Play, Learn, Innovate

Online Symposium co-sponsored by OCLC and Library Journal | Play, Learn, Innovate | June 7, 2011 | Over 1,000 registered | Keynotes: Liz Danforth, Erica Rosenfeld Halverson, Kurt Squire | #playlearn | (Sketchy sound quality)

Innovation never comes without learning.


  • Playfulness, gaming and motivation: Liz Danforth
  • Augmented reality games in the library: Kurt Squire
  • Role of play in learning environments: Erica Rosenfeld Halverson
  • Open Discussion
  • Twitter discussion
Playfulness, gaming and motivation
  • Worked on Library literacy and gaming project | Artist
  • Big ideas inspire and create direction – ideas can catch fire – ideas spark creative innovation
  • “After all, what’s the worst that could happen?” – It can be dangerous and too easy to envision what can go wrong.  Look for the joy, engagement and Upside – avoid fear…What could go RIGHT?
    • Seattle Public’s Flashmob dancers | NYPL’s Ghostbusters – passion and joy celebrated, where HS kid’s light saber battle was reprimanded (boo)
  • Cognizant Dissonance (sp) – how to manage the Good and the Bad and recognize possibilities – we are traditional, but cutting edge.
  • Benefits of Playfulness: Hugh McLeod, Jane McGonigal, Daniel Pink, Brian Sutton-Smith
    • “The opposite of work isn’t play, it’s depression” – Brian
    • “Autonomy Mastery Purpose” – Daniel
    • Games address internal motivators
    • “Joy through making things happen” – Hugh
  • Internal v. External motivators – carrot or stick.
  • Social games – Braid (thought provoking game by Jonathan Blow) – says “social games are evil” b/c social games aren’t social – they depend on exploitation and are fundamentally selfish.
  • Form intrinsically supports substance – Bibliobouts, Foldit, Social Chocolate, Free Rice – science games, how to get around a library, improve vocabulary
  • Should Games Exist to Change the World? – Yes, it’s the best future we can hope for.  Games teach.  Science of positive emotion and social connection.
  • Learning and Play – educators have a better handle on games and gaming, fun and playfulness than librarians!  We need to look at Partnership for 21st Century skills, WoW in School, Games for educators, Family Games, etc.
  • “Don’t have to know you’re being taught in order to learn.”
  • Tolkein franchise (example) – fan fiction, fan art, original literature, Mythopoeic Society, multi-player games and social interactions.  Libraries need to understand the literature and the games surrounding it!
  • Think playfully. Act playfully. Dream magnificently.  “Let’s make a game of it.”
  • Literary games, games to make the mundane fund (chore wars), silly games (zombie fluxx), and physical games (Kinect joy ride)
  • Games teach resilience and optimism.  “We learn from our mistakes, but first we have to make them.”  Children learn by trial and error.  Games are designed to let you win – that’s important.
  • Play teaches critical thinking, problem solving, resource management, and adaptive decision making.
  • Nielsen Three Screen Report
  • Work: Play rock, paper, scissors | Pimp my bookcart | Predict the winners
  • Read article: Games, Gamers and Gaming: Gamification and Libraries by Liz in LJ p. 84, February 15, 2011 issue
  • Quote from twitter: “Use games to engage, make things fun, break through political lines & get folks up and moving. Use the power of games for good. ” – jenniferkoerber
  • Why are we talking about play? Just in libraries or in whole?  Play = flexibility = working with others
    • Seattle Theater Group – flashmob | Improve Everywhere – Ghost busters at NYPL
    • Partner with book stores – find the usual and unusual suspects (including game designers)
    • Kids can design their own games!
    • Get out of your box – E3, Games for change, Origins Game Fair, Toy fairs, SXSW Interactive (discounts for librarians and educators)
  • Lead – get the heck out of the way!
  • Google – innovation time (20%) – on what interests them!  Something that catches their attention – Don’t wait for someone else to say “Go!”
  • Brainstorm, record, go back to them – this is where innovation comes from.
  • Summer Reading = Game | What do we want the ‘point of the game’ to be?
    • Tension between innovation and tradition/conservatism –
    • Yes, there will be some feeding of the stereotypes of libraries and literacy…but take that opportunity to ALSO expose them to the non-traditional services offered by libraries (multi-media/transmedia) –
    • What is a library and how are we re-defining ourselves?
    • Balance old and new values of librarianship
  • Library staff creativity – game ideas?
    • What are you trying to be innovative about?
    • How do you approach something with a playful attitude?
    • Decide to make a game of [insert idea here]
    • Play can be just silly.  Humor in the workplace – clown nose while doing grunt work changes your attitude
    • Silly works
Local Games for Learning: Developing Next Generational Learning Experiences for Libraries
  • Video Games and Learning (book) – stimulation, transmedia, learning through design, participatory culture, aesthetics of experience
  • Generation Mobile – what happens when every student has with a personalized device.  (which schools ban…)
  • Digital Participatory Media: learning is interest-driven | info is ubiquitous | persistent access to social networks | overlapping co-presences | create and catalog data | produce knowledge collectively | design experiences for others | authentic participation
  • ARIS – iOS locative game/tour authoring tool | wifi/gps/qr codes/image matching
    • Dow Day event in Madison Wisconsin example – augmented reality – see the history of the place
    • Scavenger Hunt (Steel) – Overlay maps, make money, fantasy game, put it on top of reality
    • Bike Box – Locative Media Collection – NY, players use iPhone camera to upload pics and tips – virtual tour – built online, record video/audio and upload, work through
  • Open Source – museums work to build their own apps, too.
  • Upcoming Directions: WeBird, Horticulture (Distributed data collection) – birding application – identify and catalog species
  • Game design studios – Lof C and Smithsonian
  • Strong Augmented Reality – “Forget Layer” – too cool!  See overlay of historic buildings on top of modern spaces
  • ARIS Global Game Jam – 127 games in 50 hours at dozens of locations in 4 countries – teachers, kids, students.  Online help 24 hours and face to face interaction.  Bring people together
  • Collaborative work spaces
  • Neighborhood Game Design project with Jim Mathews and Mark Wagler (60 year old Amish guy) – 12 kids from an alt high school built a game about their community.  Lo Fi Game – roles included geographers, photographers, demographers (will need to review the archive to get more about this – going TOO fast)
  • ARIS in Libraries – leverage local presence | Interesting data and archival issues and opportunities | connections to the community and existing groups | You can start simply with a tour!
  • Collaborations/partnerships – environmental groups, local history, schools
The Role of Play in Learning Environments
  • Artistic production in digital spaces – creativity and production – Fun Art Play
  • The Myth about play – idea that play is something that ‘just happens’ – we are stopping people from playing  – have staff take an improv class (we had improv troupe come to the Montana Library Association conference)
  • Rules from Tina Fey’s Bossypants – “There are no mistakes, only opportunities.”  “Agree and always say “Yes”.” Say “Yes, and” – don’t be afraid to contribute.  Accept the world created by the improv artists and add to it! Then “Make statements” – don’t sit around raising questions and point out obstacles, but be part of the solution.
  • Slip of the tongue – poem/youth film (poem by adriel luis/film by karen lum) – example of youth-produced art – Listen Up – production as learning
  • “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture” by Henry Jenkins – Move from consumption to production.  Learn to be literate = Learn to think | Interest-driven networks (Ito et al., 2010) | Passion communities (Collins, Joseph  Bielaczyc, 2004) | Affinity groups (Gee, 2000, 2003)
  • Examples:
    • Artistic Production –
      • Involves conceiving, representing, and sharing a piece of art 
      • Literacy as production = new learning process.
      • Start with an idea (hardest part is idea crafting)
      • Representation = art making and the translation of the idea to a representation
      • Sharing and having legitimate spaces for sharing the work in ‘real ways’ – need an audience (libraries = good space and a bigger audience)
      • Assessment is intentionally embedded into process and product
      • Digital technologies can play an integral role in the production cycle.
      • Production is mainstream with Web 2.0 technologies
      • Tech is the lag not the lead – make the art first, then learn the technologies to accomplish the goal of making the art!
      • Software and hardware – how do they fit into the landscape?  (Lag, not lead)
      • “Francisco’s project is a graphic design piece dealing with him being a Mexican American, crossing borders each day going to different places with his art work and gathering all of his names.”
    • Fantasy Sports (gaming niche)
      • Statistical tracking games – player ‘drafts’ real players in sports (baseball) and use stats to compete with other players in the fantasy sports world.
      • Parallel processes – fan culture activity (actual stats of actual players) and competitive gaming (you want to win) = Competitive fandom
      • Model for structuring learning in data-rich environments
      • Involves data reduction heuristics, analogical reasoning, and adaptive expertise
      • Get to know other people in your team, learn to leverage
        – Fantasy activity | Fan activity | Primary Activity
  • Spaces for Play matter
    • “Romanticizing creativity and play has stopped us from theorizing the depth and complexity of learning to create and share a piece of art or to manage a game-based simulation.”
    • An emerging focus on literacy as fundamentally production-oriented practice is rich, but design poor
    • Shift from meritocratic to democratic participation in new literacies practices, we need to attend to “understanding and communicating principles for design.”
  • Learn from Museums – they are doing great things with production-learning
  • Literacy = creative / white collar future
  • Library involvement means thinking OUTSIDE of our building – advice for libraries who want to use play to animate space either inside or outside the library?  Erica says – think about conceptual spaces  – internet, physical, emotional spaces
Our Internal discussion – Heather, Brenda, Diana, Jenne and Cindi
To read: New Culture of Learning (it’s in NExpress)
Localization – Use the library resources to highlight the local resources. Leave the world to Google.
Foster Production – be the place to support creativity and the community to MAKE art or history or projects.
Historical information, digital mapping, local focus.
Project with the superimposed historical building.  Collaboration with city / chamber / etc.
What are people asking us about?
Trails project – map LV online – use the game piece to highlight the trails
Make a game of “now and then” – side by side until you can do the superimposition (technology)
From the Porch (reaction to the paper) – innovation based on failures
Geek the Library – it’s about your passions and what libraries do to support it.  Starts conversations with YOUR PATRONS.  Go where the people are – use the Geek ideas as a way to get into new communities (chess club).  And take advantage of the atmosphere of the library (yoga at the library is less threatening).
Idea of cataloging people in your community – what about businesses?  Have a catalog record for what used be contained in a vertical file.

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