Hot on the heels of the McMaster announcement about the appointment of their Immersive Learning (Gaming) Librarian comes word from two of my U of C colleagues about a related research project. Jerremie Clyde and Chris Thomas are putting together a website called HardPlay to document a study that "seeks to examine the potential of digital game-based learning to enable students to be successful information seekers." They're going to "look at the effectiveness of Digital Game Based Learning (or Hardplay) as a tool for library instruction. The game they're building is a first person
action adventure game called Benevolent Blue (using the same game engine as the popular commercial game HalfLife-2)." Looks like the bulk of the info is currently here.
I mention that they're "putting together" a website because there's not a lot of information there yet, and though they're using Drupal, they haven't got an RSS feed up for you to follow along, but it'll come, and I'll let you know when it's ready :-) Shouldn't be long as they're presenting at the end of May at the 2007 CANHEIT (Canadian Higher Education and Information Technology) conference in Waterloo
(where McMaster is!)
Not sure how I feel about all this, not having seen a working example of how this type of learning could work. There seems to be a dedicated group looking at the topic though - see the Bibliographic Gaming Blog. Definitely going to watch though.
As an aside, I noticed late last week when the McMaster announcement was made that someone, presumably a student, left a comment to the effect that a Gaming Librarian wasn't going to do anything about getting books back on the shelf, or something to that effect. It was a little sarcastic, but I was all set to congratulate McMaster for leaving up both the congratulatory and disparaging comments. 'Cept when I went back to the posting today that comment had been removed :-( Maybe there was more to it, but that doesn't seem fair to paint such an appointment with only glowing colours, IMHO.