A previous post here at ACRLog discussed higher education’s divided response to Millennial Generation learners. While some experts advocate changing teaching methods to conform with the learning styles of Millennials, others insist that it’s the Millennials who need to conform to the way the professor chooses to teach. Because Millennials are strongly associated with the playing of video games one suggestion is that educators should do more to incorporate gaming into their pedagogy in order to better connect with Generation Xbox. Many faculty and librarians loathe gaming on a number of levels, but what many find most reprehensible is the violent themes and action woven into large numbers of video games. But are those concerns overblown? Is there any substance to claims that violent video games create violent individuals? How academic librarians respond to gaming, and whether we choose to accept or embrace it as a method for reaching our traditional user population, can be influenced by our own perceptions of the gaming culture.
It may be worthwhile to read the essay “Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked” by Henry Jenkins, the Director of Comparative Studies at MIT, as well as a response to it found at the blog Cognitive Daily. Jenkins takes on some of the key issues related to video games and their impact on players, and argues that most of the claims are just myths. But the folks at Cognitive Daily do a good job of dissecting Jenkins’ arguments and showing where his supporting data contains some flawed logic. Both pieces can certainly help us to get a better sense of how we feel about video gaming, and whether our own attitudes are mostly myth or reality. One thing we should avoid is denying that this is a trend to which we should be paying attention.