LOEX Bound... Yippee

I was surprised yesterday to read that the LOEX conference had filled within a few minutes of opening up. Andrew over at library+instruction+technology blogged about the frantic pace of registration as well.

I felt lucky last week when I found out my poster presentation was accepted at LOEX, now I feel incredibly lucky… and nervous. This will be my first national offering and I’ve got a nagging ego. But I do believe in my content and believe that many people can be successful integrating gaming strategies without years of game development. I’ve had success and I hope that sharing my work will help others (Which is also part of the reason I blog).

Here is my initial poster presentation proposal, feel free to give me feedback:

“Grand Theft Information Literacy: Teaching with Video Game Strategies”

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. But how can librarians integrate games and game strategies into the classroom? And how do these strategies change library instruction? The answers do not need to be complicated. This presentation examines how the Charles C. Myers Library at the University of Dubuque integrated gaming strategies into the existing instruction program and witnessed increases in student creativity and productivity.

Regardless of if the students are gamers or not, gaming strategies are rooted in educational theory and can create a new classroom experience. Since getting started can be intimidating, the University of Dubuque took small steps. The goal of the program was to integrate the educational benefits of games, without the complex creation of original games.

Through the 2006 report by the Federation of American Scientists and a review of the literature, the instruction program identified 10 specific video game strategies. Over the course of two semesters, the instruction program used these strategies in two sections of a world music course and eight sections of a research writing course. These sessions focused specifically on the research process and website evaluation.

The presentation describes how the instruction program mapped game strategies to ACRL outcomes, created activities based on game strategies, assessed the success and modified the instruction sessions. The program used both qualitative and quantitative assessments to evaluate the gaming instruction sessions. Through these strategies the students were more engaged in discussion, more willing to ask questions and performed more authentic demonstrations of information literacy skills.

This research found that students benefited from these strategies, regardless if they identified themselves as gamers or non-gamers. The how to integrate games and what they teach does not need to be complicated. The poster presentation provides a starting point for librarians wondering how to get started incorporating video games and strategies into library instruction. Starting small, understanding the concepts, and being willing to explore and stumble along with the students resulted in rewarding experiences for both the students and the librarians.