Week 10 Reflect: Gamification

Post a short reflection on the role of gaming in libraries or information organisations. Do you see a place for it?

I think that gamification is an exciting new idea, which is currently picking up a lot of momentum. Gamification can be used as an excellent tool for both marketing of libraries and for education, and when used correctly, should provide a seamlessly fun experience, whilst still imparting valuable information. This seems to be the next step in user experience, which is all about making the time spent by a user on something like a website or database as pleasant as possible

Designers do, however, need to be careful about how they present the game. For example, a game designed for a library, or any other organisation as a marketing tool may work well as long as the user is engaged, however the user may feel that they have been “tricked” into being sucked in if the marketing aspect of a game becomes too heavily emphasised. After all, the reason a user is going to play a game is for fun. Once a game stops being fun, why keep playing?

As noted in this article, the information provided through gamification should be imparted seamlessly, whilst the user has fun. There are even websites available such as luminosity.com which claim to exercise the users mind, whilst the user plays games which seem to just be fun, and not at all tiresome or mentally taxing.

For libraries in particular I think that gamification is a great idea, as people often are unwilling to spend the time required learning about library related news. Making this into a game is likely to make the experience more memorable, meaning users are more likely to return to the library or library website to replay the game.

The New York Public Library’s “Find The Future” seems to have been an excellent promotional event, as far as raising awareness about the library is concerned, however gamification on a much smaller scale could also be helpful for libraries. Not everything has to be gamified, of course, and some people may simply think games are nonsense and not want to deal with them at all. After all, games do have a sense of triviality attached to them, and as is noted in this article, some people may find it hard to accept the idea that games can be educational or informative.

It is however, early days for gamification, and I believe games will be embraced by libraries in the coming years.


Week 10 Play: Gamification

Design a plan for using gamification in a school library.

I think that gamification is something that could be used very effectively in school libraries, especially in primary schools, but also in high school or academic libraries.

Gamification could be used within a library in numerous ways. It could be used to raise awareness about the library itself- for example, games could be used to explain the Dewey decimal system or other library related topics, or the library and library resources could be used in order to play games associated with the current topics being taught in class.

For this purpose of this activity, I am going to base my model on a primary school library. The class will be in year seven, and will be learning about Ancient Egypt. A scenario will be developed in which the students will become archaeologists, who need to search for clues and answer questions in order to get reach a hidden treasure and therefore win the game.

Students would begin the game in groups of 3 or 4, selected randomly. Groups would be kept small in order to encourage a maximum level of participation by each group member, and the groups will be selected at random in order to encourage students to interact with people they may not usually speak with.

The game will need to be completed in a fairly large library, as otherwise groups could simply follow each other and the game would become pointless . Also, again in order to avoid this sort of problem, the groups would all begin the game at different random locations around the library, and ideally given separate sets of questions. Schools who do not have a large enough library for the activity to be practical could consider taking the class on a field trip to a larger library.

Each group would ideally have access to a tablet or other mobile device. An application would be set up on the device with a question related to Ancient Egypt, the answer to which will be found in a resource within the library, or perhaps even in multiple resources.

For example, a question included in the game might be: in what year was Tutankhamen’s tomb discovered?

Once the correct answer has been found, the students will be able to place the answer in a field, and then be given access to the next question. The game would proceed in this fashion until the students have answered all the questions correctly. Once the final question has been answered, the group will be given access to the secret location of the treasure (which would probably actually be chocolate). The first group to reach the treasure wins the game (although chocolate for everyone is recommended to avoid tears and hard feelings).

Although this game is designed to be fun and to encourage friendly competition, there is always a danger that less academically enthusiastic students may wish not to participate, since as noted on page two of this article, students who lack academic ability on the topic and may think that they have no chance of winning could decide not to participate properly. Another issue is access to the internet. Since the point of the exercise is essentially to find answers through using library resources, rather than using something like Wikipedia, access to sites such as this would have to somehow be restricted.

I’m not entirely sure how possible it would be to manage a game like this, but I was crazy about Ancient Egypt when I was in grade 7, so I probably would have loved it!

Week 7 Play: Image Sharing and Creative Commons

This week’s play activity involves posting a photo every day for 7 days on either flickr or instagram. I chose instagram, which unfortunately does not allow for images to be saved, and I’m not sure if the pictures can be accessed by those who do not have an instagram account.

As such, I’ve taken screenshots of from my instagram account, cropped them, and an posting the images here!

Does this mean I’m pirating my own content? Or am I breaching instagram’s rules? Or does this content cease to belong to me altogether and become instagram’s property?

I have four pictures so far, but I will update this post as I continue to post photos for the next 3 days.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Now that I have realised that I cannot (easily) place photos from my instagram account into a blog post, I feel that this method of sharing photos is quite restrictive. Had I known that this would be the case, I would have probably opted to use flickr instead.

Week 7 Reflect: Image Sharing and Creative Commons

How do you feel about Creative Commons licensing your own content? Are you comfortable with reserving only some of your rights as a content producer?

Firstly I feel that there is a sort of “culture of collaboration” happening online, which can be seen through things such as free open source software (for example, I currently use the free to download Apache Open Office as a substitute for the Microsoft Office Suite), as well as websites such as Wikipedia, which encourage collaboration from people all over the world.

In terms of my own content, generally speaking, in the creative commons spirit, I would be happy to allow other people to use my content- to a certain extent.

For example, this weeks play activity involves posting a photo every day on either flickr or instagram (I am using instagram myself). Personally I would be happy for anyone to use those pictures for just about anything, and I probably wouldn’t even particularly mind if I wasn’t credited for the photos either.

On the other hand, a large part of the reason that I wouldn’t mind other people using these photos is that I am not expecting to sell these pictures for a profit. Once the idea of money comes into the picture, I feel creative commons can become a lot more complicated. If I was an author, for instance, and my livelihood (and reputation as an author) depended on these books I might be less inclined to allow people to use my work, especially if I was going to be then posted online for anyone to access free of charge (I imagine this would be a bit of a hot topic amongst fan fiction communities).

Essentially saying whether or not I would be comfortable only reserving some of my rights as a content producer would depend on what kind of content I was producing, and for what I wish to use the content for, as well as what others may wish to use it for. The idea of someone else taking content that I have produced and changing it does seem somewhat discomforting, however I tend to forget that Creative Commons does still leave the user with some rights, just not all of them, and that through collaboration the end product may be something different and unexpected, which could never be achieved through just one person.

Week 6 Reflect: Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites are more than just marketing channels. Write a post for or against.

Social networking for organisations (such as libraries) definitely has a marketing aspect to it. Social networking sites such as facebook are a great new way for any organisation to promote products, events etc. to anyone who wishes to join up.

However, I believe that social networking also has a significant element of involvement from the person who is being “marketed” to which is something that hasn’t really happened in the past. This allows for people to become involved with an organisation in a way that they have never been able to before. As an example, this week I posted a link to the New York City Library on the class facebook group. NYCL can use this page as a way of promoting events, however people can comment and interact with the library through the page as well, leading to the page not just becoming a marketing tool, but also a community and information hub for anyone around the world with an interest in the New York City Library.

My local library sure doesn’t look like that.

I just love their lions!

I do believe that this kind of social networking for organisations still does fall somewhat under the category of marketing, its just that it’s a very new and different way or marketing from traditional methods, and I think that people are just a bit unsure at present of what it means for organisations and the way that they market themselves.

I do, however, feel that social networking is a great way for organisations to connect with people. Instead of simply putting marketing material out there for people to see (or not see) with social media, marketing can become more of a two way conversation, rather, than just shouting out a message and hoping that the right people hear it.

Essentially I believe that there is certainly a strong marketing element associated with social networking sites, however they also have a community element, and an information element, making them more than just marketing channels.

Week 6 Play: Social Networking Sites

For my week 6 play activity I posted a link to the New York Public Library on the Information Programs Facebook page with the following comment:

Hi! so for something from the other side of the world, I’m going to talk about the New York Public Library’s facebook page for the week 6 play activity. NYPL caters to alot of people from all sorts of different backgrounds (or so I’d imagine… can’t say I’ve been there just yet, but its on the list…). Their facebook page is very active, and has features such as a book of the day and notices of public events taking place at the library. The facebook page also has a blog attached, which is updated very regularly (multiple times per day), with a wide variety of information that could be of interest to the public, from promoting book clubs to letting the public know when recruitment events are happening. Overall I feel the page has a great sense of community about it, and despite my limited experience with facebook, I would say that NYPL have used it very well.

nypl photoshop