Educational Larp in the Middle School Classroom: A Mixed Method Case Study

by Victoria Jesswein last modified 2020-08-16T15:21:00-07:00
Sarah Lynne Bowman University of Texas at Dallas Anne Standiford Texas State University ABSTRACT This mixed method case study examines the effectiveness of an educational role-playing (edu-larp) intervention into the science curriculum of a charter school in Los Angeles that serves an economically disadvantaged population. Utilizing psychometric surveys and semi-structured interviews, the investigators gathered data from middle school students evaluating their development along five dimensions of learning before and after the semester-long program: intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, school engagement, team work, and leadership. The study also gathered qualitative data from the 23 students in this convenient sample group regarding their overall experiences with the edu-larp method. When paired with traditional pedagogy, out of these five dimensions of student development, the investigators found that the edu-larp intervention helped increase overall intrinsic motivation and interest/enjoyment of science in the quantitative data. The qualitative and quantitative findings merged to reveal improvement in perceived competence in science. In interviews, students demonstrated a strong belief that larp aided in the development of all five dimensions and expressed universal interest in learning through edu-larp in the future. Overall, the data suggested that adding the edu-larp component to the existing science curriculum impacted the experience of students by increasing interest, engagement, and perceived competence in science through game play and role enactment. Keywords Edu-larp, secondary education, role-playing, intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, school engagement, team work, leadership, science

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