ALA2007: Participatory Networks: Libraries as Conversations: Second Life

John Lester (Pathfinder Linden!):

– introduction to second life
– fundamentally not a game
– asked “is the web a game?” There are games on the web… SL is the same
– online augments face-to-face just like the phone augments – doesn’t replace
– median age 35
– goal – host your own SL grid (they went open source in January 2007)
– emotional bandwidth – constantly want to connect with people (emoticons vs avatars with facial expressions)
– over 200 universities represented – doing experiential learning
– creating immersive experiences
– imagine learning about ancient egypt, in a replica of ancient egypt
– real vs virtual worlds… are people you talk to real? Cell phone? What’s the difference?
– don’t get mired in past frameworks – ie., movies are not plays

ALA Midwinter 2007: Digital Gaming in Library Instruction

I attended the ACRL Instruction Section Current Issue Digest and Discussion Forum on digital gaming in library instruction. It was pretty interesting – here are my notes, mainly on comments and questions I found interesting, in fairly random order (with two wicked cool ideas that came up, too):

  • You could use Second Life as a platform to create a game
  • Sight and hearing disabled students – can you meet ADA requirements with games?
  • someone mentioned partnering with computer science departments to develop games
  • Wicked Cool Idea #1: Someone is incorporating gaming language into classes – what a cool idea! They use “power ups” – they frame the the instruction session into a storyline, and use powerups (ie., boolean and, or, and not searches) when the powerups are needed.
  • Someone mentioned the simulation games the military uses (in defense of if games work or not for instruction)
  • Cold Stone Creamery uses a game during their initial employee training
  • Someone mentioned the game Neverwinter Nights – it has an add-on that allows you to build customized modules. You could build a “find stuff in the library” type of game. You can even design the conversations in this game.
  • Wicked Cool Idea #2: Someone uses Guess the Google in their instruction classes (it’s a guess what keyword is used to find what’s displayed on the screen). She has students yell out responses, it gets students into it, and it leads to discussion on keyword and phrase searching – in a much more fun way!
  • Money and time were mentioned alot.
  • Jenny Levine’s LTR on gaming was mentioned.
  • One funny thing (to me) was discussed a little, too. I heard “is it in the literature?” and “is there empirical research of the educational impact… ” of educational gaming. Someone else mentioned they didn’t want to do it if it falls flat (I assume, in the literature again). I wasn’t feeling terribly brave that day, so I didn’t speak up … but I thought about saying this: “if you wait for “Empirical Research” and for games to appear in “The Literature,” you will be followers. The cool stuff isn’t created by following, but by innovating.

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Michael, david and DDR

Michael Porter and I decided to test out DDR, which was set up at ALA’s Techsource booth at the ALA Midwinter meeting just held in Seattle, WA. As you can see from the video, we had a good time!

Michael Porter and I decided to test out DDR, which was set up at ALA’s Techsource booth at the ALA Midwinter meeting just held in Seattle, WA. As you can see from the video, we had a good time!

Update: forgot to add – Beth Hoffman of the Adventures in Library School blog shot the video for me (I can’t dance, but I REALLY can’t dance and take shoot video at the same time!). Thanks Beth!

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Reuters News Service inside Second Life

From SmartMobs… Reuters has opened a news bureau inside Second Life. has more: “Adam Pasick, a Reuters’ media correspondent based in London, will serve as the news organization’s first virtual bureau chief, using a personal avatar, or animated character, called “Adam Reuters,” in keeping with the game’s naming system.”

“As strange as it might seem, it’s not that different from being a reporter in the real world,” Pasick said. “Once you get used to it–it becomes very much like the job I have been doing for years.”

Wow – that’s one interesting job, huh? But did you see what the correspondent said? “…it’s not that different from being a reporter in the real world.” I’d have to guess it’d be the same for libraries!

Have you considered having a digital presence within Second Life?


MLA2006: Gaming in Libraries

David Freeman at Springfield-Greene Public Library spoke about gaming in libraries.

35% of American parents are gamers (and play WITH their kids)

12-18 year old males are the hardest group to get in the library. Gaming will do it!

Gaming adds huge credibility to your library for that age group.

Know what teens like to play – they might also like to read books or watch videos in that genre.

Suggestions on how to convice people that games are good:

  • Read this book – How to Kill Monsters. From the book – young gamers tend to be less violent… people in jails tend to have less access and exposure to media of all types. Wow.
  • Also the book – Everything Bad is Good for You

Gaming teaches social skills, reading skills, math skills, etc… it’s not just about the game itself.

Discussed the newer wII game coming out soon.

Gave a quick overview of game types, including console video games, online games like Runescape, board games, card games (ie., Yu-Gi-Oh), etc.

Incorporating games into programming:

  • fantasy gaming nights (just set up tables and chairs, and turn them loose)
  • monthly teen night – they let kids play Runescape after-hours! Some play Everquest or Neopets…
  • Console gaming – cheap wireless headphones to cut down on sound, allow them to check out games at the desk, use it to support other programs (ie., use Ace Combat in a flying program), sports on the big screen – football or racing games are both popular
  • the kids tend to self regulate themselves for time limits and other rules
  • Game swap nights – trade your games with each other… (make sure to monitor for fairness)
  • Retro gaming night (pong, pacman, etc)

Videotoaster – will run 8 Gamecubes, broadcast it, and send it to a big screen.