Opening Keynote: Jolts, Icebreakers, and Live Action Games: Making Your Teaching and Presentations More Playful and Engaging

Join Dr. Scott Nicholson, Professor of Game Design and Development from Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford and author of Everyone Plays at the Library to experience a variety of playful activities that you can integrate into your presentation style. Putting people into a playful mental state can open minds and lower barriers, which then makes it easier to engage them any topic. Come with an open mind and a readiness to engage in this active session!

Dr. Scott Nicholson, Wilfrid Laurier University

Closing Keynote: Game Jam: Using Games to Explore Advocacy and Engagement

Games (one-line, card, board) are an ideal medium to explore complex systems, by allowing players to make hypotheses within a game world and measure the consequences of their actions. For the past three years, the Royal Ontario Museum has been hosting “Game Jams” where children and adults participate in a game-design ‘hackathon’ over 24 hours to create games and simulations on topics they are passionate about. Hear from the Game Jam organizer and a game development agency on how games can engage visitors through public programs, educational programs or exhibit extensions.

Marianne Mader, Managing Director, Centres for Earth & Space, Fossils & Evolution, Royal Ontario Museum; Joseph Wilson, Director, Business Development, Spongelab Interactive

Interactive Fiction and Narrative Games Writing

Kaitlin Tremblay and Natalie Zina Walschots will discuss their experiences writing and designing narrative games, and demonstrate the various structures this kind of writing can take. The workshop will include discussions of interactive fiction, branching narratives, character creation, interweaving game design with narrative design, making other creative assets, and writing endings.

Natalie Zina Walschots is a freelance writer and bailed academic based in Toronto. She writes everything from reviews of science fiction novels and interviews with heavy metal musicians to to in-depth feminist games criticism and pieces of long-form journalism. She is the writer of The Oldest Game, a newsgame about sex work in Canada, and the short horror game A Gift For Mother. She is the author of two books of poetry, and is presently finishing a novel about supervillainy and henchpeople. She also plays a lot of D&D, participates in a lot of Nordic LARPs, watches a lot of horror movies and reads a lot of speculative fiction.

Kaitlin Tremblay is a writer, narrative designer, and game developer. Her independent work focuses on exploring mental illness and feminism through horror. She is the author of the book Ain’t No Place for a Hero: Borderlands (ECW Press 2017) and the editor of the book Those Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories (Exile Editions, 2016). She is the lead writer on the narrative-driven video game A Mortician's Tale (Laundry Bear, 2017).

Virtual Reality Panel: Stories from the Field

Hear how different library systems are making use of virtual reality setups to engage students and users. They’ll give you some great suggestions on how to program, lessons learned and things to keep in mind, and how to choose the gear that you purchase.

Richard Anderson, Vaughan Public Library; Lesa Balch, Kitchener Public Library; Emma Cross, Carleton University

Level Up Your Minecraft Club

Minecraft clubs are popping up at schools and libraries all across Ontario, and for good reason. They’re an engaging and interesting way to get kids of all ages immersed in a number of topics. But as with anything, attention and enthusiasm can wane over time. Come and hear 60 ideas* in 60 minutes on how to energize your Minecraft club!

*number of ideas may vary.

Jen Apgar, Gaming Edus; Eric Liebregts, St. Thomas Public Library; Ryan Tucci, Carleton University

Libraries and Gaming Community

The focus of the panel will be on joint programming between academic libraries and public libraries using games in an effort to foster a wider gaming community.

Michelle Goodridge, Wilfrid Laurier University ; Lee Puddephatt, Idea Exchange, Zile Ozols, Brantford Public Library

Code + Create + Play: Introducing Coding To Your Community Is Easier Than You Think!

Librarians play a critical role in providing inclusive and accessible information and learning experiences for their communities. As technology continues to become an increasingly powerful and prevalent tool in our every day lives, computational thinking and coding skills will equip us with the ability to solve problems and design experiences in meaningful ways.

Technology has also enabled us to design better educational tools that are fun, accessible, engaging, adaptable and easy to use! Carolyn Van, Director of Youth Programming at Ladies Learning Code will share some tips and first steps educators and librarians can take to start equipping young people with the skills, knowledge, confidence and critical thinking skills to shape our future. David Zambrano from Markham Public Library will teach you how to code your own map to create a game using Ozobots.

Carolyn Van, Ladies Learning Code; David Zambrano, Markham Public Library