On video games and libraries

I’ve been working a lot lately about how to incorporate some to the concepts of video games into new and existing library services and resources.  I’ve written before about how games make you learn by doing, and I’ve pointed to how specific games teach the player how to play the game.  I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading on the topic of learning and video games, which has helped me to look at playing games in a different way.  While I’m playing a game, I’ve been looking at how the game teaches me to play, how it encourages me to master the skills, how it keeps me engaged, and how it keeps me coming back for more.  As a librarian, I’ve begun trying to see how the things that make a game an engaging learning experience can be applied to some of the things that we do in the library.  Do we need a library video game on research or plagiarism?  Is that sort of thing scalable?  If we build it, who might play it?  Or should we just try to incorporate gaming concepts into things we are already doing—-teaching, library websites, catalogs, online tutorials?

Paul at Research Quest has been working with these ideas as well.  He and I had a pretty good conversation via IM last week where we discussed these ideas.  Paul and I truly believe that librarians can create engaging educational experiences based upon video games, and perhaps even game-based learning experiences as well.  These projects can be extremely time and resource intensive, so it only make sense to start small.  Paul sums this up nicely when he writes:

But I can’t overlook the small successes. Incorporating video
game strategies into our traditional instruction is beneficial and improves our
teaching. While I’m starting to discuss and play around with developing and
modding, I’m currently working on converting the content from a traditional
power point slideshow into an open ended, branching path review.

Video game strategies work to engage our students in
educational experiences both in the long term and the short term. As an
educator, we can start big or small. But the reactions from those who are
discouraged after starting big, suggest that small successes will be more
successful in building the political capital required for the bigger gaming
projects in our libraries.

Can we do it? Yes we can! And we should.

One thought on “On video games and libraries

  1. Chad,

    It’s great to bounce ideas off each other and I value your opinion. The more we keep talking and more importantly SHOWING our colleagues and administrators that games and gaming strategies work for our students the better off we are…

    More importantly the more we do this, the better off our students are – and that’s what I’m here for.

    I’m just starting to get feedback on one video game strategy based lesson, check out the story here…http://researchquest.blogspot.com/2007/04/feedback-loop.html


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