Case Study 1

June – July 2014
Mellor Community Primary (Leicester)
Three Ways Community Special School (Bath)


The aim of this case study was to measure embodiment and communication relationships e.g. if the participants are deeply immersed in Pop Up Play, does this effect the degree of communications opportunities? And to seek areas of fundamental transformation within the core areas of practice, assessment, and the technical user interface.

We established a framework of quantitative and qualitative testing that book-ended the practical sessions. These methods included Prof. Sage's COGS SALT tests (both sites); Goodman's Strengths & Difficulties Measure (Mellor School only); In vivo – In vitro observations video film footage; Pupil and practitioner feedback; still photographs.



Mellor School

Three Ways School


War Horse
Exploring fields and flying birds

War Horse
Exploring fields and flying birds


War Horse
Getting Joey back in the stable

War Horse
Finding Joey in the scary stables


War Horse
Exploring the trenches

War Horse
Exploring Rose’s house


War Horse
Messenger birds

No session


The City, Underwater, Space
Paper play

Alice in Wonderland
Being in the story


Exploring Gaming
Shoe box worlds

Tea Parties
Shoe box worlds

Critical moments of Evidence

Overall there was a global shift evidenced between Weeks 1-to-3 which occurred in both schools. Elements of the COGS framework became more visible and manifest to a greater degree in Mellor School and children at Three Ways started to expand their communications. In Mellor School this could be attributed to a pedagogical shift from structured play (Weeks 1 and 2) to a free play session at Week 3.

The participants' imaginations were excited by the possibilities of creative digital play. At times they wanted to explore a haunted house….or stable….a horse to ride… old fashioned car all at once. Other times they delved deeply into a focused area of play:

N (boy) "turn her into a bird then she can fly", N (girl) "I want to fly in the sky with the bird."

N (girl) "I can see the whole world, it looks amazing!", "the landscape is beautiful, there's very nice oceans, mini houses, flowers everywhere, nuts, squirrels and also sorts of animals."


The mix of 'live' drama and technology worked really well. Practitioners and participants told us that Pop Up Play is fun, interactive and immersive. The children told us they like: seeing themselves on screen, creating their own worlds, using realistic media, scenes, and sounds. Communications (COGS) and embodiment cognition were manifested with many overlapping elements.

Case Study Evaluation

The results from the pre & post test results indicated that digital creative play can have a positive impact on behaviour, emotional resilience, and co-operative learning (Goodmans); and there was a positive increase in communication skills (COGS) with content scores increased by 21.5%, and convention scores increased by 35.6%.

Challenges for further study

We found that children appeared lost at times, and we needed to find a way of involving the students as 'game makers' not gamers. That deep immersion was momentary (approx. 3mins) which significantly halted the 'flow of play'. The relationship between drama/theatre practice and technology was challenging – new practice was needed! But perhaps more significantly we needed to define What is mixed reality and its roles and relationships?