Gaming in Academia

I read this article on the Duke University website a few weeks ago, and was intrigued by what was said about incorporating gaming into the classroom. The article talked about the Center for Instructional Technology Showcase that was held on April 27, and I found the plenary session, titled “Serious Games: Digital Game-Based Learning in Higher Education” to be interesting. Here are some quotes from the article:

“If we [academics] can immerse students in an interactive story or
narrative, they’re motivated to work through problems and will
retain material more effectively than if they’re passively taking
notes in class.”

“State of the art 3-D graphics create the post-apocalyptic game
environment used in Sarbaum’s Econ 201, an introductory economics
course he will teach this coming fall at UNC-Greensboro. The game
will take the place of a standard introductory economics course. In
it, students play characters in a game involving aliens who have
crash landed, and have to use economic principles to survive. In
the course of doing so, they develop a society and engage in daily
struggles of supply and demand.”

“The hope is that by identifying with characters, the learning
will stick.”

That’s certainly one way to make an Econ class more interesting, huh? But here’s the deal – I can see the characters in the game needing to gather information, needing to do research in order to attain a goal in the game/class… and where might that information come from? I think it can come from librarians!

If the library works with the professor developing the class, the librarian can be the strategy guide in the game, helping the gamers/students attain information needed to attain goals (translation – get a good grade!).

Makes you think…