Information Flux in the 21st Century

Games for Change and Gaming in Libraries

Now that I have time to ponder how I will best make use of my new MSLIS, one of the areas I am focusing on is gaming, and the use of games in libraries. Last month I attended the Games for Change festival. The organization Games for Change “seeks to harness the extraordinary power of video games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, human rights, global conflict and climate change…” The Games for Change festival is one of a kind; it is the only festival dedicated to the movement of Digital Games for Social Change. The festival offered an immersion in what these games are, who is developing them, how they can be developed, fundraising possibilities, findings on their effects in education, etc. An impressive array of scholars, developers and personnel from fundraising organizations presented insightful topics in thought provoking sessions.

The keynote speaker at the festival was Nicholas Kristof. This columnist, who passionately writes about global issues for The New York Times, is in the process of attaching his name to a game. Unfortunately, he couldn’t say much about the game (sworn to secrecy?), but he did speak about his experiences and perceptions about games and civic engagement. And, he spoke about how the game Darfur is Dying brought the issue to an audience broader than the readers of his column. He mentioned a clever invitation he received via Twitter to visit a website, dearmrkristoff.com. This website was created by English teachers from a middle school in the Bronx to share with Mr. Kristof the experiences of their classes in exploring the game Darfur is Dying. Two classes made documentaries; one on Darfur, and the other about youth awareness of genocide. Here is a clear example of a how a game was used to enlighten students about a profoundly serious issue and engage them in a way that reading and discussing current events in Social Studies classes would not. Does that not sound impressive?

As an information professional, I see tremendous potential for libraries and future information centers (if that is the direction we’re headed) to harness this technology. I am delighted to discover that I am not alone. I recently started following lectures offered by Professor Scott Nicholson from Syracuse University on youtube (Gaming in Libraries). There is much to learn, and I have my work cut out for me. Too bad I’m not getting paid for it. That is my next goal!

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June 20, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. You might already know about this. There’s a library best practices wiki with a gaming section: http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Gaming

    Comment by Lisa | June 22, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks, Lisa!

      Comment by Iris | June 23, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] I mentioned Mr. Kristof in my post on Games for Change and Gaming in Libraries. […]

    Pingback by Children’s Book Recommendations and Social Media « Information Flux in the 21st Century | August 2, 2009 | Reply


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