I'm barely in "Gen-X." I'm about 12 years too young to truly appreciate the Abbie Hoffman reference I just made. I'm about 12 years too old to be a real "gamer." Nonetheless, here I am in my 40's staying up late to write a book report on Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning by Karl Kapp. Sorry Mom.

I apologize to my mother, my beloved late-night term-paper typist, but NOT to you dear reader. This book is pretty good. I am going to apply a little gamer style that I learned from the book and mix it up with a little of my own Yuppie Yippie geezer pre-gamer culture jamming of my own. (Whew, too much social anthropology to parse there, no wonder one of the reviewers/contributors has a background in Anthropology.)

Learning Designer/Developer Cheating Tips for Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning: Tools and Techniques for Transferring Know-How from Boomers to Gamers

  1. Use the Corporate Card to buy it. It's expensive, but you'll come-off like a super-genius. Plus you'll want to share this book with co-workers and clients. Boomers will be able to throw down some gaming terms, and understand what makes gamers tick. Gamers will even gain some insight into Boomers.
    Bonus tip: Independent consultant like me? Buy it anyway and "Stick it to the man." It's fun, even if you are "the man."
  2. Read Chapter 1 first, and read it all. Well, duh. It's like doing the tutorial at the start of a game, you'll get further faster. This chapter has a lot of the background and research references that helped shape the book.
  3. Jump to Chapter 5, it's about cheats Why? 'Cause one man's cheats is another man's job-aid (or performance support tool). Besides this whole post is a cheat, right. Don't hate the playa, learn to game the gamers.
  4. Now skip to Chapter to Chapter 10, it's about the coin You're going to need budget or at least time to do some interesting games, get some gizmos, design networked social learning and generally do other cool stuff. Chapter 10 gets right to the new math of explaining that not just playing, but designing games is critical and worthwhile. You'll need to justify this stuff.
    Bonus tip: Now go back and read the "Workplace Implications" from Chapters 2-4 and 6-8-- they'll have some good fodder for the Exec Summary of that budgeting proposal.
  5. Refine and Polish Go back and skip around, read more in any order... don't be so linear dude. Refresh some basic ISD in Chapters 2-3 and re-orient it to games and gamers. Think about recruiting them in Chapter 9. Think about how you obtain, train and retain across the board for boomer and gamers alike.

Not exactly a book report, but hopefully an interesting stop on this virtual book tour. I like the book for the anecdotes, data and scenarios. Those are things that resonate with me and I find memorable, repeatable and applicable. Right there at the front (p. 16-17), Karl pulled together a nice chart of the attributes of the games and gamers across 4 "generations" of gamers from Gen I Pong and Odyssey to Gen 4.0 Halo, The Sims and GTA3. I'm starting to use bits from this table like a mini Meyers-Briggs assessment for quickly sizing up and adjusting to gamers. Check out the book on Amazon, or do a little more recon and learn more about it via the current virtual book tour that is underway.