Saturday, May 31, 2008

Games? In the Library? (Exercise 35)

HCPL's Next Generation lessons will focus on Games and Gaming, exercises 35 - 38. My goal is to complete the gaming exercises by the end of July. If you would like to join along, link here. Most public librarians are running fast to keep up with the gaming generation. We have learned that gaming is NOT an antisocial activity! Kids come running over to our library to use our computers after school, clearly craving the mental stimulation and satisfaction online games afford. True, growing children also need physical exercise, but a mix of both seems best.

I am a fan of the FreeRice vocabulary game. Links to the game spread like wildfire last year and everyone seemed to be playing it. It is a great way to build your vocabulary. Even when I don't consciously know the exact answer, I get such a kick out of getting it right through an educated guess. I was getting repeats of words until I found out you can go to Options to change that feature. I also learned that you can click on the speaker symbol to the right of each vocabulary word to hear its correct pronunciation. Best of all, playing the game helps aid the United Nations World Food program.

WordSplay is another fun word game. You are given a bunch of letters and challenged to form as many words as you can in three minutes. I don't particularly enjoy the race-against-the-clock dynamic, but it does get the mental adrenaline going. This game reminds me of one an exercise school teachers used to give us on rainy days. I loved competing to see who could come up with the most words from some group of letters or a word put up on the blackboard.

Of course, these kinds of word games are not the ones kids are racing over to the library to play. I imagine schools are using computer-based word games to teach reading, vocabulary or spelling. Most of the games I see the younger kids playing on the library computers seem to involve shooting at targets or assembling puzzles.

The game of Sudoku (on paper or online), has truly swept the country. I've tried Sudoku a few times just to see what it was all about. I enjoyed figuring them out but do not feel compelled to keep playing. Some of them are too hard -- they make my brain hurt! Maybe if I was stranded somewhere with nothing else to do, and someone gave me a Sudoku book, I might really go to town.

In future exercises, I hope to learn a lot more about online gaming. Summer is a busy time in our small library, but in between my Next Generation posts, I will continue to blog about books, authors, etc. I just started reading The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg, and immediately felt a blog post coming on. That man can really sling a southern-fried metaphor!

manipulated photo: Purple Kaleidoscope by KAO

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