps can harness the emotional resonance inherent in role-playing, guiding students to not only learn the material but have it stay with them for the rest of their lives. Below is a video presentation by Dr. Sarah Lynn Bowman, author of The Functions of Role-Playing Games, explaining how emotion affects role-playing and learning in general.

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Edu-larp breakdown

Want more info?
  • For a brief breakdown of key terms about larping in general , please refer to this page.
  • If you want to dive even deeper about the history of larp, its costs and benefits, and descriptions of various activities that larps are composed of, Aaron Vanek's essay, Cooler than You Think: Understanding Live Action Role Playing, is a fantastic read.
What can I do right now?
  • If you are interested in what types of edu-larps are available or you want to work with larp designers to create your own experience, Seekers Unlimited has a number of professional development and consulting programs.
  • You can also keep an eye on the Education-Larpers' International Network as they prepare for upcoming conferences that explore larping as a teaching method.
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