Sean Cordes, Assistant Professor, Instruction Services Coordinator, Western Illinois University

Brian Clark, Assistant Professor, Library Faculty Instructor, Western Illinois University

Amy Harris, First-Year Instruction Coordinator and Reference Librarian, The University of North Carolina – Greensboro

Okay, back to summarizing LOEX sessions. I want to write about Game on (and on) at this particular time as I will be using some of the information (hopefully) to create an interactive tutorial scavenger hunt for our young archaeologists who will be on campus in July. My goal is to follow-up on the “town hall” meeting of July 14 – the introduction to the camp where we set the stage and present different perspectives on the stadium vs cultural preservation debate – and have students come to Research & Rhetoric (R&R) class the following day prepared with some historical information on the Seneca in the Genesee Valley. If all works as planned, students will learn how to use our OPAC, find books and maps in the library, use newspaper indexes and microfilm machines to find primary documents, and sufficiently search the web for other relevant information. If anyone knows off hand of any great digitized collections on the Seneca (Iroquois) in NYS, please forward those links on. I can always do the background work, but it will save a lot more time to have ready-made recommended sites.

So, Game on (and on) . . .

In this session, three speakers presented the value of virtual gaming to teach ACRL IL standards. Amy Harris (UNCG) co-created the Information Literacy Game with Scott Rice (Appalachian State University), and Cordes and Clark followed-up on Amy’s demonstration of the IL Game with their own iteration. The original goal of game creation was to extend learning beyond the one-shot session and the games are primarily intended for students at the first-year level.

Amy gave a good demonstration of her game, and I could explain the in’s and out’s here but it may be best to just try to game out for yourself. Here are a few easy tips related to the game for a faster read on how it applies to ACRL’s IL standards:

Color coding and icons are used for the type of questions students will be asked:

  • · green=searching databases
  • · blue=citing sources (MLA and APA) & avoiding plagiarism
  • · red=wildcard
  • · purple=books
  • · light bulbs=website evaluation
  • · !=gameboard piece (move forward, bckward, skip, etc.)
  • · ?=information about the game

Students move around the game board and answer questions, working against the clock. They can work independently or with others. The game is driven either by keyboard strokes or with a mouse.

The beauty of what Harris and Rice have constructed is that the game is easily adaptable for any other library who are free to “make it their own” with downloadable sound and visuals and library-specific questions and directions. The system is designed for the non-techie so just about anyone can adapt the game. The Information Literacy Game has become so popular that 2300 rounds were played within the last 2 years and it will appear first on a Google list with the search phrase “information literacy games.”

Cordes and Clark stepped in next to discuss how they adapted the game to make it unique to Western Illinois University (WIU) and to demonstrate how easy it is to do so. A few modifications that were made at WIU:

  • · Addition of questions related to media, visual, and multicultural literacies
  • · Employment of AT&T 21st century literacies. Start w/question, identify & collect information, evaluate, make sense, reflect & refine, using information and assess
  • · Transformation of as many 2D objects into 3D as possible (i.e., bullets were updated)
  • · Change of color and graphics (i.e, college logo) to brand the game as one belonging to WIU (be sure to cover all related pages as well as the top level website)
  • · Addition of more colorful graphics (i.e., MS clipart) laid over originals
  • · Change of title to represent library’s newly modified game
  • · Implemented sorry! and roll on! when students answer incorrectly. Reasons are always given for why the answer is wrong so that student continue to learn, even from their mistakes.
  • · Game emulates Trivial Pursuit where students try to collect one of each color on the board

A few tips for those wanting to transform the IL Game:

  • · Become friends w/bgame.css (Dreamweaver properties provide new styles to choose from)
  • · <div class=”game” id=”main”> very important since not everything is provided in the game files (I’ll have to actually try to modify the game to know what all of this means)
  • · clipart.com – for $15, download as many clipart images as possible in a week (many 3D images to choose from)

o choose icons that students will relate to

o re-use icons as much as possible. They are helpful for the game but can be used in many other projects.

The session ended with a live demonstration of Clark and Cordes’ game. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to easily find a link to the game, and there haven’t been any links added to the LOEX 2008 site.

Cordes and Clark plan to take the idea of IL gaming one step further and develop a complete game arcade. They caution, however, that librarians pick and choose games very carefully, giving considerable thought to what students will really learn from the game(s). If librarians can successfully prove that students are indeed learning from the interactive tools, this could be a very powerful sell to faculty.

Currently, there is another game based on a mouse trap that involves critical thinking & problem solving. Based on answers provided by students, a path is drawn, and the goal is to reach the designated final destination. Definitely worth seeking out online.

In the end, I’m not sure if a game board activity is right for what I have in mind for our middle school students. I have been thinking about diving into Camtasia or Captivate, and a colleague has also informed me of Jing. I talked with a librarian from SUNY Plattsburgh at the SUNYLA Conference who has created tutorials in Camtasia and I’m not so sure I have the time for the required learning curve. So much to do, so little time. Perhaps my end goals for this scavenger hunt are a little lofty given my time constraints. We’ll see.

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