Tuesday, July 24, 2007

LibCamp in Boston, Saturday July 28

What is LibCamp Boston?

It's a FREE unconference Barcamp-style...focused on web 2.0, new media, and libraries... Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to come!

Come, share your stuff, and learn in an open environment.

Help plan a larger unconference in the Boston area in the coming months and/or help develop a local library 2.0 group where those focusing on new media and libraries can meet up, share their stuff, and answer the question: What are you doing in your library...?

We hope this will be an intense day filled with discussions, demos, presentations, and spirited interactions among all who attend.

When & Where?

July 28th, 10 am- 4pm : the McKim Conference Room, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

Cost: FREE.

How to get started:

  • Register for FREE. There is no cost to attend.
  • Promote - tell friends, colleagues, and associates- spread the word
  • Sessions - anyone is free to participate & present. Sign up for/Suggest a session now!

Elizabeth Lane Lawley, RIT Lab for Social Computing "Games Without Borders: Gaming Beyond Consoles and Screens

Lots of technical difficulties. Elizabeth was good humored if frustrated and showed non computer games
  • Reverse Scavenger Hunt
  • Cruel 2 B Kind
  • Passively Multiplayer Online Games
  • Yu-Gi-Oh & Pokemon tournaments
Games create opportunities for discussion and encourage creativity.

We need to take a leadership role in making sure that gaming horror stories are not at the top of the Google search results list.

She left us with a very empowering message: help other people understand that games are not bad. Tell them stories, don't cite statistics.

Everyone Loves the Wii!

Everyone Loves the Wii!
Originally uploaded by gizwomack
For those not at Gaming Learning and Libraries Symposium you missed a fun night of opening gaming. Eli brought DDR, Mario Kart, Guitar Hero, and the Wii. There was a tennis tournament, as well as a pokemon battle, and a Smooth Moves challenge. On the other side of the room we also had the very lovely Scott from Board Games with Scott, Donald Dennis from Syracuse University School of Information Studies (Scott is from there as well) and other table top enthusiasts who were promoting some great games reviewed on Board Game Geek.

If you weren't able to make it you now have the assignment to play the Wii!!!! :D

Monday, July 23, 2007

Eli Neiburger, AADL: "Tournament Games for Any Occassion: Choosing the Right Games for your Audience

Things to consider when choosing a game for a tournament
  • Audience
    • what age/gender?
  • Appeal
    • fun factor
  • Recognition
    • pick a game people know
  • Logistics/Matches
    • short rounds
    • multiplayer
  • Flexibilibity/Options
  • Victory Conditions
    • something that experts and novices have a chance at
  • Appropriateness/Rating
    • highly subjective, but it is a hot button issue at the moment
  • Accessibility
    • to people who haven't played
    • pick something that appeals to hardcore and beginning players
    • create an atmospshere where they feel comfortable sucking!
  • Hipness
    • something that people feel cool playing
  • Angstiness
    • high appeal, but can't be so dark you can't see it

  • Rabidty of Fanbase
    • if you pick a game that is played in World Championship, you have rule sets easily available.
    • SuperSmash Brothers is a great tournament game
  • Depth/Mastery
    • Pick a game that you can always get better at
    • pick a game that is repeatable

The Genre Landscape
Just like books, there are many genres! Game Rankings.com has a very deep video game taxonomy.

Eli provided a quick tutorial on game ratings, and gave a reminder that online play may change the rating of the game. His slide on Trite Generalizations on why kids play games was terribly funny.

Having no "M" rated games is a great way to sidestep a number of issues. You can limit ages to the range on the box.

He did a speed overview of the good, the bad and the ugly on games within each genre... it was so fast, the best thing to do is grab slides at http://eliworks.com/dav/tourneygames.pdf. Or, buy his book!

Matt Gullett, Kelly Czarnecki & Craig Davis: "Supporting Culture With Creative and Participatory Digital Media Learning Activites

Matt and Kelly introduced GameLab at PLCMC and talked about their many partners and projects. Animation is posted both on YouTube and the Library website and the MySpace page.

Craig Davis introduced his company, the Youth Digital Arts CyberSchool, that provides online month long technology classes on game design and other digital art. There are forums, lessons and tutorials as well as models.

He showcased games--complex, multi-level games--programmed by 8 & 9 year olds, as well as explanations from the designers on how they made the game. Enterpeuerism is part of the experience; so is mentoring. Students are encouraged to post and share their code, especially to work through problems.

Other course offerings include music production and digital painting. Craig showed some really beautiful images, and it's all self-expression.

Creating original work steps around the problem of kids ripping music.

Note: production level is incredibly high when the audience is your peers.

Donald Dennis, GameLab: "Building a Game Community and Game Friendly Environment"

Advice from a conventioner, podcaster and game support, and now a video game designer.

Define your physical and social environments
  • lighting
  • power
  • furniture (flexible, tables that can be pulled together or pushed apart for versatility)
  • storage (security and availability are an issue; see-through plastic storage bags like for book/cassette kits, wheeled cart or shelving unit, and tupperware containers are possibly choices
  • Decor
    • posters
    • displays
    • game
    • sculptures
    • toys
    • game boards
    • puzzles
    • banners
    • swag direct from companies
  • web community
    • calendar
    • rss feed
    • forum
    • wiki
    • game chooser
    • personal pages with ratings, collections and game blogs
  • Age focus or social group focus or game focus
  • Traditiona; (board, card, dice, war & mini)
  • Role playing (table top RPG, Live Action (Parlor LARPs, Live Scale RPGs, Live Action RPGs)
  • Electronic (arcade, video, digital)
  • Gamer Advisories
  • Games by theme of mechanics
  • books about games
  • books and comics where characters play games
  • game related websites
  • audio/video podcasts
  • movies like Cloak & Dagger, ET, War Games
  • Session Reports
  • Reviews
  • Game of the Month
  • Game Lists
Have a bowl labelled missing pieces to collect stray parts
Cloth covered elastics make the best box bands

There are Game Companies that want to share promotional items! There are also organizations that support games.

Some great companies that support games in education
Looney Games
NorthStar Games

Librayr Game Nexus it going to be the go to resource by January!
posted at http://www.gamelab.syr.edu

Katie: What If: Gaming, Intellectual Freedom, and the Law

Content based speech restriction is a First Amendment violation

Incitement to imminent lawlessness & violence
YOu cannot justify laws under a preventing violence rationale
video games are intending to entertain
Also cannot show the causal effect

Cant restrict based on how it will make the listener think or feel Protecting Psychological well being of minors is not role of the government

Standards have not been met
Methodological issues: Studies don't show video games ever caused anyone to commit violent acts or cause actual harm to minors. There is a correlation, but there is no predicting it. Are people who are aggressive drawn to violent games or to games make people aggressive? Studies done mostly on adults, not minors.

Attempts to show physiological evidence of harm harm failed

Attack on unfavored newcomer
Awareness raising measures, re: rating system
parental controls are part of all new game consoles

Void for vagueness
Constitution rewuires notice of what speech is permissible
What is "human?" in the world of video games?
What is "harm?"
Chilling effect

Violent video games, not included in obscenity
Limited to explicit sexual depictions
Expanded to include violence has been rejected by numerous courts

So far every restriction has been struck down (six in the last 2 years)
Recent attempts are to force rating system
Inherent First Amendment principles make these kinds of laws impermissible
Problem with the "newcomer"

Some legislators are getting more comfortable with the medium, but it's still a favorite punching bag.

Lori Bell & Tom Peters

Lori Bell, Alliance Library System, gave a quick overview of how a tiny project has grown into 40 islands - to an info archipelago, indeed a whole contintent.

Her talk included a general overview of SL, the history of Alliance Library System in SL, and the overwhelming interest and growth in the project. Some stats:
8 million people in SL
600 self identified libraries
50 libraries with a unique presence, some with their own islands
5000 visitors a day
over 1000 members of libraries friends group
600 in science center and other interest group

Lori thinks the project is really meeting need of educators to be in a community together, and Tom spoke to WHY people have been so willing to donate their time and participate. Perhaps their jobs just are not able to provide a creative outlet.

There have been important partnerships and sponsorships with SL businesses and organizations as well as RL government and educational agenices, library companies.

Working Groups
  • SciFi
  • HealthInfo Island
  • Mystery Manor
  • Renaissance Island
  • Art (they don't have conferences, so providing a real service for them to be able to connect)
  • Accessiblity

Exhibits and Library Education are major projects, and networking is a major benefit.

Mythica on Imagination Island, and Caledon's library has become a hub of that community.

There is always a group of librarians hanging out at Info Island.

An ALA interest group was formed at the last conference.

Collaborations and Experiements Lori highlighted at
Rich Island to promote new NF book, Why is this Idiot Rich and I'm Not? The Globe Theatre and Dante's Inferno are exciting new builds.

Is SL a game? Only it's hairdresser knows for sure.
It looks like an MMORPG. Linden Lab calls it a game, but Tom analogized it to a mall... or government entity, and stressed the content creation of the citizens.

Key Points from Year One
  1. Explosion of Worldwide Volunteerism
  2. Rapid Development and Growth
  3. Collaborative Efforts within and beyond Librarianship
  4. Exhibits and Events a big success
  5. Reference Service a big success

The opportunity for collaboration is tremendous - maybe we need to be looking towards museums and theme parks. We need to look at information experiences.

Sex, Gambling and LIbrarianship would be a GREAT title for an SL presentation.

Salon culture evolves at the SL Reference desk. I wonder if it is isolating though. I don't hang out at the library, I only go there for my shift and an event. I do a ton of outreach just by walking around in world with "Librarian" floating over my head.

Goals for Year Two:
  • Community Building
  • Providing a Global Presence
  • Funding and Sustainability
  • ALA Virtual Online Communities and Libraries
  • Improving Meetings: audio/mixed reality
  • Library education in Second Life
There are so many challenges. Funding is a huge one. It is a highly addictive endeavor. People are spending a huge amount of waking and sometimes sleeping time in world. (I wonder if the ones who never come back have alts). There is a gold rush mentality. Not everyone understands that when you are in SL you are working. The hardware and Internet requirements are intense, but there is still not integrated audio and web. It's still new and changing really fast and volunteer based, so it's a struggle to make it work sometimes.

(My battery is dying, will post rest later)

James Paul Gee, University of Madison Wisconsin "Libraries, Gaming and the New Equity Crisis"

"Why does the army teach the way it does--with video games and simulations?Because they get the kids that failed at the school system, and if they teach the way our schools did our soldiers would die. And we should ashamed they did it better than we do."

Gee framed his talk on teh concept that there really is no more middle class, beginning with a list of things online that are not available in school, like computer training, hypertext/media,
interactive stimulation, intelligent tutoring systems, etc. He identified a number of gaps in learning:
Literacy (4 kids out of how many learn to read less well than their peers)
Application (Kids can spit back information (ie, cite a law) but can't apply it; the application gap is the reason that most kids feel.)
Tech Saavy (Tech saavy means you are not afraid of technical stuff ad you can use tech productively to produce stuff not just consume. Simply handing people the tech widens the gap not lessens it, and weathly & middle class families provide support and mentoring in a way that low income ones cannot.)

The role of the librarian is to proivde the support, the scaffolding, the mentoring - not just the tools.

A reminder: success at school is really a home based event. Early literacy at home = school success. Having a strong academic language from at home literacy is required to do well.

"Learning is a reward for intelligent creatures. Our society has made it a turn off"

Learning principles in games are the same as ones in schools. Gee invited us to consider the following 12 learning principles and consider, is it a good principle should we put it in school, or in a library?

  1. Lower the consequences of failure. Encourages risk-taking and innovation and new styles of learning. Every failure is a learning event. "Fail early, fail often" IDEO Credo
  2. Players are high on the agency tree. Your decisions and choices really matter. Your choices make you a co-designer of the game.
  3. Problems are well ordered. Immersion with support and mentoring
  4. Cycles of challenge, consolidation and new challenge. Give them a problem, repeat it til they have mastered it, and then give them a problem where it no longer works, so they have to revisit the problem and come up with a new skill. Super Mario Brothers does this very very well. Problem, practice, problem, practice, BOSS. This is the cycle not just for becoming a gamer, but for becoming a learner. The poor kids don't get enough practice and the rich ones don't get challenged
  5. Stay within but that the outer edge of the player's regime of competence. Games keep you pleasantly frustrated. Getting to the state of FLOW motivates.
  6. Games encourage players to think about systems, not just isolated facts.
  7. Empathy for a Complex system. A game is a simulation you are IN. When scientists talk about systems, they use "I"
  8. Give verbal info just in time when players need and can use or "on demand" when the player asks for it. There is a whole encyclopedia for Civilization but you have to ask for it.
  9. Situate the meanings of words and symbols and show how they vary across different actions images, and dialogues. Don't just offer words for words. Get beyond a definition and associate a word with an example. Kids only get books in schools. They can apply situated meaning to EVERY situation, they would succeed. All that's hard about academic language is trying to learn it verbally.
  10. Modding Attitude. Games come with the software so the player can change and edit the game. In Tony Hawk you can play the game, or make the whole game over again.
  11. Assessments. Kids will read charts show evaluation for a game, and not for school.

Q. Why is it had to get teachers in schools to get on board with games?
A. It's related to LABOR. Our schools are functioning quite well to produce service workers. 1/5 of people will be knowledge creators, 1/5 technical, and 3/5 will be service workers.

Q. A game does not have to be "Educational" to be educational.
A. Yes, these learning principles can apply on content you like OR don't like. Kids are learning tons of stuff that is not the traditional school based content. Kids say they are learning more at home; school is important because you need the certificate. We split up learning the way Aristotle did. he's dead! Let Aristotle's discipline go.

Q. Why don't I want to do it?
A. You weren't willing to put up with failure. Gamers see failure as a failure of the game designer, not themselves.

A kid who is behind in reading in first grade has an 80% chance of being behind in HS. Being behind in games is really hard to rectify too.

Photos from Video Game Tournament

Pics from the Video Game Tournament. I am assuming the guilty parties will identify themselves! (or tell me to delete their image).


Eli Neiburger, AADL "The Payoff: Up Close and Personal"

Eli introduced himself as the third in a trilogy of bearded white males, Geek 3: the Geekinator before launching into a very clear and passionate presentation about all the video gaming program at the Ann Arbor (MI) District Library. He talked about details like budget - an intial investment of hardware has lead to three years worth of programs. For just $150 you can host a video game program for 30-50 people - you don't have to have 8 tvs and give away iPods. They are fortunate to have administrative and IT buy in, and a Friends group that buys prizes.

One thing I love about hearing Eli speak is that he tells great stories and everything he says is quotable. He mentioned at 40% of Americans don't read after high school, and gamer make up a larger portion of your community than readers.

AADL hosts a blog and leaderboards where players and one way the kids are able to express themselves is by posting on the boards. They can say anything, but they can also ask Eli to review posts and replace salty language with the word "snork."

The payoff is providing relevance to an audience that didn't think it was possible [for the library to be relevant in their lives]."

He concluded with a 10 minute video that showed highlights from tournaments and interviews with players, parents and librarians.

He also announced that in July 2008, AADL will make their leaderboard available NATIONALLY. Watch http://gtsystem.aadl.org for details.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Scott Nicholson, Syracuse, Library Game Lab "Who Else is Playing? The Current State of Gaming in Libraries"

The Library GameLab at Syracuse is examining the entire spectrum of games. Scott Nicholson gave the grand unveiling of data from his study. We got it BEFORE the NYT! It's online at http://boardgameswithscott.com/pulse2007.pdf

Women age 40 play online games from 12-5am!

Library & Casino could be the end of our financial woes. One library already does bingo with books as prizes.
Right now the focus has been on Best Practices in specific settings
which are hard to generalize and develop a theory around. So, Scott and Co. set out to determine what are the basic research questions that individual libraries don't have time to answer?

Understanding the State of Gaming
400 random libraries - 382 replied

Do you support gaming
Gaming programs?
Policies about computer use for games?
What are your plans for future gaming?

Gaming Census
gaming programs in libraries in 2006 to gain a better systematic understanding of

Library Size
1-3000 112 76%
3000-10,000 121
10,000-50000 106
50,000+ 43

Scott took a conservation approach, and assumed that people who are not responding do not support gaming.

Do you support gaming in your libraries? Scott used Wits and Wagers http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/20100
as a model to have us estimate the answer to the question. My guess was 83%.
There is serious math involved in figuring out the points; it's a game of statistics. "Heh heh heh," said Scott "I just got you THINKING!"

The answer? 77%. However... everybody won! North Star Games donated 300 copies of Wits & Wagers to the GLLS participations.

White Paper Resutls?

Percent of Libraries that Run Gaming Programs?
Yes 172 43%
N0 210 52%

20% circulate games highest percentage
30 circ Board
30 PC games
15% puzzle
5 console games

Can patrons play games 82%

It's more than just DDR!

Gaming programs 3473 programs

179 unique programs

Once they get a program they stick with it.

Average run of a program: 20 times

33 participants per prgoram on average
90,000 people participating in gaming programs in 2006
56,639 unique users

Were the games educational? 10%
public 6.5%
academic 9%
school 50%

Competitive: 50%
public 48%
academic 64%
school 57%

What did they play?
DDR, 50%

DDR is the most popular game. Chess is #3. Uno, Checkers and Scrabble made the list

service to active group
community role
cultural signifcance
to intro the library
pr for lib
build dev assets
new literacies

reputation of library improved
users attending gaming program and returned to the library another time for non gaming services.
Social connections were improved, including outside of their peer groups
Non participants complained about the program

Tangent Man said vendors are interested in supporting libraries doing tournaments and LAN parties.

What's next:
Go through the comments
Get funding!
Repeat random sample for school & academic libraries.
Repeat census in 2008
Create a classification system for games
Economist's study of games for the public good
Non-organizational, individual, Online portal in development: Library GameLab Nexis

Scott insists that just saying it meets mission is not enough. We need to look at it from a public good perspective.

Register for IST 600 for Gaming in Libraries, a 3 credit graduate course @ SU School # weekends in NY, rest online
Focus is to put out students who can run gaming programs.

Q. Who did you talk to, administrators or children's librarians?
A. First we said, we are not vendors! We explained the survey and let the library decide who we should talk to.

Q. Is there a disconnect between what MIT is doing to show the educational value of gaming?
A. The harder thing to do is to show that games have recreational value.

Q. Where do teen services fit in children's services?
A. We didn't branch out that far. Games in the children's section was the most common response. Need money to break it out.

Q. Did you check validity for your results?
A. Did not answer

Q. Do people say we support games, but not gaming?
A. A good next study is to figure out what people perceive as games vs. gaming.

Q. Any plan for studying intergenerational gaming?
A. There are lots of games that are good for all ages or families.

Q. Have game companies been approached?
A. Board games vendors are coming in, and vendors are very interested.

Welcome: Games, Learning & Libraries 2007

Keith Michael Fields, ALA executive director stressed that the syposium brings together all divisions and types of libraries. ALA will continue to take the lead in research and best practices

Partners and sponsors were thanked (ACRL, Syracuse GameLab & Verizon, as well as prize donors from tabletop & video gaming companies & magazines).

Tags for Games Learning & Libraries: glls2007

My bookmarks: del.icio.us/informationgoddess29/glls2007

Henry Jenkins, Director of MIT Comparative Media Studies: "What Librarians Need to Know About Games, Media Literacy, and Participatory Culture"

"Its' not just about turning your library over to games... it's about thinking what it means to play as an alternative system of learning."

Jenkins spoke about the irony of a gaming symposium on the biggest reading weekend of the year, reminded us that gamers consume across mediums, and challenged us to think about
what constitutes play and what constitutes learning?

He shared a personal story about his son playing Power Play (Doonesbury Election Game) http://www.powerpolitics.us/about.htm, and when his son brought it to school, discovered a
BOOK about the political process is ok; a GAME is not. The experience was personal and Henry spoke about working on the local level to change the way people think about learning

He referenced the Civilization project
Sneaking in and cheating by looking at their textbooks to solve What If? scenarios, and had inner city students who learned history on the Guns Germs & Steel level (by Jared Diamond) http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/. A similiar case study can be found in Arts of the Contact Zone by Mary Louise Pratt - the literacy process brought about by baseball card collecting.

Sometimes a passion spurs literacy around a subject.

iCue, a new game debuting in fall 2007 to engage kids in learning about politics, current events and media http://icue.com/

The spelling bee model is not instructive or engaging; compare to Scrabble, which is much more interactive
Scot Osterweil, Education Arcade http://cms.mit.edu/people/staff.php

The game becomes only one element in a serious game because of the reading and engagement

Children under 6 spend almost 2 hours a day using screen media
Kaiser Foundation

9% play games
83% have screen time and play outside around 2 hours a day
79% are read to
73% wach tv and watch video/DVD

Instead of "Screen Media BAD" Limit it, consider how to creatively ethically imaginatively

Pew Internet & American Life http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/166/report_display.asp
57% media creators
33 % share
22 % homepages
19% blog
19% remix content

Girl more likely to engage in content creation; race not a factor urban kids are most likely.

What about the 43% who do not participate?
this points to the role librarians want play.

Defined participatory culture as one with:
Low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement
support for creating and sharing
informal mentoring
contributions matter
social connection between memebr

Adults and kids learn from each other w/o a fixed age hierar
chy "Fluidity of relationships"

HP is a book that is teaching kids to WRITE.

Social sills and cultural competencies
Kids who grow up playing games and with access to technology are much more comfortable with tech in the classroom
Think about what these kids need not just extended hours, but help thinking about the process

The transparency problem
unless we couplea critical approach to media... we are not in asituation where we can help this generation move. Think about emdia critically

The Ethics Problems

Livejournal peaks at 18 the age of a high school newspaper editor

Kids need:
access to skills
abilty to articulate their understanding

Need to know
Traditional Print Literacy
Research Skills (evaluating Wikipedia)
Technical Skills (computing & codig)
Media Literacy (institutions and practices through which media circulates

"Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century" MacArthur Foundation
Project NML.org

Play the capacity to experiment with your surroundings as a form of problem solving (scientific method)
Learn by failure insead of by success
Simulation - the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real world processes

Performance: the ability to adopy alernative identities forthe purpose of improvization and discovery

Appropriation - the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content

3-D Game Based Filmmaking: The Art of Machinima
Rise of the Machinma

Remixing as a skill that has shaped human history

Ricardo Filtzwalli

Nothing new under the sun - Shakespeare wrote fan fiction!

Multitasking the ability to san one's environment and shift focus onto salient detials on an ad hoc basis


Distributed Cognition the ability to interact meaninfully with tools which expand out mental capacity

Collective Intelligence -- the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal

(Alternative reality games like I love bees Halo 2 promotion)

Judgement the ability to evaulation the reliability and flow

Transmedia Navigation the ability to deal with the flow of sories and information across multiple modalities (Pokemon)

Networking-- the ability to search, synthesize and disseminate information (Lost)

Are youth safer working through this stuff alone? Or doing it with a mentor and expert?

DOPA isa fight we have to win

Negotiation -- the ability to travel acorss diverse commnities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative sets of norms.

Info Facilitator or coach: Librarian as search engine!

Understand how games work and game space learning work - play WITH the kids and help them understand

Tinkering Space
John Seely Brown

Global Kids Barry Joseph Teen Second Life
Urban Games Academy (Baltimore)

Showcase machinima
The library is part of a social network

Q: How did you decide to work with NBC?
A. They came to us, because they recognize they are losing viewers

Q. What's Your Favorite Video Game
A. Tetris. I'm more of a casual gamer. I have a respect for the Sims, Pheonix Right (DS)

Q. Are you working with the NY school with the MacArthur Foundation grant?
A. Yes! On game design process as motivating learning.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Top 100 Games of All Time

BBC News, 7/2/2007
"The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has topped a poll of readers of Edge magazine and industry experts to find the top 100 games of all time."