When you hear "games" what do you think of?

Should there be a distinction between "games" and "video games" or even "computer games" for librarians? I often use the term "games" here, but I almost always refer to video games. A recent article on "games" makes me think twice about how we are talking about and using "games" in our libraries.

Earlier today I read the post on The Information Literacy Land of Confusion about a new article about "games" for information literacy, and now it is popping up elsewhere. While the article itself provides nice instruction sessions, I feel called to speak up about the articles use of "games."

While I am very thankful that this type of research, instruction and application is going on, I feel that it sets our sights so low as educators. Felicia's article does provides a handful of useful example games and positive student feedback to go along with them. But I feel that it falls into the trap of basing the genre of library games around what traditional librarians are comfortable with... not what are students are. Yes, doing a crossword puzzle on the computer, counts as a "game" and it is more engaging than a traditional lecture. But is it truly as engaging for students as it could be?

I am thankful that there are librarians developing information literacy games for all ends of the gaming spectrum. But I want to make sure that the more interactive and engaging end of the spectrum, those of video games, gets seen and heard from as well. For my instructional time, I would rather offer my students traditional lessons that incorporate gaming (video gaming) strategies that engage and motivate them. Traditional games do work, but we cannot just throw a computerized word game at our students and blindly trust gaming strategies to work.

There is a lot that video games can offer and teach our students, we just need to be willing to reach out and try. Granted if you are reading this, you know that already... we just need to keep spreading the message.

The article and image are from Library Philosophy and Practice 2007 and is written by Felicia Smith of Notre Dame. Games for Teaching Information Literacy Skills


Scott Nicholson said...

This confusion is one of the research questions we are tackling at Syracuse. We're trying to get funding to build up the Game Lab to look at all types of games, and one of the first research questions is to develop a classification system for games so that we have a common language to use when describing games.

Different types of games develop different skills, and each can be used to teach in a different way, and part of what we want to do is systematically explore this. So, if we want to be specific, we need to used specific terms - as with any science, the more you learn, the more specific your language becomes.

More info at http://blogs.iis.syr.edu/mslis/?p=32

Paul said...


Thank you for the post. I'll drop you an email, I'm very interested in your project.


Kiara said...

Game information Literacy, There are forums being held at different libraries and I believe this can help the people know more about the Download Games and Video Games. Every game teaches us in its own different ways. Not all games are the same. They provide certain enhancements and on different level. And the rate of absorption varies on people playing the games.