Scratching the surface of video games

Through the TED Talks iTunes feed, I watched last evening this talk by Mitch Resnick on teaching kids to code:

Here is the link to Scratch, the kid (and neophyte) friendly video game builder.

I’ve been thinking of using video games or gamification for library & information literacy instruction and the Scratch tool seems like a fun and easy way to test some prototypes.

A different thread lead me to the strange case of David S. Gallant, who was recently let go from the Canadian Revenue Agency. He apparently developed a simple game about his day job which seems to put him in hot water. Here is his video presentation you Youtube:

I like the simple game dynamic, it reminds me when I first learned how to code on Hypercard on an Apple II way back in the early 1990s. Essentially, you are placed in a situation and the system prompts you for a few options. I also really like the idea of putting the player in the shoes of a call center operator.

So, here is a simple concept of my game: You are the libarrian ™ in which you play a (maybe) stereotypical librarian that is faced with questions from users. That way, the player would need to learn what we know in a role-playing, cognitive dissonance inducing on-the-spot way. It is like taking a multiple-choice test, but with (possibly) jokes and a dynamic kitch-spartan interface. What more could you need ?

Actually, the goal would be to also start the game at the lever of the user. Too many library-related instruction starts by presenting the library (books on this floor, here is the library catalogue, etc.) – I find this turns most people off. We should start to discuss the learner – what are their learning/reading/seeking habits. Then, talk about their need – what it means to do research (at any level) in a university. Confronting the two is a great way to generate interest in library resources while having an open conversation about the tools that constituted their info seeking habits (i.e. watch my videos on Google & Wikipedia):


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