At Games, Learning, and Libraries Symposium last week, Dr. Henry Jenkins identified four sets of skills that students today need. Jenkins stated that, we as librarians and educators, can address these literacy skills. We can help supply these needs and deal with these problems through the following 11 skills:
- Play: Having the capacity to experiment and problem solve is at the core of research. Whenever I sit down to do a search, I’m experimenting with terms and strategies. I’m testing hypothesizes on where to look and what to look for. Searching is the scientific process. Testing the search hypothesis, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions about how to search based on the results. If this searching process fits Jenkins’ explanation of play, why do our students see it as work? Why not emphasis this experimenting as play? Try it, doesn’t work, tinker and test, and then try again. Do students see searching as work because there is an assignment attached or because they have little motivational incentive test and play around? What if we make their initial searches cooperative or competitive? I am teaching a research writing library session on the second day of class this fall. The students have very little context for their geographic based research topics. I hope to tap into this concept by structuring their initial searches as a playful experiment, where we don’t know the right answers but digging around for topics (good or bad topics) gives us a place to start.
- Simulation: If we want to structure some of our sessions a playful experimenting, we still want students to interpret dynamic models of real world processes and understand the impacts of changing variables. This could be as basic as changing search parameters to see how the results react. But it could be carried out through giving students real world research questions and having them make decisions and draw conclusions based on them, making sure to include time for reflection and discussion.