Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past year (or inside of a cave, like my office here at work), you have undoubtedly heard of Nintendo’s new videogame system, the Wii. Nintendo eschewed cutting-edge, next generation graphics to focus on creating an integrated gaming experience. Instead of gamers using a remote control with upwards of 16 buttons and two joysticks, the Big N introduced a proprietary, motion-based controller with fewer buttons so that users can interact more fully with the game. The end result? This little system that could has everyone from toddlers to grannies experiencing videogames like never before. Entire families that never played games together are crowding around the TV to teach each other how to use this new toy.
I plan to follow Nintendo’s lead when my library system launches our new podcasting initiative later this year. See, we’ve been examining how to improve the tried-and-true reader’s advisory staple for quite some time. Sure we could toss another training course and some handouts at it, much like Sony and Microsoft tosses high-definition graphics at stale games, but what fun would that be?
As a former frontline staff member turned trainer, I’ve repeatedly heard how trainees wish that their learning opportunities were entertaining experiences. New technologies give us a chance to do this, especially with collaborative learning initiatives. Setting up a portable podcast studio and letting staff members loose to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of a given genre for the month gets people involved and provides a forum for sharing knowledge. Along with having a blast, staff members are promoting system-wide awareness of the collection and building a background in fiction and non-fiction. The learning goals haven’t changed. Only the medium has.
I get the feeling that Wii in the continuing education field will learn a lot from Nintendo in the year to come.