Sunday, March 27, 2016

Library Game Creation

Late February
My thoughts from reading the book: 
Lee, Carol K. and Fay Edwards. 50 Games to Play in the Library or Classroom. Alleyside Press, Shepherdstown, West Virginia. 1988.

This book offers a short introduction and list of helpful hints.
  • Games are useful teaching tools that help students to score well on standardized tests
  • Students enjoy information presented in game format
  • Creating instructional games requires time, effort, and a healthy dose of imagination.
  • Endless variations are possible, starting with some solid basic ideas.
  • Students can be included in creating games.
  • Quality instructional games are marketable, and so is teaching game creation.

It then goes on with descriptions of each game, including instructions to play and lists of the physical game objects the game needs.  

Some things I considered as I read through the game descriptions:
  • What is the nature of the game?
    • Themes
    • Visual appearance
    • Game format examples,  
      • steps along a journey,
      • races,
      • popular sports,
      • answering questions for points (variations on Jeopardy),
      • random question selection (questions hidden under flaps or in pockets, dice, fishing, spinners, etc.),
      • bingo,
      • memory,
      • matching games,
      • classification,
      • fighting against something (ie killing bad guys or taking away points to zero),
  • What represents the player? Place holders - clothes pins, self, numerical score, stack of cards that have been answered correctly, avatar
  • How do questions arise in the game? How are they presented? Index cards, electronically,

The book was inspired me to consider the project of creating some games based on the information fluency continuum (IFC) that is now supposed to be the basis of school library instruction in New York State.  I did not enjoy the benefit of studying this curriculum in college, as it was released after I completed my MLS, and I did not enjoy the benefit of having a school district support me in learning the curriculum, as I was not working at the time it was adopted. I am interested in soliciting support from SLMS that are aware of the finer points of the IFC in the games I create so please do not hesitate to contact me with thoughts or comments.

I would really love to have Rochester Area School Librarians (RASL) do a game creation workshop at The Strong Museum.  We could create a variety of games and then trade game ideas with each other so that we were all able to benefit from the work of each other.  RASL could use an online format to brainstorm ideas for subjects of games, and we can them form small creative groups to design game prototypes in our workshop. I’d really like to see a formally moderated critique so that we can share our knowledge and impressions of the games with each other.  It would be necessary to write up a formal description of the final games so that we can share the fruits of our labor with each other.

A few days after I wrote that up, University at Buffalo sent me this:

WNYLRC Workshop: Get Your Game On!
Bringing Badges to the Library: Embracing 21st century Assessment
Click here to register!
Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2016; from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Description: Many educational reformers have suggested that Digital Badges can transform how learning is currently measured, motivated, and supported. But like many pedagogical tools, a digital badge’s value is highly dependent on the learning opportunity and the learner. This is especially true in informal education where so much good learning occurs but is often, traditionally unrecognized outside of the setting where it occurred.
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) recognizes the value of a badge program can apply to both staff and patrons at libraries: for example, staff can earn and display badges for various competencies (building teen collections, mastering a technology, etc.) that helps inform colleagues, employers and others that your library has that unique set of skills and knowledge. Badges present new ways of engaging with all different patrons by “gamifying” their library experience. A badge program can be integrated with other library programs to connect reading with other interests (gardening, science fiction, cooking, virtual or real travel, etc.)
This workshop, led by one of the nations' leading researchers on digital badges, will provide an overview of what digital badges are and what current research tells us on how they can support learning in libraries and other informal learning settings. Participants will have the opportunity to both earn and, more importantly, learn how to create digital badges that can best serve their patrons.
Location: WNYLRC Training Center (
CE Workshop: Yes
CE Hours: .3
Speaker: Dr. Samuel Abramovich. Sam Abramovich is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. His research is devoted to finding and understanding the learning opportunities between the intersection of the Learning Sciences and Emerging Technology. Shortly after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a Ph.D. in Learning Science and Policy, Sam was named a recipient of an Edmund W. Gordon MacArthur Foundation/ETS Fellowship. Prior to earning his Ph.D., Sam was a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, a technology coordinator for the Rashi School in Newton, MA, and a serial dot-commer.
Max Class Size: 25
Heidi Bamford, Outreach & Member Services Coordinator
Western New York Library Resources Council, a member of the Empire State Library Network
Airport Commerce Park East
4950 Genesee Street, Suite 170
Buffalo, NY 14225-5528
(716) 633-0705 ext 114

Then I found out that the AASL conference this year will be held in Rochester, and the theme is Gaming as Meaningful Education.  Chris Harris, SLS director for Genesee Valley BOCES is the chair, and RASL communicates with him regularly.  Chris Harris has written several books on gaming, such as Libraries Got Game: Aligned Learning Through Modern Board Games. I had forgotten I knew how much work Chris Harris had put into promoting gaming in libraries, and how inspiring he is as a speaker.  Additionally, right here in Rochester, RIT offers a great game design and development degree program.  What an exciting opportunity this conference will be.  The will even be an after hours party at The Strong Museum.

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