I started this course with a very vague understanding of digital game based learning. I had never taken any courses in education or pedagogy. All of the content was new for me. That being said, I did have a good vision statement for what I hoped to get from this course: “I hope this class will help me think through how to better incorporate gaming in libraries.” This class has definitely helped me accomplish that goal.
One aspect of this class that I found particularly helpful was the structure of the final assessment item. Giving us a choice of developing a practical proposal allowed me to really dig in and think through how DGBL might help my specific situation. Early on, (actually from my first post in the discussion forum) I was already thinking of workshop ideas, “Another workshop an academic library might create would be one based on the programming aspects of Minecraft.” which is what I chose to focus on for my final project. I had no personal experience with Minecraft, however, even stating, “I do want to try Minecraft as a way to talk about 3d objects and crafting.” in forum post 1.2. I did not really have a conception of what that would be.
The module about pedagogical affordances in digital games gave me the framework I needed to structure a helpful workshop. In a response forum post, I stated, “Using games that incorporate learning intrinsically would be an effective way to scaffold learning and practice of physical skills.” The discussion of intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation reported by Brom, Šisler, and Slavík helped me understand the value of intrinsic motivation. Finding a way to build the lesson content into the game is exactly what Minecraft offers for basic circuits, and is what I based my workshop on.
Another aspect of DGBL research that made a large impact on me was the discussion of meta-acheivements and games. I wrote, “Meta-acheivements have the added benefit of allowing students who may not perform well in traditional grading, can still be motivated and rewarded.” in my second forum post. The power of meta-acheivements to allow different students to engage in different ways while still learning is important in my professional context. In libraries, we rarely see the same individuals on a day to day basis. Having a meta-acheivement framework allows our patrons to engage at their own speed and as their time allows.
Another aspect of DGBL that finds a home in my professional context is support. I believe that modern libraries can be a great partner in the adoption of DGBL. Libraries can provide expertise in technology, support in choosing games, and IT infrastructure. Many libraries house computer labs and staff to support them. As DGBL becomes more prevalent in our education system, it will behoove librarians to acquaint themselves with current trends in DGBL. Librarians should also take on the burden of collection management for video games. Librarians should work with educators to determine what (if any) commercial games fit in their curriculum. I do not find it at all far-fetched that there may someday be a position of game-librarian.
There are many issues in DGBL today. From selection, to curriculum match, from assessment to implementation, from IT support, to the opinion that games can’t be used for learning, DGBL faces many challenges. We, as professionals, need to keep advancing the adoption of DGBL by solving these issues. I intend to play my part by supporting DGBL in libraries.