Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Defense of Hidgeon

The School of Information at the University of Michigan has released their report on the Storygame project, Engaging Undergraduates in Research Through a Storytelling and Gaming Strategy: Final Report to the Delmas Foundation. I've only skimmed the report but found their premises for further information literacy games useful...
  1. Game play must contribute in a useful way to the coursework students are already doing.
  2. Game play that gives players mastery over one key concept, task, or procedure is preferable to comprehensive game play.
  3. Game play must count toward students’ grades in the course.
  4. Game play must give students opportunities to see other researchers at work so they can connect what they do to what others do.
  5. Students want positive and negative feedback from games to improve their performance.
  6. Although students want to be in control during game play, they will collaborate with their peers when the collaboration furthers what they want to accomplish.
  7. Students must have concrete evidence that leaving their computer to do research will have a payoff in terms of improving their research or affecting their grades.
  8. Game play must foster opportunities for students to reflect on their own research habits and what they are learning.

Monday, June 02, 2008

More on Quarantined

One thing that is very obvious when you play Fletcher Library's "Quarantined" is that the developers put a lot of thought into the content and design. I think that this game is a success. It's a success because it's fun. It's not perfect, but there are a lot of great components to the game. One of the key ingredients for this game is the story. The story is intriguing and I think that it's compelling enough to motivate players to continue if at first they don't succeed. I'm including some screenshots to the game and also some contact information if you'd like to give the game a try. ASU is considering making the source code available for a "nominal fee". You can read more about the game and how to login here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Citricon Library Defender

There seems to be loads of innovative services coming from the Orange County Library System, and Jenny over at Shifted Librarian posted about their forthcoming game to be released May 15th. It looks very intriguing.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Gaming, Learning and Libraries Symposium

A call for presenters at the 2008 Gaming, Learning and Libraries Symposium has been posted over at ALA Tech Source. The deadline for submission is June 15th, so be sure to get your great ideas and projects submitted in time. The conference runs from November 2-4, 2008. See the announcement here.
[photo credit: clare_and_ben]

Friday, May 02, 2008

I am not a computer programmer, but when I was a child I remember writing code with our Commodore 64. I copied the code from a manual and played around with variables to see what kind of changes I could make to the output. I was 10 and I actually found this fun. I'm sure there were many other kids out there doing the same thing. Microsoft's Matt MacLaurin explains that the blank computer screens with their blinking prompts in the 80's sent a clear signal to people that computers were a creative medium. With today's interfaces, he thinks that the invitation to create and the invitation into the programming world has been diluted, so at Microsoft, Matt is part of a team developing Boku - a Teletubbie-styled visual programming tool that will serve as the blinking ready screen for today's kids. This tool will allow people to program games. Listen to John Udell's very interesting interview with Matt on IT Conversations.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The 2008 CIL conference (Computers in Libraries) held April 7th-9th in Arlington, VA has 5 presentations devoted to gaming and virtual worlds. Here are the speakers and the information on their talks as listed in the conference program:

Chad Boeninger - Learning from Video Games
Many librarians and educators recognize the importance of video games and learning, but do not have the time or the resources to build game-based library training tools. Boeninger uses actual scenarios from popular games to demonstrate how video games attract players, retain their attention, and make them learn. The presentation offers suggestions about how librarians Many
librarians and educators recognize the importance of video games and learning, but do not have the time or the resources to build game-based library training tools. Boeninger uses actual scenarios from popular games to demonstrate how video games attract players, retain their attention, and make them learn. The presentation offers suggestions about how librarians can incorporate many gaming learning principles into existing library services, resources, and instruction and also discusses the future of incorporating gaming in libraries.

Marsha Spiegelman and Richard Glass - Gaming & Learning
Social networking and gaming define the millennial student. This session highlights an innovative collaboration between a reference/instruction librarian and mathematics/computer science instructor that utilized course blogs and gaming scenarios to incorporate information literacy as an integral and assessable component of math/computer science courses. Games provided the
interest and incentive students needed to improve their information literacy skills, and blogs extended interaction and enhanced student/librarian relationships. Speakers discuss their partnership on information literacy game design and adaptation, research assignments, and share their lessons learned so others can try this approach.

Martin House and Mark Engelbrecht - Gaming for Adults
Speakers report on research into how gaming attracts adults to the public library and how it may increase their future usage of libraries. They look at trends such as the information gap and social/technological access gap and discuss how their data shows that gamers are avid users of reference services. Come and get a new perspective on adults and libraries.

Barbara Galick and Kitty Pope - Convincing Administrators of the Validity of
Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds are rapidly increasing in use by all ages and many of them are not game-oriented. How do you convince your administrator that your library needs to participate and why it is important to allow you staff time to work in a virtual world library? Speakers and library administrators share tips and strategies to help you win over your administrator.

Craig Anderson, Krista Godfrey, Troy Swanson, and Larry Sloma - Integrating Second Life: Courses and Collections

Many business and educational institutions have been opening up shop in cyberspace with the SL online virtual reality platform. Anderson and Godfrey explain how academic libraries are using SL to reach elusive patrons and offer services such as virtual reference. Swanson and Sloma talk about a collaborative project that brought together student content, cultural events, and virtual worlds. A class of honors students worked with the library to create the core content and supporting research for a virtual exhibit about Malcolm X. Geographic material and supporting timelines was presented in a website that utilized Google Maps and a three dimensional exhibit in SL. Speakers discuss how the virtual environment impacted the presentation of content and services and changed interactions between content and user, and provide tips, tricks, and strategies for instituting a virtual branch of your own academic library and enhancing digital collections.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Library Arcade: Carnegie Mellon's ongoing gaming project

Since there has been some recent blog discussion and coverage of Carnegie Mellon’s Library Arcade by the LibrarianinBlack and other blogs here and here. And even some negative coverage on Joystiq. I wanted to share some of my discussions with Daniel Hood, one of the librarians who worked on Carnegie Mellon University’s library game. I talked with Dan at LOEX last spring and again in September right before the release of their games. The full conversation is posted here, but I wanted to share a little here as well.

One of the more interesting pieces is how the design and development of the project shifted over time.
The game was envisioned with five minigames, with specific learning objectives for each game. The four members of the design committee had envisioned Max’s narrative tying each of the minigames together, but budget and time constraints led to the decision to release “Library Arcade” as stand-alone games.

The lessons this project provides: challenges of student programmers, limitations of a $50,000 budget, flexibility in design - all are worthwhile for those planning their own library game projects.