Grand Theft Information Literacy

Here is the conference proposal that I submitted last week for our state ACRL chapter. I'll hear back next week if I got accepted or not, but it's a place to start. I've also submitted a poster presentation proposal for LOEX which is more focused than this, but still contains the general idea. Any thoughts or feedback is welcome on this. Thanks


Video games do teach. The challenging question is not if they teach, but how. Gee (2003), Prensky (2006) Shaffer (2006), Van Eck (2006) and many others are part of a growing body of research devoted to answering how video games teach. In the fall of 2006, The Federation of American Scientists released a report identifying the educational aspects of video games and called for increased integration into the classroom.

This presentation analyzes commonly identified educational features of video games and how they apply to information literacy. These educational features correlate well with traditional pedagogy and map to academic standards. Regardless of if the students are gamers or not, gaming strategies are rooted in educational theory and can create a new classroom experience.

But how do can these strategies be implemented into our classrooms? The presentation looks at how a variety of libraries are integrating games, from simple quizzes to more complicated flash based exploration games and even first person 3-D research quests. These engaging efforts are exciting, but can be intimidating. The University of Dubuque’s small steps into game strategies provide a successful example for other libraries looking to get started.

The goal of the University of Dubuque’s program was to integrate the educational benefits of games into existing courses. The presentation describes how the instruction program mapped game strategies to ACRL outcomes, created activities based on game strategies, and assessed the success. Through these strategies the students were more engaged in discussion, more willing to ask questions and performed more authentic demonstrations of information literacy skills.

At a time when the majority of college students play and have experience with video games, we as librarians can increase the worth of those game skills. A successful researcher and a successful game player share similar skills and through the application of games within our classrooms we can create rewarding experiences for both the students and the librarians.