Monthly Archives: December 2014

Gamifying Information Final Presentation

Dewey Dare Enter the Castle

Game Description

My final game is entitled “Dewey Dare Enter the Castle?” It is an expansion of my first game of the semester, and is a scavenger hunt game to search for nonfiction books in order to teach Dewey Decimal categories.

Game Context and Audience

This game is intended for use in an elementary school (K-6) library. Promoters of the game will include K-12 librarians, parent volunteers, teachers and the “library faithfuls”—elementary school kids in the library aides club. Players will be elementary school students.

Game Learning Content

I am interested in pursuing, within a game format, the challenge of helping reluctant readers find books that they enjoy and learn where they are in the library. My game, “Dewey Dare Enter the castle?” is intended to encourage kids to learn about the Dewey Decimal System so that they understand the way the school library is organized, how they can find books, and learn a little about the range of materials available to them. According to the AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner, there are “two core approaches to learning that are embedded in school library programs: reading and inquiry (ALA, 2013, p. 9). Being able to use the library to obtain more resources (reading) and acquiring new knowledge (inquiring) inform the four standards:

  • Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge
  • Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge
  • Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society
  • Pursue personal and aesthetic growth
    (ALA, 2013, p.12)

Dewey Dare Enter the Castle? focuses on the Dewey decimal system in order to familiarize children with the way the library is organized and to introduce them to the breadth of material that is available. The game supports the overall goals of reading (finding books that are of interest to the reader) and inquiry (library skills). Playing the game is a fun way to introduce the library’s organizational system and raise awareness of library resources.

 Game Marketing Strategy

In order to create buzz among the kids for playing the game, we will hold a “Take Me To Your Reader” special event as a school spirit day. In preparation for this event, the library aides club (the “library faithfuls”) will decorate the library with space themes, painting and hanging Styrofoam planets and other space-related decorations. We will also publicize “Take Me To Your Reader” day ahead of time and encourage students to wear any space themed costume on that day; costumes are the way that the library aides will know who is interested in playing the game in the library. At the lunchtime recess, the library aides will go out to the playground and blacktop and encourage kids to come to the library to play the game.

Game Assessment Tool

Assessment Tool Instructions: Please apply a rating of Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent or Not Applicable in the appropriate column. In the Comments column please provide brief statements in support of your rating or adding any qualitative information you consider important.

FUN Rating (Poor/Fair/Good/Very Good/Excellent/Not Applicable) Comments
Challenge: Does the game provide an appropriate level of challenge for the target players? (elementary school kids) Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
Fantasy: How effective is the narrative of the game at appealing to the target players? Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
Curiosity: How well does the game stimulate the curiosity of the player? Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
Aesthetic Appeal: How appealing are the visual, auditory, and other aesthetic aspects of the game? Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
USABILITY Rating (Poor/Fair/Good/Very Good/Excellent/Not Applicable) Comments
Conceptual Model: How clear is the game’s conceptual model—that is, the overall way it is supposed to work? Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
Scaffolding: How well is the user supported by the interface in performing the game tasks? Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
Feedback: How effective is feedback in the game? Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
Technical Issues: Is the game buggy or bug-free? Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
Mission Alignment: How well does the game align with the institution’s mission? Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
LEARNING Rating (Poor/Fair/Good/Very Good/Excellent/Not Applicable) Comments
Little g learning: If the game provides curriculum learning content, how well does it do this? (otherwise select Not Applicable) Insert rating here Qualitative comments here
Big G learning: If the game provides higher level social and conceptual learning opportunities surrounding the game, how well does it do this? (otherwise select Not Applicable) Insert rating here Qualitative comments here

 Prior Game History

Game Genre Creation Date
Dewey Dare Enter the Castle? (first version) Scavenger Hunt Game September 24, 2014
Reading Rangers Badges Game October 13, 2014
The Quest to Save the Great Library (The Quest to Save the Great Library) Social Game November 4, 2014

 Learning Content Bibliography

American Library Association. (2013). Standards for the 21st-century learner in action. Retrieved from

 This publication of the American Association of School Librarians (an ALA subgroup) outlines the core standards for school librarians in teaching library skills to elementary students.

Boltz, R. H. (2007). What we want: boys and girls talk about reading. School Library Media Research, 10, 1-19. Retrieved from

Boltz surveys schoolchildren to learn about their attitudes to reading and reading materials. Notably, in Boltz’s study, while a quarter of the girls described reading as “fun,” not a single boy did. When asked for reading material preferences, boys were more likely to mention graphic novels, manga, anime, and nonfiction. Appearance of books was more important to boys. The stereotype that “girls like narrative/character-driven fiction” is called into question by this survey as well, as more than half the girls expressed primary interest in other types of reading, such as nonfiction and magazines. One of the key takeaways from this paper is that children should learn about the range of reading options available, as well as learn that nonfiction—which turns out to be a popular choice for both genders—is a legitimate reading choice.

Breitsprecher, W.P. (October 6, 2008). Dewey Decimal for Kids [Web page]

Retrieved from

This website provides an explanation of the Dewey decimal system geared to kids and includes a table of popular subjects for kids along with their Dewey Decimal numbers.

Johnson, M. J. (2012). Every student’s reading teacher: the school librarian. School Library Monthly, 28(5), 27-28. Retrieved from

Johnson focuses on nonfiction reading in particular, a genre of great importance to many “lower” readers, especially to boys. In addition, nonfiction or “expository” reading is critical as part of the new common core and research has shown increased chance of educational success for children who become adept at handling nonfiction texts.

Rankin, C. & Brock, A. (2012). Library services for children and young adults: challenges and opportunities in the digital age. London: Facet. Retrieved from

Rankin and Brock advocate marketing that “sells the reading experience and what it can do for the reader, helping them to develop the confidence to try something new, rather than promoting individual books or writers” (Rankin & Brock, 2012, p. 67). They emphasize outreach to develop the fun of reading for prospective readers and encourage them to use the library. By developing a humorous, visually engaging online game, I am attempting to “sell” both the idea of reading and the idea of searching the library as a fun and engaging experience.

Sullivan, M. (2004). Why johnny won’t read. School Library Journal, 50(8), 36-39. Retrieved from

“Why Johnny Won’t Read” is one of the seminal work on the issue of boys; literacy gap, and Michael Sullivan is a leading expert on the topic. His article discusses how boys’ reading interests get de-legitimized by teaching authorities, often unintentionally. He also addresses the fact that books are taught and discussed in ways that don’t appeal to boys—rather than a genteel book discussion, boys appreciate active play literacy activities.

Sullivan, M. (2009). Connecting Boys with Books 6 : Closing the Reading Gap. Chicago, IL, USA: ALA Editions. Retrieved from

Sullivan’s book expands on the thesis of his “Why Johnny Won’t Read” article, with more information about boys’ reading interests get deprecated by adults and what turns them off to reading. One key element of his ideas for promoting literacy to boys is the concept of “active reading”—that boys read more actively and to seek out information about how the world works. Again, my emphasis on nonfiction texts reflects this. Both boys and girls who do not wish to curl up with a book for hours will eagerly read in order to learn to do, build, cook or otherwise make something.

Sullivan, M. (2013). Fundamentals of Children’s Services (2nd Edition). Chicago, IL, USA: American Library Association. Retrieved from

Sullivan’s work on children’s services focuses on the importance of the power of reading to enrich life and increase success: “Children’s librarians believe that reading is necessary for success, and for reaching one’s human potential. Reading is both a practical skill and a door to enrichment” (Sullivan, 2013, p. 11). Encouraging children to engage in reading specifically through library access is a critical part of the library mission. Like Rankin and Brock, he focuses on the need to “market” or perform outreach in order to promote literacy, not just to hold collections. Outreach for literacy is a major motivating factor in my development of the game.

Assessment Tool Bibliography

Galarneau, L., & Zibit, M. (2007). Online games for 21st century skills. In D. Gibson, C. Aldrich, & M. Prensky (Authors), Games and simulations in online learning: Research and development frameworks (pp. 59-88). Hershey PA: Information Science Pub. doi: 10.4018/978-1-59904-304-3

Galarneau and Zibit discuss 21st century literacies, including the idea of needing to learn collaboration, knowledge sharing, and thriving on chaos.

Gee, J.P. (2012) Digital games and libraries.  Knowledge Quest. 41(1):60:64.

This article introduces the concept of “little g” and “Big G” game—that is, there is the “little g” concept of the game itself and “Big G content of the learning community behavior around the game, in a social context. Since some games are particularly conducive to social learning and a participatory, interactive framework, I made this a part of my assessment tool. Although “”Big G” game aspects may not be a component of all games, where they appear they are an integral part of the game experience and should be assessed along with the more familiar “little g” aspects.

Kapp, K.M. (2012). The Gamification of learning and instruction: game-based method and strategies for training and education. Pfeiffer.

Kapp’s work provides extensive information about good game design. This book’s discussion of challenge, fantasy, curiosity and aesthetic appeal inform the fun rubric of the assessment tool, while his concepts of scaffolding and feedback inform the usability rubric.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: why games make us better and how they can change the world. NY: Penguin Press.

McGonigal’s work provides additional support on the important concept of engaging feedback in games. I was particularly influenced by her idea of “fun” failure and its role in motivating players to try again.

Nicholson, S. (2010) Everybody Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages. Medford: Information Today.

Nicholson’s work focuses primarily on the library context and how games fit into the library, a concept which informs the Mission Alignment measurement of the Usability rubric.

Norman, D. (2002) Design of everyday things. NY: Basic Books.

Norman’s classic work on design informs the Conceptual Model measurement in the Usability rubric. Users develop a conceptual model of how something works in order to use it, if the mental model does not correspond well with the way something actually works, users can become confused by an interface and be led into error by the design of the interface.

Pink, D. (2006) A whole new mind. NY: Penguin.

Pink’s discussion of the need for “high concept” and “high touch” skills in the new Conceptual Age he describes fit into the idea of “Big G” skills as does the Galarneau and Zibit article.

Simon, N. (2010). The participatory museum. San Francisco: Museum 2.0. [Kindle edition] This book is also available online at

Nina Simon’s work on building participatory experiences in museums and libraries provides an additional dimension to the scaffolding concept discussed by Kapp and informs that measure of the Usability rubric.

 Reading Correlations in the Assessment Tool


  • Challenge (Kapp, 2012, citing Malone in chapter 3, Motivation)
  • Fantasy/Narrative Appeal (Kapp, 2012, citing Malone in chapter 3, Motivation)
  • Curiosity (Kapp, 2012, citing Malone in chapter 3, Motivation)
  • Aesthetic Appeal (Kapp, 2012, chapter 2, Aesthetics)


  • Conceptual Model (Norman, 2002, p.12)
  • Scaffolding (Kapp, 2012, Chapter 1, Scaffolding; Simon, p. 12)
  • Feedback (Kapp, 2012, Chapter 1, Feedback; McGonigal, 2011)
  • Technical issues/ease of use (inspired by course discussions)
  • Ease of use for game leaders (inspired by course discussions)
  • Mission alignment (Nicholson, 2010; also inspired by course discussions)


  • Little g learning (Gee, 2012)
  • Big G learning: higher order skills, 21st century literacies (Gee, 2012)
    • 21st century literacies (Galarneau, 2007)
    • High-concept, high-touch (Pink, 2006)