Mantle of the Expert and Epistemic Games

John Carroll

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


    The paper examines two sub-forms of applied drama and games-based learning that utilises dramatic conventions as pedagogical practice, specifically Mantle of the Expert (Heathcote, 1995) and its counterparts in the digital game-based learning area, Epistemic Games (Shaffer 2006). The paper then considers how a dramatically framed professional problemsolving view of education might ultimately enhance the learning potential for both digital games and drama. Drawing on the work of Shaffer (2006) and his concept of 'epistemic frames' provides a useful design approach to developing digital game learning environments based on real professional practice. Shaffer calls the resulting teaching approach 'epistemic games' They operate by providing learners with the skills, knowledge, identities, values and epistemologies they need in project based tasks and require as problem-solving strategies. Teachers and practitioners with a strong drama focus have similarly adopted a dramatic form known as the 'Mantle of the Expert', an educational drama approach devised by Heathcote, (1991) and Bolton (1999), which operates as project based improvised drama. This approach has led to the development of a range of dramatic techniques that engages participants in producing works or solving problems as if they were professionals in that field. Research into the similarities of both forms and the literature surrounding them has been undertaken using Leximancer, a software tool used to find meaning in text-based documents. The software converts natural language into semantic patterns that can be displayed on 2-dimensional displays. Leximancer automatically identifies key themes, concepts and ideas by data mining large amounts of text, and visually represents information in 'concept maps' showing the main relationships that exist in the data. The relationship between the forms was examined by exploring the major connections the practitioners had written about when usiforms was examined by exploring the major connections the practitioners had written about when using these techniques. Analysis was undertaken of all relevant articles published on the Mantle of the Expert articles website; and the Epistemic games website; Analysis of this data involved parallel processes with both manual coding and automatic content analysis. This form of analysis is highly useful in a broadly based content analysis of pedagogic techniques. The picture that emerges from this analysis captures 'the wisdom of crowds' and is in essence a user-driven representation of the meaning that is generated from the connections and possible synergies that exist between drama and digital games-based learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIDIERI6, Drama Research Futures
    Subtitle of host publicationExamining our past, critiquing our present, imagining tomorrow
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event6th International Drama in Education Research Institute - Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Duration: 14 Jul 200919 Jul 2009


    Conference6th International Drama in Education Research Institute


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