Critical Reflection

I was quite nervous when I embarked upon the subject Game Based Learning (INF541) and admitted this in my introductory forum post. My trepidation was due to my limited experience and knowledge of digital games. In Blog task 1 I stated that “my personal video game history was rather historical” (Malbon, 2017, para 1) and dated back to the 1980s.

Atari 2600 flickr photo by moparx shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

My professional exposure to game based learning (GBL) was limited to observing students playing both educational games and recreational games in the school library. My aims for INF541 were to:

  • overcome my lack of knowledge and experience of GBL
  • understand the applicability of games for learning within a library setting
  • be able to confidently share my learning with my colleagues

Although I could see the potential of integrating GBL, I felt unqualified to do so. I  also had some concerns about the challenging aspects of commercial-off-the- shelf (COTS) video games. Most of my views were informed by the mainstream media who are quick to blame video games for violence, obesity, injuries, addiction and aggressive behaviour in young people (Bourgonjon, 2011). I acknowledged that other teachers may share similar views as me in the blog post Social and cultural barriers and suggested strategies to overcome the negativity, barriers and tensions. One of these strategies was professional learning and I feel that I have made a good start by completing INF541 and will continue learning via my professional learning network (PLN) and the curation of my Pearltrees board on GBL.

Created by Karen Malbon

Games have their own literacy (Gee, 2012) and shared culture (Montola, 2012). I did not feel part of the culture of gaming, was unfamiliar with the language and lacked game literacy. In the blog post Learning a new language I wrote of how overwhelmed I was by acronyms and the steep learning curve to understand ludology. I created a glossary so that I could make sense of the module readings that were filled with unfamiliar language. I delved into the participatory spaces, also known as affinity spaces, where players share and create knowledge about their common interest using wikis, forums and videos (Gee, 2012). In the blog post Information behaviour I curated two Pearltrees boards to illustrate the interest driven communities for Minecraft and 80 Days. As an information professional I was impressed by information behaviour that contributed to these sites and could see parallels to information seeking in the library (Adams, 2009).

Created by Karen Malbon

The links of game mechanics, game design characteristics and game infrastructure, motivation and engagement to learning became clearer to me after playing Ingress, Spent, Free Rice and by watching walkthroughs of Minecraft, Firewatch and 80 Days. My novice journey as Agent Kleem9 with the location based multiplayer game (LBMG) Ingress was documented in the blog post Ingress. As I began to understand the mechanics of playing Ingress and received instant feedback on my actions, I became immersed in the virtual world and motivated to play, level up and contribute to the narrative. I could see educational applications of Ingress for senior students in a variety of subject areas but at the same time I was concerned about privacy and safety issues (Hulsey & Reeves, 2014). I discussed these barriers to using games in schools in the forum with Lisa Nash (Nash, 2017).

Over the last twelve weeks I have not emerged as a gamer but I have achieved my aims and become more knowledgeable about GBL. I have been exposed to research and opposing viewpoints on the pedagogy of GBL and the link games have to existing educational learning theories. I have experienced the characteristics of games that can potentially make them motivating and engaging. The social-cultural aspect of gaming and the learning that happens outside of the game through affinity spaces is really exciting and as a teacher librarian I can see opportunities for libraries and teaching that I wish to investigate further and implement. Game Over? No way,  the game it is just paused so that I can learn more with evidence based research and play.


Adams, S. S. (2009). The case for video games in libraries. Library Review, 58(3), 196-202. doi: 10.1108/00242530910942045

Bourgonjon, J., Valcke, M., Soetaert, R., de Wever, B., & Schellens, T. (2011). Parental acceptance of digital game-based learning. Computers & Education, 57(1), 1434-1444. doi:

Gee, J. P. (2012). Digital games and libraries. Knowledge Quest, 41(1), 60-64.
Hulsey, N., & Reeves, J. (2014). The gift that keeps on giving: Google, ingress, and the gift of surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 12(3), 389-400. Retrieved from

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robinson, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from

Malbon, K. (2017, March 4). Blog task 1 [Blog post]. Retreived from

Montola, M. (2011). Social Constructionism and Ludology. Simulation & Gaming, 43(3), 300-320. doi:10.1177/1046878111422111

Nash, L. (2017, April 24). Remediation and storytelling – Play Ingress, tell your story [Online forum comment]. Retreived from


Images created by Karen Malbon contain CC0 images from Pixabay

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