I’ve been seeing and reading so much about gaming and its relevance to libraries that there is no way I could summarize it all on this blog (especially since a lot of the research has been done for my book and I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending 😉 ). But I would like to point people interested in the subject to some really great recent articles, blog posts, and other resources:
I think the discussion on gaming in libraries takes a few primary routes. There’s talk about using gaming as a library service in and of itself (gaming nights, gamerooms, circulating games, etc.). There’s also talk about game-based learning, which is all about learning things within the context of a game. This could involve providing reference assistance in a MMOG (Masively Multiplayer Online Game) using avatars, teaching information literacy within a first-person shooter, and more. Finally, there’s talk about what educators can learn from gaming — how young people are engaged, what sort of positive reinforcement they need to continue with a frustrating task, and how they learn.
I think the first topic has been covered a lot in the biblioblogosphere, but the latter two have not. Here are some things I found interesting with regard to the subjects of game-based learning and what educators can learn from gaming:
Cool Resources on Game-Based Learning
Van Eck, Richard. Digital Game-Based Learning: It’s Not Just the Digital Natives Who Are Restless. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 41, no. 2 (March/April 2006): 16–30.
Bibliographic Gaming is a great new blog that highlights the use of gaming to teach information literacy. It could be an excellent space for sharing ideas and research on game-based learning.
I heard this extremely cool news on Jenny Levine’s blog. Apparently, OPAL and the Alliance Library System have teamed up to offer library programming within the MMOG Second Life. They will be offering book discussions, training session and other programming to people in Second Life. What a neat way to reach people who may not otherwise use the library! People have been talking about providing virtual reference and whatnot inside MMOGs for a while, but, as far as I know, this will be the first time that real library programming will take place within an online game. They have set up a Google Group where people can discuss this new idea (note: you need to apply to join the group).
Jean-Claude Bradley, a Chemistry professor at Drexel University with whom I had the pleasure of working on HigherEd BlogCon, has done some amazing things with game-based learning in his classes. Check out his collaborative EduFrag blog on game-based learning, which is a tremedous resource for those interested in pratical uses of gaming in the classroom. Also check out the EduFrag wiki which includes a link to an article describing how he used the first-person shooter game Unreal Tournament to teach organic chemistry. Jean-Claude is doing so much amazing stuff with social software and gaming — he is a seriously cool guy.
Resources on what educators can learn from gaming
Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked by Henry Jenkins of MIT. (Also check out this blog post that debunks some of the things that Jenkins asserts).
Meet the Gamers by Kurt Squire & Constance Steinkuehler, in Library Journal.
This isn’t something you can read online, but the book What Video Games Have to Teach About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee is the thing to read if you’re interested in the subject. It’s a quick read, but you will learn a TON from this book about how users learn in games, how they are kept engaged even during difficult or tedious tasks, and what we can learn from all of it.
There are SO many other resources out there on these subjects. What resources would you suggest for someone just starting to learn about game-based learning or the educational impact of gaming?