New: Not-Really-Puzzlehunts are Everywhere, even Denmark

At work, I work with training/educator folks. Tonight, I posted a message about stuff I'd read this evening. But it's not confidential or anything so I guess I'll post it here, too:

LARPers run a school

LARPers are Live Action Role Players. These people don't think Dungeons and Dragons is geeky enough, so they act out what their characters are doing. Do you remember a video on YouTube a while back in which people whacked each other with foam swords while a "wizard" tossed rocks while yipping "Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!" Yeah, those were LARPers.

A bunch of LARPers set up a school. And to teach real stuff, not just, uhm, imaginary dragon thwacking or whatever. For some lessons, they present material in, you know, the usual way with someone talking in front of a chalkboard. But when they can, they try to teach by means of acting out role-playing games. They describe themselves at;=view&id;=75&Itemid;=40. An excerpt:

1st narrative structure was Godsplay. On the first day of school, the students were divided into different pantheons and were told, that they would compete to name the different parts of the school for the rest of the week. In the first day they sought information on the pantheon and chose god-characters for each of them, composing a text in Danish describing their character. On following days, they worked with geometrical structures on the premise that all gods want their followers to build as big and impressing as possible. ...

I found out about this school from, so help me, a free online book of articles about LARPing. Don't judge me. Book available from . Article "The Role-Players’ School: Østerskov Efterskole" starts on page 12. An excerpt:

In the third week of the World War II theme, the pupils were engaged in the East Front. For most of the week, they were not playing individual soldiers but rather taking charge of whole military units. They were fighting the battle for Stalingrad –one half played Germans and the other half played Russians. But instead of deciding every battle with a die roll as you would do in a board game, the result was dependant on the solving of arithmetic problems.

This article also reminds us that people are not wearing enough hats:

"Wear-a-hat –teaching is a unique method where the pupil behaves according to the social conventions of a normal classroom setting with the only notable exception being that both the pupil and the teacher are wearing costumes. By any rational definition, wearing a hat hardly counts as role-playing: It is simply practicing ordinary teaching, be it classroom or group work in the roleplaying gear. Nevertheless, engagement and concentration are usually higher than without the gear."

So now people at work know I've been reading about activities dangerously low on the geek hierarchy. We'll see if they're still willing to talk to me.

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Posted 2010-01-13