Information Workshop 0102: Children’s Digital Games

Among children, few information technologies are as popular or ubiquitous as digital games. Not only do the vast majority of North American children play digital games, but an increasing proportion of their everyday lives is now spent engaging in various types of digital gameplay. This workshop will explore children’s digital games from multiple perspectives. We will look at some of the major controversies and paradigms that have come to shape the roles and functions of digital games within contemporary childhood. We will discuss the ongoing integration of digital gaming in schools and libraries, leisure and home life, and the emerging notion of "gaming literacy." Moreover, we will explore how these issues become amplified and potentially problematized by the shift from player to producer that is currently taking place within gaming culture, particularly within the context of user-generated content (UGC) games (games that enable players to create and distribute their own levels and designs). Through discussion and hands-on interaction, we will consider the unique social, political, economic and ethical issues associated with this shift, and how it connects to (or even disrupts) broader social trends.

As this is a workshop course, students will engage in a significant amount of firsthand exploration of digital games, including screenings, gameplay and game design. These activities will be grounded in and contextualized by weekly readings and seminars. Students will complete two group assignments over the course of the workshop, which will require them to collaborate in the production of a new game "design,” as well as create a critically and theoretically informed play list of recommended or “essential” children’s game titles

Please note that participation in this course does not require any previous programming or design skills, or even a prior familiarity with digital games – the majority (though not all) of the games and programs we’ll be using are made for children, and are therefore highly accessible and user-friendly.

About the Information Workshop Courses at the Faculty of Information:
Experiential, participatory workshop to integrate the skills, perspectives, and knowledge introduced in the other core courses. The intention of the workshops is to broaden your exposure to other areas; we encourage students to go outside of their comfort zone. Students will be working in groups. Students must complete two (2) workshops (INF1005 and INF1006), each worth 0.25 FCE to fulfill the core requirements for the Master of Information degree. The workshops must be taken with different instructors. Normally INF1005 and INF1006 are taken during the same term. All instructors will give their workshop twice in the Session/Term - once in the first 6 weeks, and again in the last 6 weeks of the Session/Term in the same time slot.