Information Literacy Session: An Applicatication in "Reduced Risk" Video Game Strategy

As I posted last night, I taught the Library Dusk database review today. The information literacy session went okay, but it was a powerful example of the gaming strategy of "reducing the risk of failure." I've written in some detail before about applying "risk taking" video game strategy, and I'm thankful for that perspective today.

The session started well. The student-directed multiple path review got the class of upper class students engaged. While all but one of the students had previous information literacy sessions with me, the vast majority were interested in student-choice driven review. The activity worked well to review both catalog and database navigation. It was effective in challenging students' previous assumptions. The activity includes choices of specific databases, books, and internet sources. Students first started by choosing internet search engines as the place to start. Given the scholarly requirements of the assignment, starting with the internet would not be the most efficient. I asked a few detailed questions about the type of sources they would find online and they came to the conclusion that their could be better options.

Students were surprised that their assumptions about what search terms would bring the best results were incorrect. Breaking their assumptions, opened up some discussion about what they expected to happen and what their rationale was for the choices. Similar to last year's session, the students engaged with each other and challenged each others' opinions. I served more to help guide the discussion and not to present the content. The personalization the students had with the ability to determine the how, where, and what should be searched, kept them engaged and debating during the course of the review.

Unfortunately, not everything was that rosy. Some hyper links that I tested before the class did not work and my power point slides from MS Powerpoint froze up about half way through. I was lucky that the class covered much main review topics.

Keeping in mind the video game strategy of "reduced risk," I looked back on today as an example of flexibility, not frustration. Having a review specifically designed for Power Point created tension for me once it froze. But because I'm trying to model video game strategies, I was able to use that turn of events for the better.

Every instruction librarian has a bad session and days we wish we could "do over." By keeping the gaming strategy in mind, we can have "do overs." While the same class can never come back, there are more opportunities. Another class - another chance.

Video games reduce risk so that the player continues to play.
Librarians and teachers want to reduce risk for our students so they continue to be engaged.
We need to reduce the risk for ourselves so that we can continue to innovate, try, and advance us all.