Oh the Larp (and RPG) School Days
Outside my fancy and lucrative writing career, I’m also a professor at Ball State University where I’m the director of our Digital Media Minor, an online-only program that teaches students digital story development and design.
We’ve spent a great deal of time searching for ways to make the program less individualistic, which is a problem facing teachers who work online, and more collaborative. As we’ve redeveloped our courses to include more collaboration, we’ve focused on ways to build constructivism, e.g. student-centered classrooms, into the digital experience.
While planning these student-led events, I find myself using collaborative concepts I first learned when I playing Dungeons & Dragons back in 1980s, long before I ever became a teacher. That’s made me more sensitive to people who are using role-playing games as teaching tools so I thought I’d continue to share.
“It helps a lot playing a character when you lose some of that inhibition and don’t worry about looking silly,” said Eirik Kunz, a local resident and avid LARPer. “Everyone else looks silly too, and they know they look silly and they don’t care that you look silly.”
This camaraderie that both Yip and Kanewske referred to is a key element of playing group games, and therefore part of the Tabletop Gaming Guild. This is why Kanewske made the executive decision to not include video games in the group’s curriculum. “We had a lot of people that were interested in video games but for the most part, videogames are a one-on-one experience or just the person and the system,” said Kanewske.
A zombie apocalypse descended on Huntington Beach Central Park Sunday afternoon pitting mortals against the undead in a battle of skill and survival. OK, it wasn’t real, but it sure was fun for the nearly 60 children, teens and adults who participated in the live-action, role-playing event organized by an Edison High School senior who hopes her efforts will help earn her a $2,000 scholarship in May.