Gaming at the heart of learning

We fill in information gaps. We help students find, evaluate, organize and hopefully use information. We usually do this with an academic (if not always a library) setting. But our hope is that the students can take those information literacy skills and apply them in a real world setting.

If that is the case, do we need to create games that are locked within that library/academic setting? The Fletcher Library’s Game Project does a nice job of setting up a fictional real life situation of a medical outbreak on campus. The students are applying are variety of information literacy skills to resolve questions around the disease. It’s a great project and I’m looking forward to hearing more next month at LOEX.

But couldn’t we go further (and wouldn’t it be a little easier too)? Does a game have to be set in a library? College campus? Why can’t we create fictional narrative spaces set in real life situations or even fantasy realms? Why can’t we create fictional narrative spaces that engage our students through gameplay? Some commercial game engines are well suited to creating these game environments.

I’m starting to look at a couple of commercial game engines that could be modded. I want to find something that allows for information seeking and evaluating as part of the gameplay. Instead of spelling out the academic educational content, I want to use the game experiences to draw comparisons and have discussions on how the skills required to be successful in the game, also make you successful in research and work. We are in a nice position with our core educational content since information literacy is a life long skill. There are a variety of potential real life situations where we can create gameplay situations that require exploration, communication, and evaluation of information in order to be successful.

Okay so I’m starting to bite off a lot here, but I’m going to develop this idea/outline/application over the course of this month and I’d love your input.