Right on the heels of EDUCAUSE, I've been attending the 2008 ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium.
Prior to the conference I had the great privilege of meeting with my colleagues on the expert panel of the ALA Gaming for Learning project funded by the Verizon Foundation. On Saturday we had an inspiring look at ThinkeringSpace that is exploring how physical and virtual environments might promote creative and critical thinking. I was particularly taken with the power of the "learning by prototyping" approach to creating the ThinkeringSpace and testing its ideas. Especially in projects involving "physicality" it seems like libraries would do well to adopt the "build a prototype and test it out" and perhaps we'd avoid some costly construction mistakes but for web resources and the like prototyping would help us put ideas in front of library users and get their reactions before we are overly invested in a particular approach. Even more though I was inspired by how open the project staff were to our questions and comments and their willingness to seek the best ideas to be had even if they didn't think of them on their own.
Elmhurst College's session on their gaming events was contextualized by the document Learning Reconsidered: A Campus-Wide Focus on the Student Experience and it was excellent to see a framework for the educational and learning impact of co-curricular programming in libraries and involving students in developing the programming. Librarians have a lot to learning from student affairs professionals on how to empower students as leaders of events. This came out as a tip in the session Videogame Night in the Academic Library, which was an outstanding presentation that demonstrated just how rich an academic/intellectual experience a gaming event can be made to be.
I focused my attendance at the conference on sessions about academic libraries and to the extent possible on those focused on information literacy. The information literacy games are intriguing but I'm concerned about the "fun factor" and motivation to play ... I wonder if there is a way for students to play a game on a different topic that would enable information literacy skill development and in which success is dependent on high levels of information literacy abilities? School Library Services of the Genesee Valley BOCES is working in this arena for K-12 - see their AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Gaming Alignment document ... anyone doing this for higher education?