Gaming Survey Results
The first question asked about “your personal knowledge of video games and gaming.” Except for the 20% that “couldn’t care less about gaming” respondents either played games, knew about them, or wanted to learn more. A surprisingly higher 22% said they play games, while 27% said they have children or friends that play them. As a short and informal survey, this one didn’t ask about demongraphics but now I’m thinking that I should have. I suspect that some of the younger members of our profession make up a good number of the respondents. Again, we come back to people responding to surveys when the topic is of interest to them personally. The remaining 20% or so have either read about the gaming trend or want to learn more.
Then second question sought to learn more about activity related to gaming at respondents’ libraries. The overwhelming majority (42 out of 55) indicated that nothing related to gaming was happening at their libraries. Another 10 indicated there had been some discussions about it, but for the most part there’s been little happening at most of the libraries represented to promote or explore gaming.
Question three simply ask respondents to indicate if they think all the attention being paid to gaming is “being blown out of proportion” or was warranted because it “is something we need to pay attention to”. The majority, at 65%, believed it was “warranted” while only 35% thought it was blown out of proportion.
I wanted to find out more about what individual respondents were doing about gaming on their campus. The majority (25 respondents) indicated they had done nothing about, but 18 of them said they were trying to learn more about gaming. The rest of the respondents were split between actually doing something to better accommodate the needs of gamers and talking directly to students to learn more about it.
In questions five and six I was looking more for comments, and I received many of them. Five asked respondents to reflect on a statement made by a professor that went something like “We’re supposed to change how we teach to adapt to gamers? Poppycock. We get to mold how they learn.” Question six simply asked for any additional thoughts on this issue. Below I am providing just a sampling of the comments.
Here are some responses to question five. It seem the responses were fairly evenly divided between, “this person is in denial”, “the answer lies somewhere in the middle – you need to adapt but not give in totally to gaming” and “the faculty member makes good sense.”
“Anyone who does not take into account the orientations, values, and needs of the people for whom they will be designing services is in serious denial.” (SB – good point but let’s also remember that gamers are just one small segment of our user population, especially if the average age of students is creeping up).
“College is the one place where students choose to go to learn so it’s a good place to teach skills and “mold”. However, most students come with learning styles & preferences already in place so there must be some accomodation or at least acknowledgement of that.”
“Definitely in denial, faculty need to acknowledge that gaming is an outgrowth of technology and our use of it in all aspects of our lives. We need to adjust our methods in order to be able to get their attention long enough to “mold them”.
“Do we only teach one way? Does a student only learn one way? A diversity of teaching methods keeps the students interested– and keeps me from becoming being bored with the material too.”
“I look at how Millennials around me operate with cellphones, headsets, and other gadgets going constantly while they are engaged in some other activity. I think their whole style of living/learning has already changed and we have to try to understand what is driving them or we’ll just be “ole fogeys” to them. I think the faculty member is in denial to some extent. We have to determine how to reach learners who are accustomed to much stimulation – gaming is one of those stimulations that may be having a tremendous impact on how students are learning right now.”
“I think in some ways the person is being sensible. Althogh I feel that it is important to realize the various learning styles that our users may have, to focus too much on one community of learners doesn’t seem to be the most reasonable thing to do. In both public and academic settings you are presented with a variety of patrons each with thier own individual learning style, to gear our instruction methods toward one learning style more than another does a disservice to those users, both millennials and not, who aren’t part of the ‘gaming’ community.”
“I think the faculty, while a bit cranky is right. Gaming is something people do as a part of their life experience; it is not the be-all, end-all that some scholars seem to think it is. Sounds more like some scholars trying to find some niche to do research for their tenure. Instruction and learning techniques should adapt, but to base it on whether students play X-Box or PS2 is just bordering on ridiculous.”
“We shouldn’t completely change how we teach, but using elements of gaming to grab a students attention or to provide an interactive way to teach basic library skills could be an effective way to reach those that might not otherwise get engaged in traditional means – library tours and lectures.”
And here are just a few more comments – from question six – anything folks wanted to add. THANKS for taking the time to find out about the results of this very unscientific and informal survey.
“Academic libraries don’t need to provide games, any more than we need to be Blockbuster Video and provide thousands of Hollywood releases. That said, understanding gamesmanship and the experiential learning styles that gamers use can be of value to instructional librarians, reference librarians, web gurus, and academic library administrators.”
“Gaming is not just another “thing” to implement in libraries, it is a wake up call that this generation learns differently and has different day-to-day habits. Libraries can fit into this new world and if we don’t it’s our own fault if we become obsolete and Google takes over the world.”
“I fail to see how gaming has infiltrated college campuses. In my college experience (1999-2004), I saw only a niche group interested in gaming (computer, video, or whatever mode), and an even smaller number devote hours and hours to this experience. Personally, I tried games, on several platforms, and couldn’t get interested (“a” + “b” buttons plus “over” … who can remember that stuff?). As for the 30-second “hook” time, I am not convinced that this has anything to do with games. After all, 30-seconds has been the standard length of commercials for a long time. I guess what I’m trying to say is: we never had more than 30-seconds to hook a student, regardless of whether his/her leisure activities involves playing games, reading books, or dancing around like a chicken. If we want to identify the trend in generation Y/ Xbox/ whatever, I think we need to look at social networking on the Web. Try out facebook.com, and you’re bound to see a large portion of your students using and networking on this read/ write web. Even if you don’t use it yourself, you’re bound to see it appearing on the screens in your computer lab. In my mind, this is the technology libraries need to pay attention to if we want to reach the current generation of learners.” ~ A GenY Librarian
“I recently went to a talk in our Computer Science Dept given by the founder of a MMOG called Second Life. I kept wondering, “how is it that people have the time to devote to this?” A question I still have not answered.”
“I understand the need to accommodate the various learning styles of students……….However, this seems to be one case in which I have my doubts about using gaming to reach students. How do you decide what game is appropriate for your instruction, and how do you address students who have an attitude similar to mine….gaming is a total waste of time……… Having attended lectures by advocates of using gaming I understand the arguements of “real world” scenarios, but just find the whole idea too much to swallow.”
“I’m clueless about gaming and its possible/probable impact but I’m willing to learn!”
“This whole Millenial and games thing is completely blown out of proportion. I have two children in this group and NONE of the stuff that I read about “them” is close, and they both gone/go to prestigious liberal arts colleges. I have also been going to school/working with this age group at universities for over 7 years now. Most of these kids are only somewhat like they are described. It is a complete shame that most of what we read is so oversimplified and of course pushed by the hardware/software makers. Capitalism sells and most other forms of teaching will not generate much for external industries, but gaming sure will. Yes, there are some good things to take from all these analyses of millenials/gamers, but all these pronouncements, and yes Steven you are guilty, are way over the top, and are, in fact, very damaging to these youths and to our educational system.” (SB – well, when we started this ACRLog thing we said – “you may not always agree with us – but we hope to get you thinking about the issues.” It looks like I may have succeeded on both counts here).