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How Can Wonder be Brought into Education? 

by Brian Rappert

How can wonder be brought into education?  This question was central to my Education Incubator Discovery grant. 

As background, as part of a study into acquiring embodied skills, over the last five years I have learnt to perform as an entertainment magician. Within this work I have sought to devise public shows and campus-based sessions that combine the discussion of academic ideas with magical effects. 

One difficulty of devising such events is understanding how best to sequence and incorporate magic effects in order to harness their affective and cognitive impacts.  There is little research evidence suggesting how the design and delivery of magic-informed educational messaging should be shaped in order to further learning objectives (such as retention, interest, engagement) and little research outside of STEM disciplines.

In my award, I devised storyboard videos that could figure in experiments with on-line videos to test varied theories about the role of magic in promoting learning.  I then sought feedback on how the videos could be alternatively devised, primarily through a workshop held at ‘The Session’ magic convention on 15 January.

Following the The Session workshop, I trialed out additional tricks that could be incorporated into videos with ten members of the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology Society (SAC SOC) on 26 January.

As for next steps, Dr. Gustav Kuhn (Goldsmiths) and I will craft an experimental design initially using some of the videos and then invite participants to watch and rate the films with the intention of producing an analysis of how magic can enhance education.

Discovery Grants 2022-23

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