For a nice change of pace, here’s an innovation in education that’s got absolutely nothing to do with iPads. A group called Seekers Unlimited is trying to raise $8,000 on Kickstarter to release a series of “edu-LARPs.” That would be educational live action role-playing games.
“You might think of it as re-enactors with foam swords, but there’s much more to it than that,” says the organization’s fundraising coordinator, Whitney Beltran, in an accompanying video. The explainer shows kids in Babylonian headdresses adjudicating according to the Code of Hammurabi, which sounds like a great way to turn a playground into Lord of the Flies but hey, whatever gets them reading. Or, as the pitch puts it:
Over the weekend, best-selling scifi writer Neal Stephenson launched his own Kickstarter called CLANG. They say every great business idea solves a problem. In this case, it’s unrealistic swordplay in video games–an issue, we imagine, that’s close to the heart of a whole legion of LARPers.
The project, which is being run by Mr. Stephenson’s media franchise company Subutai, quickly raised $160,000 towards its goal of $500,000. The early hype comes courtesy Mr. Stephenson’s popularity (some of his early editions sell for “precious-metal asking prices“) and the project’s amusing video, featuring the writer in formal robes yelling at gamers for their unworthy consoles. There’s also a cameo from the meme-tastic Gabe Newell, the outspoken founder of the video game corporation Valve.