I had a chance to talk with Giles Pritchard and Donald Dennis of the Games in School and Libraries Podcast a bit about my work and the value of games in education. Episode number 19.


I am pleased to say that the book is finished and now available for pre-order from the ALA store. To say this was a huge undertaking would be an understatement. I need to thank Christopher for providing the vision to start a game library and for bringing his administrative eye to the things that we do.

Despite some unforeseen obstacles, I am proud of what we put together. It combines my work with game alignment and collection development with Christopher’s administrative approach to introducing and getting new ideas going. The outcome is an excellent tool that advocates for the value of gaming and provides some excellent concrete examples of where to start.

We will be debuting the book during our pre-conference at AASL 2009. We will have coupons for a small discount off of the price and would be more than happy to talk and share ideas and our successes with anyone interested.

It has been an eventful road to get here, but one I would gladly take again.

I wanted to make available the finished AASL Standards & Board Games alignment document. It was well received at ALA Annual in Anaheim and I am in the process of reworking a abbreviated copy for ALA’s “I Love Libraries” booth at the upcoming Gen-Con conference.

If you are unsure where to start your collection, you can head over to the School Library System’s Game Library to see the games in ours. There, you can browse through the collection and narrow down games according to New York State educational standards or the new AASL standards.

Also, look forward to new reviews coming soon, including: SNORTA!, Railroad Tycoon, Age of Empires III and more.

This has been a labor of love, but I am so glad to have this finished and ready to share at ALA next week. I will have the finalized hard copies on hand at the open gaming night and MIG events. After ALA, the document will be available for download from the Genesee Valley BOCES School Library System Gaming website.

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3.1 Skills:

  • 3.1.1 & 3.1.2 Games are participatory pastimes that encourage learning communities through the sharing of concepts and strategies, collaboration amongst players and reflection on personal performance.

3.2 Dispositions in Action:

  • 3.2.1 Play is powerful. It removes social barriers and provides a level of comfort that allows students to develop leadership skills and the confidence to present ideas to others. (more…)

2.1 Skills:

  • 2.1.1 Games such as Puerto Rico, Caylus and Amun Re employ strategy and intricate mechanics which encourage the continued use of an inquiry based process through the application of critical thinking skills.
  • 2.1.2 Enchanted Forest and Froggy Boogie are two examples of memory games that require students to mentally organize information for recall and use when needed.

2.2 Dispositions in Action:

  • 2..2.1 Princes of Florence and Agricola provide a variety of paths to victory, enabling the flexible use of resources for adapting strategies to each unique situation.
  • 2.2.2 Many games with an artistic mechanic (i.e. Portrayal or Cluzzle) require students to use divergent and convergent thinking for success.
  • 2.2.4 The intrinsic enjoyment that comes from playing games, helps to foster a student’s ambition to demonstrate personal productivity through game growth and success. (more…)

1.1 Skills:

  • 1.1.5 Countless games require the evaluation of information. Whether it is determining which role would be most beneficial (Citadels & Puerto Rico) to analyzing social cues and behaviors to deduce who is playing subversively (Shadows Over Camelot & Saboteur); games demand evaluative decisions.
  • 1.1.6 Students are active participants in the gaming experience, taking in information to make inferences and gather meaning. A prime example would be a student working out an opponent’s strategy in Ticket to Ride or Hive based on what the pieces they have played or on any potential moves available.
  • 1.1.9 Games like Lord of the Rings and Pandemic facilitate a platform for collaborative game play, allowing students to discuss and work in teams with others to help broaden and deepen their understanding. (more…)

Games engage students with authentic leisure experiences while reinforcing a variety of social, literary and curricular skills. When an educational concept is introduced and reinforced during a game, it is internalized as part of an enjoyable experience and further utilized as one aspect of a strategy to attain success.

Games also carry other benefits. They help students connect and build social skills, working as part of a team or negotiating the most advantageous situation for themselves. It also provides an opportunity for students to to explore a host of life skills not inherent in the curriculum , but important for success. Some of these include: micro-managing resources and options; actively re-evaluating, re-prioritizing and re-adjusting goals based on uncertain and shifting situations; determining acceptable losses in an effort to obtain an end goal; and employing analytical and critical skills to more authentic social experiences.

Here is a list of NYS standards currently supported by a well established school game library: (more…)