Yesterday I wrote about the questions from the audience. There were a number of good questions that both clarified some points from my presentation and expanded the scope of applying fantasy sports to information literacy. Below are two of the questions asked and the my comments and reflections on them.
Challenges & Roadblocks
1. "What about women?" Yes, fantasy sports are dominated by males, but the gender gap is shrinking. Granted, it's a huge (95% male) gap. The truth is that female interest in football or in other sports should not be discounted and assumed to be nonexistent. While fantasy sports outreach should be targeted across genders, there are other ways to apply bridging real life experiences to information literacy.
Last fall, The University of Dubuque applied a similar lesson as the fantasy football one to movie reviews. Students were asked to choose which movie they thought scored the highest and then had a little time to dig and report the results. The same evaluation criteria that were discussed in the fantasy football lesson applied to this lesson as well. Any way that we can connect students' existing experiences to information literacy we can help them not only understand the concepts but the applications as well.
2. Doesn't this promote gambling?
I told the person in the audience the truth - "It doesn't matter if it does or doesn't, what we do will not stop students."
Now while this is easy and rather glib to say, it doesn’t answer the question. I did go on to truly answer the question, and it really depends on what the attitude and concerns are of your campus and community. If this question is being raised, gambling is a concern. And in places like this, talk about fantasy football as an example and application of the information tools students and patrons need to be successful.
The University of Dubuque framed this as a way to help students understand information literacy skills and gain confidence in their ability to apply them.
Now if you are at campus or in a community that isn’t raising the gambling question – then run with it. Promote your library’s involvement to students and patrons in terms of “build a better fantasy football team” or “how to succeed in the draft.” Talk about it in terms that is meaningful for the audience. But keep the information literacy talking points handy for faculty and administrators wanting more information.Thank you again to everyone that's written and expressed comments. The more that we can make information literacy relevant and real in our students' lives through fantasy sports, video games, and others - the more meaningful it can be in their academic life.