Mary Flanagan loves to play games and she gets paid for it. As a Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College, Flanagan teaches about the role games have in today's society.
"By getting people motivated to play, I think we can do other things with that," Flanagan said.
Flanagan is also a game designer. Her newest project revolves around 100 old photos archived in Rauner Library.
The multi-person game allows students to view digital copies of the photos, and then help create new search clues to find them. Multiple matching clues from different users gets the player points, and adds to the existing search database. She says her game could speed up the search process at any nonprofit or business with a digital library.
"We are expanding the number of key words and adding more in-depth material to enrich the archive," she explained.
One of the goals behind the game is to use crowd sourcing; a theory where many people can solve problems, or in this case do research, faster than a single individual.
"If we actually have lots and lots of people interacting through a digital game, we can be adding lots and lots of material and new knowledge to the kinds of resources that we already have," Flanagan said.
Students will help test the game prototype.
"I have a hard time figuring out what key word I use to get the article I need, and if I was doing that and I found what I needed, then I could go in and put in the extra key words that I would have used to search for it," said Danielle Arostegui, a sophomore.
Arostegui says that in today's high-tech world games are not what they used to be.
"Before it used to be you know hopscotch, we are jumping on our feet. It is a very physical thing. Now we are sitting in front of a computer and my thumbs are going very fast but that is about it," Arostegui said.
But Flanagan says video and online games-- when done correctly-- can be used as a tool for learning.
"The kinds of rewards we give to people as they play may also help us learn about games and education a little bit better," she said.
And who better to help create them than the students who could ultimately benefit.
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