Tag Archives: games and learning

A Portal to Student Learning: What instruction librarians can learn from video game design

My article on Portal and learning from game design has been published in the most recent issue of Reference Services Review. This was the paper I presented at the LOEX of the West 2008 conference and my first real attempt to connect the structures of video games and teaching or learning.

It is available to everyone from the WSU Research Exchange. The link to the article text may be found at the bottom right of the page.

ACRL 2009: Seattle here were come!

My colleagues Serin, Carole and I had our presentation to ACRL 2009 accepted. I’m pretty excited, especially seeing as how national conferences are a real crap-shoot (gaming reference) and there are a LOT of quality ideas that don’t get the chance to be voiced at these. Well, we got lucky this time. Here is what we’ll be presenting:

We’re not playing around: Gaming literate librarians = information literate students

Concerned with reaching the newest generation of college students? Try increasing your gaming and new media literacy. Perhaps you’ve heard that new college students’ learning preferences have been influenced by playing video games, this presentation will present serious adult professionals with tips on increasing their new media literacy without sacrificing their dignity or academic rigor.

There is no denying that video games are all the buzz, but how just much attention should academic librarians pay to them? With all the competing demands on our time and attention, can we justify keeping up with what amounts to a frivolous pastime? We can, because good games are successful at teaching skills that we would like to see our students apply to information literacy. Librarians who understand how a well designed game engages and teaches students are better able to apply those lessons to their own instruction.

The key to isolating the pedagogically useful information in video games is to separate the underlying design and structure of games from their content. When we look beyond the admittedly childish content of many video games, we see that our students are learning how to think actively and critically while they play. They remain committed to the learning process and persistently build new skill sets to achieve success. Librarians striving to engage students in active and critical research processes can learn much from observing how games teach. This session will explain why games are important, draw connections between good video game design and good pedagogy, and present librarians with information and techniques for becoming literate in the new media.

The presentation will be framed for an audience not already familiar with history and culture that surround video games. We will open with an introduction to video games as a media and present the effect this media has had on the shared culture and learning preferences of college students. Next, we explore how good game designers teach their players. This will reveal both the learning preferences of the gamer generation and highlight innovative pedagogies we can adapt for our own instruction. Finally we will present practical tips for librarians to increase their gaming literacy and to use that literacy to engage their students in serious academic research.