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Librarians, Teachers, Game Developers, and even Astrophysicists Collaborate to Enhance Science-based Learning

Thursday, March 14, 2024

No matter your level of gaming experience, there are a number of different statewide initiatives occurring which allow school and public librarians to learn more about, and get directly involved in, playful/games-based learning projects for students and library users of diverse interests.

If you are considering expanding gaming programming at your library, one of the best places to start is the Wisconsin Games + Learning + Libraries Cohort housed on the WISELearn site. While being created just a few short months ago, the site already boasts more than 100 members and dozens of affiliated OER resources.

In addition to the WISELearn group, interested teachers and librarians can join the Games-Learning-Libraries email list by sending a message to Joining the group and associated email list will allow teachers and librarians to be a part of a burgeoning community of practice, enhancing collaboration on games-based projects and enabling members to promptly receive updates about new project opportunities related to playful learning.

One example of the results of this statewide collaboration is an innovative games-based set of workshops that kicked off in February. Gaming Workshop ParticipantsThe DPI’s Library Services Team partnered with staff of Field Day Labs (a Learning Games research lab and development studio within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research) and members from the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) to convene a group of select librarians and teachers from across the state alongside game designers and scientists for an all-day workshop on the UW-Madison Campus. During the workshop participants learned about astroparticle physics directly from WIPAC scientists, played with examples of effective educational video games, utilized their individual subject matter expertise to offer feedback, and collaboratively brainstormed concept suggestions for an exciting new astrophysics game.

This workshop is part of an ongoing Astrophysics Game Design Fellowship, which aims to bring together subject matter experts across multiple fields, including astrophysics, game development and games-based learning, classroom education, and librarianship, to work together and collectively spark ideas to support the creation of a new astrophysics educational video game – from prototype to completion. Workshop attendees sitting around table working on gaming ideasUpon its release, the final game will be available for all Wisconsin educators and librarians to utilize for free being distributed by BrainPOP Inc. and PBS LearningMedia.

To learn more about this project, or if you have any other questions about Library Services Team-led games-based learning projects occurring in Wisconsin, please contact Public Library Consultant Chris Baker at Otherwise, sign up for the Wisconsin Games + Learning + Libraries Cohort and join the email list Game on!


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