24 May 2006

Is this for real? Gaming in libraries!

Quote of the week - A "great" teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers
Is this for real? Gaming in libraries!

There is a fast developing trend to introduce playstations in public libraries and ‘gaming’ concepts into information literacy classes in academic libraries. What about online gaming? Online gaming is the next logical sequence in this direction. Online gaming is where youthA from Australia plays a game with YouthB in the USA. What fun? As with all ‘new’ ideas, they come with the pros and cons. Have you considered the long-term benefits of such a move, are there major drawbacks? The millenial, or X-generation equipment or concept might be just the thing to get the not so bookish teenagers using your library and then (gasp) borrowing some books? What are your ‘policies’ or ‘rules of gaming’? Do your users book? Are they library card holders? How long can they use the ‘game’ or Internet?

Have you read the article written by Ameet Doshi? Let's play games in our infolit classes! Have competitions to see which groups can find the 'answers' first, (working in pairs or teams of 4). Ask the ‘winners’ to tell the rest of the class the process they used to find the article. Have some ‘questions’ on a ‘Database Game’ sheet. Ask the students to find the answers. Will you let go of your “show and tell” teaching method to give this a go? Will you tell them which database to use or give them a tip to work out which database the answer can be found in?
This is along the same lines as the SLQ (State library of Queensland) database challenge, whereby library patrons can enter a competition to answer specific questions using a particular database. What a brilliant idea! The users have the chance to win something, while at the same time learn more about the database. Who says adult learners can’t learn through play?! Doshi, A (2006) states that librarians and patrons would all agree there needs to be more two-way, conversational information literacy skills lessons, and not the one-way instruction, “this is the best way to do this” type of class. He also states at the end of the article – “Libraries should be doing things to induce gasps of amazement”. So come on everyone, tell us, what are you doing (gasp) that rates as amazing?

SLQ Database Challenge - http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/news/whatson/events/challenge06

Doshi, A (2006), HOW GAMING Could Improve Information Literacy.
Computers in Libraries; Vol. 26 Issue 5, p14-17, 4p


At 4:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes we do need gasps of amazement in info lit classes. Sometimes you can hear little gasps. Chalk and talk or dataprojector/computer and talk are one-way. More interaction is needed.

At 8:03 am, Anonymous Ameet Doshi said...

Thank you for blogging about this article. I really see great potential for us to capture the imaginations of many of our students and patrons by using games.

It is very interesting to see how this trend is pervasive in other realms. Take advertising on the web. How often do you see an "Orbitz.com" banner ad that is actually a game? Or the countless other (less-inspired) celebrity quizzes soliciting clicks? These companies have spent thousands of dollars and conducted scores of focus groups to devise methods for engaging their customers, and they've come up with... games!

Another example are those wildly popular (and often wildly annoying) reality television shows. These programs are just an extension of the more structured game shows from previous decades (e.g. Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune). While many of these programs cross into twisted studies of social psychology, some actually do present positive examples of applying information gathering techniques (along with physical and mental strength) to find the hidden treasure.

I'm glad that other educators and librarians see the potential of linking gaming with information literacy. Many researchers have been exploring these possibilities for many years now.

You might also be interested in the discussions happening at GameON: Gaming in Libraries.Their RSS feed is available via feedburner.


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