Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Growing A Gaming Group.

Amy Alessio, Joe Torres, Jason Larson, Amy Tyle "Growing a Gaming Group."
Gaming works. Here are 3 local, wildly different libraries that responded to patrons to create gaming and have responded to the positivity it creates.

Amy Tyle, Homer Public Library
  • Gaming events bring in kids who otherwise did not come in, many checked out other things.Open sessions attract kids who won't do tournaments and vice-versa.
  • Change settings/levels/open up memory.
  • Buy extra equipment and test it every time. DDR Pads are $20 on ebay. Wii, lots of batteries and space needed. Some games come with remotes.
  • Tables, chairs, food, board games, leftover craft projects
  • Costs less than presenter or electronic database. Good source: Red Octane who publishes Guitar Hero.
  • Borrow, shortlist, share.
  • Publicize thru TAC, schools, posters, press releases, blog. Expand to kids, adults.
Kelly Laszczak, Orland Park Public Library
Large events, tournaments are best for big populations. 32 finalists, 70 spectators.
  • Qualifying rounds, take highest scores for tournaments (make brackets in Publisher, print on 11X17 posters).
  • 3 rounds held over 3 months. Perfect amount of time. Tried & True.
  • Keep track of scores on a spreadsheet.
  • Prizes are a must. Best buy cards, coupons for local stores, etc.
  • Chess tournaments. 2 qualifying rounds. Opponents selected at random. Earn points for wins. This can be all ages.
  • Bag-o, like horseshoes.
  • Game On -- good practice for tournaments.
  • Family DDR, Preschool game day, good use of teen volunteers.
  • SRP final game showed increase of finishing rate by 10% very first year.
  • Open play sessions any day off.
  • Friends of the Library love these events, show them that they are good to support.
  • Can rent, then show attendance and get funding that way.
  • Local charities may support this. Kiwanis for kids' programs, fit the program to the mission of the particular charity.
  • Teen writers club. For after TAC?
Amy Allesio, Schaumburg District Township Library
  • Summer board game design contest program. Cheap, easy to do. Posterboards, markers.
  • Gamestop sells used games with warranties. Gamecube $40 Ps2 $80.
  • Gamer's group began due to teen request. Only 7 per session. Stick to E through T ratings. They come for social component. Multiplayer games are best for this.
  • MySpace, blog, wiki, helps gamers interact, comment, set up groups, Flickr, 2.0, podcasting and videocasting can be done as well.
  • DeVry has gaming/design simulation. Guest speakers will come.
  • Intergenerational Wii tounrament.
  • Always play along!

Libraries, Gaming, Equity Crisis

James Paul Gee. "Libraries, Gaming, and the New Equity Crisis."
--author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us.

Learning Available on the Internet, but Not at School:
Adaptive computer-based training, dynamic multimedia, hypertext, hypermedia, interactive simulation, intelligent tutoring systems, inquiry-based info retreival, animated pedagogical agents, etc.


-- literacy: stopped progress, yet widened after 1984. Still essential.
--applications: most kids fail, while still getting A's.
--knowledge: simply handing over technology widens gap. No mentoring in place for poor.
--tech-savvy: no fear of technology. Can use it. Necessary.
--innovation: simple jobs outsourced, school curriculum kills innovation.

Kindergarten vocabulary -- predilector for success in 4th grade and beyond. School is in academic, not everyday English. We fail to realize that kids can hate this language, can't use it.
--------Yu-Gi-Oh cards contain 3 if/then clauses. It is hard to process one. This is academic English. Kids learn this readily. Just not in school. Which makes things kids are good at hard. With 10,000 cards, there is no limit to what a kid can learn.

Learning Principles
Learning is a passion -- Lower the consequences of failure. IDEO's credo, "fail early, fail often" is good to apply. Every failure event is an opportunity to map out the maze, make progress in new ways.
Performance before competence -- Like learning English! Learn while you do. With support and help. Works in life, not in school...
Players high on agency tree -- Your choices make the game what it is. Codesign the game.
Problems are well-ordered -- Education, organic, in a way that is neither progressive or conservative. In a rich environment, be sure there is a progression, to form "right path," useful for later problems.
Cycles of challenge, consolidation, and new challenge (expertise) -- problem leads to routine mastery upon repetition. Offer new problem where old solution no longfer works. Keep ratcheting up problem, keep ratcheting up intelligence. Stay within, but at outer edge of players Regime of competence principle -- where work takes over life, a state of "flow."
**poor kids get too little practice while rich kids rarely get challenged.
----We need leaders that can think big----
Players encouraged to think about systems -- gain empathy for a complex system (Sims, ex). Give verbal information "just in time" when players need and can use it. Or "on demand" when the player asks for it.
Situate (show) associations -- the meanings of words and symbols and show how they vary across different actions, images, and dialogues. Don't just offer words for words, definitions.
Modding Attitude
--Modern games allow you to make characters, setting, equipment, etc (Civilization, Tony Hawk, etc.)

What We Must Do

  1. Change attitude towards learning! Embarrass schools into changing. Schools produce serviceworkers; 3/5 of us, according to former Secretary of State Robert Reich's book.
  2. Change attitude towards learning! Games don't have to be educational to educate.
  3. Change attitude towards learning! Kids always say they learn more at home than at school, when they're privileged enough to have access.
  4. Change attitude towards failure! Failure is a judgment on the game according to a kid, this is a healthy attitude. Failure in school is on their part? Middle class kids are starting to fail out for the first time.
  5. Follow new models! ARMY trains by games, for everything. The kids they get are the ones school faild with. We need new forms of learning. Anime culture leads some kids to learn Japanese! Literacy, art, drawing, environment linked here -- supermulticultural.
  6. Takes 10 years to become an expert, conventional wisdom. Start today!

The Payoff: Up Close and Personal

Eli Neiburger, "The Payoff, Up Close and Personal." July 22, 2:30 PM.

Gaming can provide a huge payoff for the investment of pizza, manhours, etc. We can borrow equipment, but it's best to own some in order to facilitate more players.
Ann Arbor District Library (Ann Arbor, MI) has shown results:

  • Year one it cost $10,000. Year 2, $5,000. 3, $6,000. 4, $7,000. It has been rising due to prestige and need to keep prizes at same level.
Gamers are a larger part of service population than readers.

  • Average age: 33.
  • 94% are between ages 18-49.
  • 80% vote.
Clearing Up Misperceptions:

  • Adult women actually game more often than teenage boys. If there is a knitting program, why no gaming program?
  • Market opening even more. Wii is opening up the market to boomers and seniors that may not be able to throw a 12 lb. bowling ball anymore.
  • All ages game. Adult-child teams can be very popular.
  • Some of the best players have learned at the library.
  • We can be dispenser, rather than detractor of "cred" and overcome library stigma.
  • Those who have no success in sports due to physical shape, awkwardness can be a success in something big. Helps bring people out of their shells.

Is about conversations through the content, whether it is Mario Kart or Sneetches. Games already exist in our library. Summer Reading Program is a game.

AADL Gamers blog has generated 10,200 comments. One comments attests to the fact that "there is life left in the library." Useful for attitude, changing program, auditioning commentators for events, etc.

Positive Interactions with Staff -- nonpedantic. Peer pressure exists to play by the rules, rather than break rules, as usual. (Don't mix in career day to destroy the spell).
Staff must buy in. IT, managers, maintenance. Otherwise, it won't work.

Can make national leaderboards by using AADL's system here. Software development here. Perhaps synchronized tournament days with online finals where libraries could face off. National marketing and sponsorship opportunities.

Broadcast to cable access. This can become huge. Payoff: proving relevance to an audience that would never otherwise see it. Eli is open for contact eli at aadl.org.

Current State of Gaming in Libraries

Scott Nicholson "Who Else is Playing? The current state of Gaming in Libraries." 7/22/07 2:30 PM. Head of Library Game Lab "exploring the intersection of gaming and libraries." And Board Games with Scott.

-- the study of games and play, using science to understand phenomenon. The spectrum: cards, dance pads, online puzzles, Dungeons & Dragons, etc. Lack of basic research as pertained to libraries, who know best practices from experience.

Do libraries support gaming? What types? Circulate games? Programming?
Tons of statistics, most notable: 77% reported the reputation of the library improved among participants. 76% came back for other non-gaming functions. 74% brought friends.

Library gamelab nexus has not started yet, about a year out. seems like it will be a great resource for those who don't feel like they have a gaming-supporting library environment. Findable somewhere through this page.
IST 600, class on gaming will be taught here as well.

Cool idea: gaming evenings, families go from table to table playing different games that are already set up for use.

White paper accessible here.

Games, Media Literacy, and Participatory Culture

Henry Jenkins "What Librarians Need to Know about Games, Media Literacy, and Participatory Culture" from ALA Techsource Gaming, Learning and Libraries Symposium 7/22/07 1:30 PM

Participatory culture - Harry Potter's extensive inclusiveness embodies this.
Game - Powerful technology, can engage people in anything, even political process. Modern version of the power of a "good book." Real learning takes place. Changes the way people think about learning. One can learn the logic, for example, of a historical process and it will stick in a way facts won't...and can't. A good librarian can help open up this process.
Referenced: Mary Louise Pratt's Art of the Impact Zone
Similar efforts: NBC's iCue is an in-progress as of this writing initiative to see what kind of learning is happening through games.
  • Spelling Bee -- This ends. No process
  • Scrabble -- Learning throughout entire game. Engaging. Far superior.
Gaming -- informal learning, part of a pedagogy of multiliteracies
  • 57% of teens are media creators
  • 33% share
  • 22% have home pages
  • 19% blog
  • 19% remix
Proportionally shrinking from most to least: urban, suburban, then rural kids are engaged in this process. Librarians can bridge this gap. Creating a...

Participatory culture -- with low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement.
  • Strong support for creating & sharing
  • Members feel their contribution matters
  • Informal Mentorship
  • Social connection between members.
Generations learn from each other -- Internet one of the only places this exchange can realistically take place.

Participation gap -- digital divide is taken care of (except for Native American). The new divide is between kids with 24/7 connectivity and those who can only use a computer in school or the library, can't download, and deal with filtering. These kids are more likely to believe advertising because only have a few minutes to look over information. Less media literacy.
Transparency problem -- When there is no critical perspective on media.
Ethics problem -- LiveJournal is used mostly by 17-19. No one to help with thinking about ethics, thinking, perspective. Is this safe?

Students Need to know these things:

Traditional print literacy -- how to be a person.
Research skills -- to collect and process information.
Technical skills -- coding, computing, not just keyboarding.
Media literacy -- understanding is essential to surviving and thriving.
Play -- capacity to experiment with your surroundings as a form of problem solving.
Simulation -- ability to interpret & construct dynamic models of real world processes (Zoo Tycoon, Sim City, etc.)
Performance -- ability to adopt alternative identities for the purposes of improvisation & *discovery*.
Appropriation -- ability to meaningfully sample & remix media content. Homer mashed up stories into The Odyssey. Incarcerated street kids redid Moby Dick with giant white drug cartel. Big games. Teaching future skills.
Multitasking -- ability to scan one's environment and shift focus onto salient details on an ad-hoc basis.
Distributed cognition -- ability to interact meaningfully with tools which expand our mental capacities.
Collective intelligence -- ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal.
Judgment -- ability to evaluate reliability and credibility of different knowledge sources.
Transmedia navigation -- ability to deal with the flow of info and stories across multiple modalities (Pokemon has cards, TV show, film, etc.) where density of structure can be vast.
Networking -- ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information.
Negotiation -- ability to trace across diverse communities discerning and respecting multiple perspectives and grasping and following alternative sets of norms.
Librarian: information facilitator vs. simply an archivist. We shape access to network skills, are technology experts who help kids bridge gaps and get information. Goal:
Participatory culture -- we are the hub for home schoolers and everyone else willing and interested in learning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gaming Learning and Libraries Symposium

Overarching thoughts:

-Games as programs are good and natural (Summer Reading Program, chess, and so on). Games as a service is ideal and the normal end result, ensuing an increase in overall library usage, most notably including reference questions.

-Games are educational without having to be "educational." People, average age 33, learn:
  • Problem-solving skills.

  • How to work within a team setting, proper socialization.

  • Creativity, as they design characters, etc.

  • Economics, as they purchase and sell in virtual marketplace.

  • Much more!
-While traditional literacy is still essential, gaming seems to be a very sophisticated form of literacy, perhaps part of media literacy. It will become increasingly crucial for libraries to stay on top of gaming if we want to attract our missing 80% (as other successful programs, such as the one in Charlotte Mecklenburg County (no. 12 below) remain that relevant "third place."

1.) Henry Jenkins "What Librarians Need to Know about Games, Media Literacy, and Participatory Culture" from ALA Techsource Gaming, Learning and Libraries Symposium
Play is the capacity to experiment with your surroundings as a form of problem solving. Media literacy, logical process, skills, necessary for us as information facilitators rather than gatekeepers to bridge that participatory gap.

2.) Scott Nicholson "Who Else is Playing? The current state of Gaming in Libraries." Head of Library Game Lab "exploring the intersection of gaming and libraries." And Board Games with Scott. Inspiring findings that most libraries do support gaming of some kind. There is no reason not to game in some way at the library. Nicholson's excellent survey supports this.

3.) Eli Neiburger, "The Payoff, Up Close and Personal." Gaming works. Gaming can provide a huge payoff for the investment of pizza, manhours, etc. Ann Arbor District Library's inspiring tournaments are a model of success.

Discusses the participatory gap, how kids are being taught to pass, but not succeed in life and how we, as facilitators, can make a difference by encouraging active play.

5.) Amy Alessio, Joe Torres, Jason Larson, Amy Tyle "Growing a Gaming Group." Gaming works. Here are 3 local, wildly different libraries that responded to patrons to create gaming and have responded to the positivity it creates.

6.) Katherine A. Fallow "Video Game Regulation and the First Amendment."
(from Jenner & Block, which works with the ALA on the Freedom to Read Foundation)
How solid are the legal arguments against video games? Very shaky indeed.

7.) Donald G. Dennis. "Building a Gaming Community and Game-Friendly Environment." Gaming is easy and inexpensive to start in the library today.

8.) Matt Gullett, Kelly Czarnecki, Craig Davis. "Supporting Culture with Creative and Participative Digital Media Learning Activities." We can not only support gaming, but can also enrich creativity by easily creating a game lab.

9.) Eli Neiburger. "Tournament Games for Any Occasion: Choosing the Right Games for Your Audience." Respond to patron needs by providing appropriate games.

10.) Greg Trefry. "Big Fun, Big Learning. Transforming the World through Play."
We can cheaply and easily run throughout our library and town engaging patrons in enriching and community-building activities.

11.) Beth Galloway. "Digital Downloads for Gamers."
We can build an excellent "core collection" of video games, many free, from an expert on them.

12.) Martin House, Mark Englebecht. "Gaming for Adults."
Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County used LSTA grant funds to start a program that became so successful that it became a service attracting nontraditional library patrons, increasing usage, most notably reference.

13.) Thom Kevin Gillespie. "Why Serious Gaming Shouldn't Be Taken Seriously."
Not only can gamers play, they can create...and for free. All we need are the machines for this increasingly marketable skill.

14.) Elizabeth Lane Lawley. "Gaming without Borders: Gaming Beyond Consoles and Screens."
RIT Lab for Social Computing. Gaming is a serious skill that helps people grow. Libraries are behind the times. We must catch up.