Michelle Boule, a Social Sciences Librarian at the Universtiy of Houston, was a recent guest blogger for ACRLog. Her post, which was called Serious Games, combines my interest in the library world (information literacy) and my interest outside the library world (video games). Boule discusses a new type of game called the “serious game.” These are games that teach people things, such as the games that we have been seeing for over a decade that teach children simple things like spelling and math skills. Some of the newer games in this genre are tackling issues much more serious than the subjects being taught in schools, however. Boule points us to some games that address issues such as global warming and the genocide in Darfur.
Then she goes on to discuss what implications these “serious games” can have for libraries. Boule suggests that libraries should be creating “serious games” that teach information literacy skills. These games could include solving puzzles that include some sort of information search or require the player to differentiate between good and bad information in order to solve it. I think that Boule makes some very valid points when she says that these types of games could have a real impact on information literacy instruction.
Games are one of the mediums of choice for today’s youth and there’s no reason that libraries shouldn’t be using this medium to reach them. I’ve seen first hand gaming servers and the collaborative work that goes into completing or playing a game on a something such as Xbox Live. It seems like the implications for creating a collaborative information literacy game would be just as great. I’ve read in a number of articles on information literacy that say that one of the best ways for students to learn information literacy skills is to learn with the help of peers.
The implications made by Boule are great for information literacy and would make it a more interesting subject for today’s younger generation. In addition they would learn much more from something that they didn’t even realize they were learning from.