Course notes:

  • consensus that games can and do teach players to solve problems though the construction of knowledge (Gee, 2003).
  • Players construct knowledge through an on-going negotiation with the media as a pedagogy of multiliteracies (Cazden, 1996).
  • what contribution do games make to digital identity and information fluency?
  • games as critical tools for engaging 21st learners – experiental, inter/active learning
  • “Library education and information literacy construction can benefit from the potential of games to motivate and engage, as students may feel that traditional IL training is irrelevant or uninteresting in the age of Google” (Markey & Leeder, 2011, p.48).

Reflection: What aspects of this game are appropriate to you context? How dependent on the R&D team was the project? How difficult would this be to achieve in your situation and why?

The article by Markey et al. (2011) is very pertinent to my own context as teacher librarian. It is worrying to consider that students are still entering university without having received any IL training. It is the focus of my teaching program, that students will move on to high school with at least the beginning of understanding of elements of IL, and the importance of critical thinking when using information systems. The authors’ focus on the effect of motivation and engagement, with the “elements of challenge, reward and feedback in games contribut[ing] to their making them fun and engaging” (2011, p.48).

The game is very similar to a web evaluation game I am trialling with the year 5 cohort with 5 different doorways, similar to BiblioBouts five bouts. However, Bibliobouts is alot more extensive, having a greater practical application whereby students have to search the web and library databases for sources on an assigned topic which are then incorporated within the game via Zotero (which provided it’s own difficulties, ibid.p.54). I liked how it aimed to be social and collaborative involving multiplayers.  The scoring of the game was definitely problematic (ibid, p.57-58). Interestingly, “both quantitative and qualitative data suggest that players did not devote appropriate time and effort to these skills, engaging instead in “gaming the game” and spamming donations to earn points” (ibid, p.53).  I wonder if it is the college/university level that is also a predetermining factor in engagement with IL games? Personally, with the pressure of university assignments, I believe any digital games introduced at this tertiary level would need to be explicitly linked to the assignments in order for students to be engaged and committed. I would like to see this game played by secondary students, perhaps year 9-11 students.

The project was very dependent on the Research & Development team, which is totally understandable. It also shows how closely educators need to work with R&D/game designers, and also why forums and dashboards are important feedback tools for the developers, allowing students to give immediate game feedback on issues within a game.

The development of digital games would be difficult to achieve in my K-12 educational environment as schools do not have R&D teams, and as the author’s note “current information literacy games do not always live up to these ambitious goals” (ibid, p. 48) to motivate, engage, support development of logical thinking & problem solving. It is also why curation tools will become even more important for educators to source games that will support learning outcomes.

Really, at the end of the day what educators and game designers need to provide is summed up by a student in Markey et. al.’s case study (p.61):

“Make it fun. At the beginning, draw me in. Get the hook” 

Reference:

Markey, K., Leeder, C., & St. Jean, B. (2011). Students’ behaviour playing an online information literacy game. Journal of Information Literacy, 5(2), pp.46-65.

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