Starting Strong in Another Semester

One week into our second semester and our information literacy program has already taught 24 sessions. Not a bad start to what should be a record setting year for the number of information literacy sessions taught. With all these sessions, the four librarians are finding ways to keep video game strategies part of out planning discussions and classroom sessions. We are doing so, not by “forcing the fun.” Video game strategies do not need a lesson plan that includes a game to work. The strategies stand on their own and work well integrated into existing classes.

During the fall semester, our instruction program came up with a few creative ways to integrate gaming strategies (the APA Stump the Expert session is one example). But more than focus be creative in the classroom, gaming strategies shaped the way we talked about classroom instruction. Regardless of what class we met about, or what assignment we brainstormed on, the strategies below always factored into our instruction design.

Educational Strategies Present in Videogames

Identified by the Federation of American Scientists

Summit on Educational Games, 2006

1. Clear learning goals

2. Practice opportunities

3. Monitor progress, provide continual feedback

4. Move player to higher challenges

5. Encourage inquiry and questions

6. Contextual bridging

7. Time on task

8. Motivation

9. Scaffolding

10. Personalization

11. Infinitely patient medium

As the Spring 2008 semester begins at colleges and universities around the country, I encourage everyone reading to keep these teaching strategies in mind when creating instruction sessions. The list is simple, and while not as detailed as Gee’s work or the analysis of others, it’s a place to start.

For librarians wanting to try these, but face reluctance and skepticism over “video games” – shhh – don’t tell anyone this are video game strategies. Remember games work because all of these strategies are going on during gameplay. Do not limit instruction design to only one or two of these. Apply the strategies together.

For those interested in getting started, do not force the fun. Creativity will come.