Posted by: Jared Seay | November 20, 2017

Using Augmented Reality to engage students in the library

By Leanna Fry Balci
Re-posted from Information Today: Europe

(November 17, 2017  ) Traditionally, the role of orienting students to the library has fallen to the library instruction/information literacy (LIIL) section of the BYU Library, and LIIL has required students attending first-year writing (i.e., freshman composition) library sessions to complete a library tour.

How the library tour has evolved

The library tour has taken many forms. For years, students checked out an audio tour and completed a paper-and-pencil quiz. This tour was offered to students outside of library class time and automatically marked them as freshmen to other library patrons. The tour technology evolved from the Walkman to the Discman to the iPod but always had the flavour—albeit unintentionally — of an act of freshmen hazing.

Recently, though, LIIL abandoned technology for a traditional guided tour. During library instruction time, groups of students were led through the library by librarians, teaching assistants, and other personnel. The tour consisted of information about the physical library as well as discussion of topics like keywords and browsing. Students were required to locate a book via call number (more challenging for students than anyone imagined) and to talk to library personnel at reference desks, the media center, and the research and writing center. The tour got students physically into the library and actually interacting with library services. Overall, this low-tech approach was a success but ultimately deemed unsustainable due to the number of employees required to guide approximately 2,500 students a semester.

Using AR to offer an interactive experience

With the goal of not only getting students into the library but getting them back into the building after their first-year library experience, LIIL is now exploring ARIS technology. Augmented Reality may be familiar to some in the form of the gaming app Pokémon Go. This technology replaces the traditional tour with an experience.

Students download an app that allows them to interact with different areas of the library, collect points, and earn rewards. ARIS includes GPS, which allows for player location and in-game placement of items. Students can walk to the items and interact with them as well as with other players. ARIS allows users to upload media for in-game uses such as videos, music, and pictures. For example, students may locate a help desk on the map and then activate a brief video giving information about that location.

Other features of ARIS include the ability to scan and read QR codes for easy logins and the ability to turn a photograph or object in the physical space into an interaction in the game. For example, scanning a 2-D map of the library brings up the map in a 3-D format, giving students a different perspective of the physical space.

In order to gamify the experience, ARIS allows for embedded javascript and the creation of items such as a leaderboard (right). Students are able to collect points during different stops and interactions in order to compete with other users. This sense of competition may be appealing to some students and encourage additional use of the app and visits to the library.

Despite the interactions offered by ARIS, it also has definite limitations. Because it is an open source software, development progresses slowly. For example, it is currently only available in iOS, although an android version is promised in the future. Because of this limitation, the library offers students iPods already loaded with the app. However, not having the app downloaded on an individual’s device discourages students from returning to the library to continue the experience. The GPS also has limitations in accuracy. Bluetooth beacons, however, have been used to rectify this problem, acting as location triggers. In addition, the BYU Library is fortunate to employ several students with the skills and capabilities to make this app a reality, something that may not be possible at all libraries due to funding.

User feedback is currently being gathered and assessment of the app will determine expansion of experiences offered to students beyond the traditional first-year library orientation tour. Thus far, though, the technology seems promising as an interactive way to invite students into the library.

Leanna Fry Balci works at the Library, Brigham Young University (BYU), USA.

Posted by: Jared Seay | July 6, 2017

The Benefits of Tabletop Games for Libraries

Beyond Monopoly and Candyland

Article by Dawn Abron originally published in American Libraries 6/26/17

From ALA Annual Conference:

In Monday’s panel discussion “Table-Top Games 101” at the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage of ALA Annual Conference, audience members learned that librarians are noticing the popularity of tabletop games and capitalizing on the benefits for their patrons. Tabletop game experts gave a quick-and-dirty rundown of the types of games available and the best ones for libraries.

Card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh can be played between two people or as tournaments between four people. The objective is to get your opponent’s score to zero. The benefits of card games include sportsmanship, problem solving, and strategy. Meanwhile, role-playing games such as Ticket to Ride allow players to collaboratively use their imagination to tell stories.

Libraries can also host a make-your-own-board game night. Patrons can create a traditional board game or a cooperative game similar to Pathfinder. Patrons can even create their own pawns or die using a 3D printer. Relatedly, libraries can be a resource for game developers who need a place to make prototypes.

Because of the popularity of tabletop games, International Games Day is now International Games Week (October 29–November 4), sponsored by ALA’s GameRT.

The pros gave some useful suggestions for incorporating tabletop games into your programming, such as contacting local game shops to choose, teach, and even run games.




pandemicOriginal Site:

The Board in the Library blog was spawned after I (John Pappas) was invited to write a series of posts on board gaming and libraries for Webjunction. That series served as an introduction to modern board games and how they can have a productive presence in the library space.  Feel free to catch up on the fun and read Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | and Part Six.

While those posts presented a foundation for understanding modern board games and gaming in the library, the posts here will focus on reviews, session reports of board gaming events, lists, and assorted ephemera from a variety of gaming librarians. Ideally this blog will serve to be enlightening, strange, diverse and exciting for anyone interested in this particular area of geekiness.

Posted by: Jared Seay | May 19, 2017

Level Up your LMC with Game-based Learning

By Kat Shanahan
Re-posted from Filament Games: Real games. Real learning

We’ve shared classroom spotlights, efficacy studies, and testimonials that have demonstrated the benefits of using games in the classroom. But game-based learning can happen anywhere! We hear all the time that makerspaces and library media centers are also great places to try game-based learning. As an LMC Specialist, you might be in charge of some of the only devices or computers in the building, so it makes sense to provide an engaging learning environment with these tools. By using games in your LMC, you’re allowing students to experience gameplay in their own way, creating personalized, immersive learning experiences. Here are four reasons to level up your LMC with game-based learning.

Personalized Learning
Digital learning games allow students to explore content at their own pace. In library media centers, students are able to explore game levels, experiment in different environments, and build their creative problem solving skills free from distractions or time constraints. They’re free to try, fail, and iterate at their own pace – creating a truly personalized learning experience while building 21st Century Skills.

Immersive Experiences
What better place to help students understand complex concepts than an LMC? Surrounded by additional learning resources, students can fully immerse themselves in the content being presented through the game. If at any point they get stuck or want to learn more about specific topics, they’re surrounded by books, magazines, and other types of technology that can help them expand their understanding.

Engaging Resources
We’re not of the mindset that kids need to be “tricked” into learning, just as an LMC Specialist doesn’t want to trick students into a good book — learning should be enjoyable no matter the tool! We want a student’s game-based learning experience to be as engaging and rewarding as traditional video games. The added benefit of educational games is that students are exposed to experiences that are designed with specific learning outcomes in mind. Well-designed learning games go a step farther than traditional entertainment games and teach children skills and concepts that will impact their lives after the game is turned off. Well-designed learning games are engaging enough to keep students’ attention while unleashing their learning potential.

Equal Access
Library media centers are unique in that they provide equal access for every student in your school. Using game-based learning in your media center provides high-quality digital learning resources to students who may not have teachers who use game-based learning in their classroom, or personally own theses devices at home. Game-based learning has been shown to increase learning and engagement in students that may be struggling with traditional classroom teaching methods – your LMC is a great place to show support for those struggling students.

Have you already leveled up your LMC? Let us know how you’re using games-based learning in the comments below!

Link to examples of GBL and this site HERE


Posted by: Jared Seay | April 13, 2017

International Games Week: Oct 29-Nov 4

Reposted from
International Games Day is now International Games Week. This change allows expansion into school programs and more flexibility in scheduling. This year’s event will take place from October 29th through November 4th. Libraries can choose to host one event or several. We are still gathering sponsors and preparing promotional materials. Watch for registration to open in early June.

SEE ALSO: ALA Games & Gaming Round Table (GameRT)

Posted by: Jared Seay | March 28, 2017

Why are learning games not in the cards?

By Christoper B. Allen

Re-posted from Games & Learning

It may be a digital download world for many, but more and more 21st-century gamers are breaking out decks of cards to play hybrid digital card games.

With roughly 30 million registered users in its first year of release, Blizzard Entertainment’s Collectible Card Game (CCG) Hearthstone has attracted more than twice as many players its aesthetic forbearer and longstanding revenue juggernaut World of Warcraft, which at its 2010 peak boasted about 12 million users.

Turns out people really love colorful cards with goblins, demons and gnomes and spells, and smashing them into each other on a beautifully animated, interactive digital game board online for free.

Click HERE for remainder of article from Games and Learning

Posted by: Jared Seay | January 28, 2016

Best Board Games of 2015

From Board in the Library

The board game hobby and industry is booming. Distribution into big box ret


ail stores like Barnes & Noble and Target is commonplace.

Numerous games are coming out each during the year. It is nearly impossible to play, review, and then recommend which ones would be best for the library space (let alone attempt to determine which are appropriate to *your* library space and

the community which utilizes it). That said, there are dozens games worth discussing and recommending

with the best method to determine which games to include is to play as many as you can; explore what is out there; and listen to what your community is looking for.

These games are not the best games to start with. These are meant supplement an already existing board game collection. If you are looking for a good starter collection for your library, check out my previous six articles “Board in the Library.” My personal starter collection for the Bucks County Library System consisted of Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Pandemic, Catan, and Forbidden Island at each branch with an additional strategy and children’s game. So we have a large selection of popular family games plus a few additional ones in the system for adults and experienced gamers (Dead of Winter, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, and Dark Stories).

Supplementing a few of the best games of 2015 will keep your collection relevant for the experienced. It will provide space for the emerging to grow their habit into more complex and engrossing games. It also provides an enriching social experience for patrons who may not have the resources to purchase games (which can be prohibitively pricey).

Link here to continue article at Board in the Library

Posted by: Jared Seay | January 27, 2016

Why You Should Care About Gaming in Libraries

techsoupforlibrariesFrom TechSoup for Libraries

Board and card games have a long history in libraries. Most librarians have no problem with a quiet game of chess or gin rummy, and many libraries make these and similar games available for checkout. Video games, on the other hand, haven’t always had the best reputation, so libraries have tended to steer clear of them until recently. The idea that video games cause violent behavior has been strongly disputed, but some librarians still feel that they’re a waste of time with no relevance to our profession. However, there’s more and more evidence that games in general and video games in particular develop a wide range of useful skills. Furthermore, gaming events in libraries can generate great publicity and they create a strong, lasting connection between teens and the one institution in town that actually supports and encourages the activity that they love so much.

Our purpose here is to describe the logistics and details you should think about before you host a gaming program. We will not be covering the steps you need to take to build a collection of video games for checkout, but the Further Resources section will lead you to information on that subject.

Continued at TechSoup for Libraries

Posted by: Jared Seay | May 5, 2015

Make a Game out of Learning: But don’t gamify it!

kids in classroomFROM:  April 1, 2015

In MIT’s Education Arcade, classic game consoles line the office corridor; rafters are strung with holiday lights; and inflatable, stuffed, and papier-mâché creatures lurk around every corner. When I stopped by recently, the arcade’s director, Eric Klopfer, and creative director, Scot Osterweil, talked enthusiastically about the surging interest in educational video games, now used by nearly three-quarters of America’s grade-school teachers, according to one survey.

But these optimistic, play-loving game gurus have come to despise the biggest buzzword in their field: gamification. According to Osterweil and Klopfer, both MIT professors, gamification too often means “making a game out of learning,” in which players win points, magical powers, or some other reward for practicing math, spelling, or another school subject. Klopfer and Osterweil argue that the best educational games capture what’s already fun about learning and make that central to the game. Gamification undermines what they see as the real opportunity for games to radically, albeit playfully, transform education.

The arcade, part of MIT’s Scheller Teacher Education Program, partners with schools, gaming companies, and nonprofits to make educational video games. The staff also trains teachers to make their own games and to weave them into lesson plans, via on-campus courses and a new massive open online course, “Design and Development of Games for Learning,” that launches Wednesday.

“If somebody comes to me and says, ‘I want to make math fun,’ I don’t want to work with that person,” said Osterweil, “because they don’t think math is already fun.”


Posted by: Jared Seay | March 13, 2015

Historia: Learning History by Leading (gaming) History

HistoriaKIDSHISTORIA is a game where students team up to lead a civilization. Watch your classroom transform as students research history, debate strategy and take risks that will determine the future of their people. Aligned to most middle school Social Studies Standards. Available for interactive whiteboard, tablet, PC and MAC. (From Historia homepage)

Here’s how HISTORIA works:

The goal of HISTORIA is to grow a civilization and keep it strong over time. Students work in teams to lead fictional civilizations that compete along side (and sometimes against) the great empires of the past. Highly competitive and compelling rigorous, HISTORIA is for teachers who want to give their students a deeply meaningful and engaging learning experience that they will remember forever.

In each unit, or Epoch, students face a Dilemma about which their decisions will impact the future of their people. Students research history — using their textbook, trusted online sites and other resources — to understand how their decisions will impact the economic, military and cultural strength of their civilization. Students are also challenged to assess the potential impact of key Events in each Epoch that might occur and affect the progress of their civilization.

As the results of each turn are revealed, the teams reflect upon the outcome of their decisions and, more importantly, the quality of their research, analysis and decision-making processes to best prepare for the next Epoch.  (Text from “About Historia” from the Historia homepage.)

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