LARP as Entertainment; LARP as Education
For those unfamiliar with LARP (Live Action Role Playing), the concept may seem odd. Adults and kids running about in costume and make-up, playing pretend. But in reality, LARP is an enjoyable form of entertainment, and sometimes, a novel way to educate through play.
In LARP games, players act out scenarios in character. Some LARP groups simply act out battles, while others have elaborate worlds, of which battles are a small part. Some LARP groups base their histories and scenarios on popular board games, books and films, while others take inspiration from historical events. Yet others have their own original worlds and histories.
When did LARP start?
LARP was introduced to popular culture with board games, including Dungeons and Dragons in the 1970s. Since then, LARP has been slowly growing in popularity, but mostly as a subculture. While LARP mostly seeks to entertain, one school in Denmark also shows that LARPing can be an excellent way to engage youth in active learning through exploration, art, and “geek culture.”
The LARP school
Østerkov Efferskole is a “partly publicly funded, partly private school” in Hobro, Denmark. The school caters to students ages 14-18, attending the 8th through 10th grades. Here, students engage in LARP, donning costumes and make-up, and immersing themselves in worlds, both fictitious and historical. And while they act out their characters, they learn math, physics, and more.
While acting out the Roman Empire, for example, they are taught about metals and how they can be mined and used. Students are then dealt mines within the empire, and continue to learn about how the mining of metals can help them manufacture better weapons for battle.
The learning opportunities for students at Østerkov are endless. From math to German language to social studies and everything in between, Østerkov students are having a blast while learning a comprehensive curriculum.
Another way to encourage lifelong learning
At this Denmark school, students can enjoy their hobby while also obtaining an excellent education. For children who don’t enjoy “traditional” forms of schooling, LARP schools offer an alternative where it’s not only OK to be different, but where their passion is celebrated and encouraged.
Osterkov helps its students develop a lifelong love of learning—the goal of any education system. By embracing an alternative method of education, the school shows one more way in which diversity in education methods benefits those who wish to learn.
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