Archive for the ‘Gaming Sessions’ Category

Hey! I Want to Do That Too! Gaming and the Elementary Age Child

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Slides should be appearing soon on the ALSC wiki

My bookmarks from the session are online at

This Sunday afternoon session began with Smart Moves as people filed into the room. Smart Moves is a non-interactive DVD from Fablevision, that contains a series of body puzzles designed to strengthen the corpus collosum, the connection between our right and left brains.

The ALSC ChildTech committee put together a mini poster session to highlights successful children’s tech programs. The Showcase of Success is also online at

“Until you’ve tried it you don’t understand.”
~Dr. Warren Buckleitner, founder of the MediaTech foundation & editor of Children’s Technology Review journal

Buckleitner’s presentation focused on the story of Mediatech at the Flemington Free Public Library, NJ, where is a trustee, and present and future of children’s technology.  He encouraged us to consider media in two ways:

  1. Interactitve media (IM) , which includes videogames, toys, handheld devices, interactive DVDs, MP3s, and electronic learning aids — thehardware doesn’t matter; focus on the behavior (interactive)
  2. Linear media: Linear DVDs, books, etc.

Buckleitner imagined a school where kids want to come, where the teacher is the senior or teen, where the text is the Internet, where the bus = a bicycle. This is the vision for MediaTech at the library – a tech and gaming lab with 700 registered members that averages 22 visitors a day. Incidentally, MediaTech is not just for kids. There are developmentally appropriate things for each age range. MediaTech is open 1-5 T Thursday & Friday, 1-9 Monday – Wednesday and 11-1 on Saturday.

What would (Ben) Franklin do, in 2008? What kind of library would he build? Don’t forget that access to games & tech is like a digital divide.

Start a Mediatech in YOUR town! get a CPA, get an attorney, get the schools on board. But, embrace the uniqueness of your town. Don’t fight if you can’t win. The library provides basics, but MediaTech expands library offerings, with unique resources.

Mediatech has three types of social interactions: an opening meeting room, a cross shaped set of computers where all monitors face same direction, for individual or group use, that also face a projector & screen to enable classes and lecture hall style. iChat & video camera makes it a smart classroom.

People in community came out to help build and teach. It’s a way to showcase local talents and interests. Services were donated from a lawyer and accountant. PCS donated from PC magazine, site become first wifi spot in Hunterdon County. At first, kids did all of the custodial work but it was a disaster. Staff found ice water is a great bribe to get kids to help out. Kids make all the signage. Donors bought steps for $1000 each; one is still for sale. A Donation Jar and Suggestion Box are essential resources.

One activity is the Series Games Testers Club that meets weekly – they dissect gender, violence, commercialism of a game circulating game collection. This is just like doing a book discussion group.

MediaTech owns 4000 game and software titles, all donated. There are no M or A/O rated games. The collection is being cataloged by library and will be shared to other libraries in the county. Kids play games online (FunBrain , Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean) and on consoles (Rock Band! \m/)

The filter is being able to see all the monitors; duct tape is a great theft deterrent. So is a (fake) webcam that is “recording everything they do.”

Buckleitner advised that we “make it inconvenient to steal!” Build a sense of ownership – kids will take care of it. A daily inventory keeps stock of all items. Everything is labeled, and outlined, so it’s easy to see at a glance when something is not in it’s place. A receptionist records who comes & goes. Members have to be registered members. When items go missing, every parent gets a phone call. Items get returned. All software is labeled MediaTech. Security locks are also an option.

Noise can be an issue, even with MediaTech on the second floor. Headphones help; kids self-regulate volume very well.

There are no time limits – the kids work it out – staff training on child management is provided. The “go outside & cool down” approach is often a workable solution).

Lessons Learned:

  • you’ll laugh and cry
  • If you build it they will come
  • it belongs to all
  • never say no
  • everyone has a crisis at one point or another
  • someone always needs help
  • ask for help
  • be an asset, not competition
  • needs the most help at first
  • Listen to your gut and trust your instincts

Don’t just link to game sites! Have things for kids to create on every computer. “Get kids off” said Buckleitner. Instead, look for games and software that encourage socialization, expand skills and knowledge and offer multiple challenge levels.

Some Recommended Software:

  • Scratch, game design software
  • Google Earth, 3-D maps
  • Animationish, doodle pad & flipbook software
  • iMovie, movie creation & editing software
  • Garage Band, music & podcast creation software
  • PBS Kids, games & interactive media
  • Other bookmarks to good websites
  • Hook up a musical keyboard or microscope with a USB port to one computer for kids to play with

Consumer Reports WebWatch: Kids Online

The Case for Rock Band:

  • Quality time
  • Multigenerational
  • Teamwork
  • Reading
  • Biofeedback – pitch
  • Report card style feedback – serious skills needs improvement

Looking toward the future of children’s tech:

  • More Nintendo (Warren compared the DS = 1 laptop per child. Touch screen, Wifi Voice recognition, droppable…)
  • Bigger Interaction
  • More connectedness
  • More power per dollar
  • Sandisk MP3 recorder
  • Growth: from 2 platforms to 20 different platforms

Next, Buckleitner showed 87 things in 2 minutes! I wish this had been the focus of the session. Here is what I caught, as things that are notable (not necessarily good, but notable). I caught 25%:

  1. EyeClops, the bionic eye that plugs into your TV and magnifies the stuff you focus n up to 200 times
  2. Hyper Dash, an active game
  3. SingStar, a karoake game for PS2 & PS3
  4. Kid Works, software to build creative writing skills
  5. Giggles, computer software for babies
  6. Plant Tycoon, a real time gardening sim
  7. Lego Universe, a Lego MMOG
  8. Barbie Girls Club VIP a virtual world dedicated to the Barbie universe
  9. Disney Fairies create a fairy, play games
  10. Inspire Data, a data literacy tools that shows data visually
  11. Drawn to Life, a DS game where your drawings make the game
  12. Jam Sessions, a DS guitar simulator game
  13. Boogie game for Wii, PS2 & Nintendo DS
  14. Kidizoom Cam, a digital camera for kids that contains games on it
  15. Pusle Smartpen, a digital quill for taking notes
  16. Tango Desktop software
  17. Rock Band for Wii, PS2, PS3, & XBox360

Why Interactive Media?

  • You can fix your mistakes: undo, save, reverse features
  • Symbolic & abstract
  • Adapable to level
  • Control, trial & error, empowerment
  • Supplements text
  • Opportunity to build a better mousetrap
  • Computer use is through the roof, but book circ is NOT decreasing

A great tip for librarians: there might be no way the powers that be will let you spend 10K on videogame equipment… call it interactive software & you’re in.

Circulation Issues

  • Saved content an issue – create a policy that the library is not responsible for saved games or personal data; take out of circ until you are ready to clean off content
  • All the disks get a label – permanent marker like a sharpie
  • Use the same security you do with CD or movies
  • Some will get scratched, you can buff it out, you’ll loose some

Two resources that I shared in the Q&A sessions:


Notes from the Beyond Gaming Tournaments Program…

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Are now up on the YALSA blog!

Get Your Game on at ALA!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Wow, there are almost enough activities for a whole gaming TRACK at ALA! Sessions and Events are listed on the ALA Conference Wiki; here’s what I added to my Event Planner:

I love starting conference with a low-key social event, and here’s a free one! On Friday June 27 from 7:30-10:30pm, ALA hosts Open Gaming Night sponsored by the Verizon Foundation at the Hilton Anaheim – Disneyland Hotel. Games include Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, Boom Blox, Mario Kart Wii, and Wii Sports. Free food, and prizes for high scores, this is going to be a hot spot. I wonder if they’ll have board games too.

Saturday June 28 marks the start of the Big Game, California Dreaming. I’ve read Steinbeck, visited a dozen different towns in CA through my work with Infopeople, and listened to the Beach Boys, but I’m notoriously bad at trivia. I might have poor recall, but my Google Fu is pretty good. Hopefully, it will come in handy for California Dreaming.  It’s like a conference-wide scavenger hunt to test your information-seeking skills and problem solving abilities, with clues to decipher dropping from sessions, events, exhibitors… Maybe I better hook up with a team, instead of going it alone. I hear prizes will be awarded, from Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts & more!After the Exhibit Hall opens  at 9:00am on Saturday morning, I’ll be making a beeline for the new  Games Pavilion. This pavilion will group gaming industry suppliers in one specific area of the exhibit floor making it convenient for attendees to find your products and services for your library. The Games Pavilion will feature board games, electronic platform companies, furniture, and electronic games that can be used for curriculum-based teaching and recreation.

The first gaming program session is hosted by LAMA, on Saturday from 8:00-10:00am. At Are You in the Game? Harnessing Millenial Learning Strategies to Market (LAMA PRMS) at the Disneyland Hotel in Disneyland Center Ballroom, millennial learning strategies in terms of gaming and Second Life will be discussed by speakers who have worked with these technologies at Arizona State University and Fresno County Public Library. Participants will work on a sample idea in break-out groups. Hands-on is ALWAYS a good strategy for gamers!

Maybe there will be Big Game clues at the Games and Gaming Member Initiative Group (MIG) Meeting! It runs from 10:00am-noon on Saturday at the Sheraton Park Hotel Anaheim, Plaza A/B.

After lunch, I’m co-chairing the YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group Meeting at the Disneyland Hotel, North Exhibit Hall, Meeting Room F from 1:30pm-3:30pm. A new convener of the group will be elected during this meeting by a show of hands vote. If you are interested, please attend; if you are not able to attend, but are interested, please email Beth Gallaway or Kelly Czarnecki and let us know and we will add your name to be voted on at the meeting. Review convener responsibilities and recommended meeting guidelines first! Anyone that shows up at the meeting, is a YALSA member, and supports the mission of the group, is eligible to be a convener. Other agenda topics include creating a publication for YALSA, sharing best practices and resources.

I’ll be up bright and early on Sunday for a panel discussion sponsored by the YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group on  Beyond Video Game Tournaments. That’s at the Anaheim Marriott, Salon E from 8:00-10:00am. we know; it’s EARLY. By if you arrive by 8:15am, you can get a  door prize entry slip to win either a copy of Multimedia Fusion, a copy of animation software (either Toon Boom Studio or Flip Boom or a t-shir. (Thanks to Youth Digital Arts CyberSchool for donating!). At the session, you’ll discover best practices beyond gaming tournaments in such programs as avatar creation, character worksheets, video game clubs, machinima contests, Cosplay and more. Elizabeth Saxton, Cleveland Public Library; Craig Davis, Youth Digital Arts CyberSchool and Amy McNally, Ridgedale Library, Minnetonka, MN, with teens Karina Grimaldi and Brigit Boler, share their successes in delivering high quality engaging programs that go beyond game play to spark creativity and broader types of participation. The second half of the program consists of a breakout session to try program activities and exercises yourself. There will be door prizes available of the following software.
This is an ambitious program! If you are an early riser and would like to pass out/collect the slips for the door prizes please show up at the panel presentation at 8am and let us know! OR,  If you are going to attend the session and want to contribute a non-gaming activity to run in the second half or donate use of your laptop for game testing, please let Beth Gallaway or Kelly Czarnecki know.

My next session is right at the same hotel, the Anaheim Marriott! After lunch, I’m going to the ALSC gaming session, Hey! I Want to Do that, too!: Gaming and the Elementary Age Child from 1:30-3:30 pm at the . Children are excited to play electronic and online games. What’s available and appropriate for children in second to fifth grade? With a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review, will share his knowledge of child development and emerging technology products, followed by a discussion of electronic game collection development, age-appropriate online games, and implementation of gaming in your library/media center.

On Monday June 30 from 8:00am- Noon, ACRL is sponsoring a FOUR HOUR SESSION on “Next Media.” One Part Inspiration: Creative Trends that Further Science Learning takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center in 201 D. Social and cultural changes resulting from new technology continue to have an exciting impact on libraries as well as the scientific community. Why do some ventures into cyberspace find an immediate and extensive audience, and how can we apply their playful aspects to encourage learning? This program will combine a theoretical look at phenomena such as gaming and Web 2.0 with the whimsical viewpoint of those who are actually creating and applying the “Next Media.”

Can’t make it to the events? I’ll be covering most of them right here on this blog, with links to session presentations as speakers make them available. Stay tuned, and to those of you who will be competing, at Open Gaming Night, the Big Game, or in the Gaming Pavilion – good luck!