Leveling Up Your Librarians - ACRL Proposal

I want to post an ACRL workshop proposal that I submitted along with Chad Boeninger, from Ohio University & Library Voice, and Jon Helmke from the University of Dubuque. I'm posting in part to seek feedback on comments on our workshop idea. I am eager to keep librarians moving forward beyond just simply talking about "why" libraries should consider, engage, and apply video games and gaming strategies. While I'm happy to talk about the "why" it is the "how" that is really important. How librarians can actively apply gaming strategies into our programs, services, and classrooms. This workshop is a step in that direction.

Leveling Up Your Librarians: Using Videogame Strategies to Increasing Student Engagement & Motivation

Short Description:

As libraries are talking about the value of videogames, the relevance of gaming in libraries cannot be ignored. The challenge is not in seeing the value, but in finding effective and efficient ways to apply gaming into services and instruction. The workshop will help the participants identify and employ gaming strategies into existing programs. This workshop inspires librarians to start small and introduce gaming strategies with traditional outcomes to immediately enhance student learning.

Long Description:

As more libraries are talking about the value of video games in our communities, collections, and classrooms, the relevance of gaming in libraries cannot be ignored. The challenge is not in seeing the value of video games, the challenge is in finding effective and efficient ways to apply gaming into our classrooms and at reference. Rather than investing thousands into longterm game development, librarians can start applying gaming strategies in their instruction and services to improve student engagement and learning today.

The workshop will provide a framework of gaming strategies based upon the work of James Paul Gee, Marc Prensky, the Federation of American Scientists and others to show that the value in gaming is not in the electronic format, but in how students and players interact with the experiences. This framework parallels much in traditional educational theory and provides librarians an existing base of knowledge to build upon. The participants may already be applying some of these strategies within their libraries. The leaders will help the participants identify and apply these strategies jointly in targeted services or classes to create game-based learning experiences. Using video game footage, the leaders will demonstrate how games apply these strategies to teach players and motivate them forward. During the workshop, participants will bring a example of a information literacy lesson or service that they are currently using at their institution and work with the workshop leaders and other participants to identify and integrate gaming strategies into it to improve their teaching and service. This focused and practical application of gaming into our libraries creates opportunities for librarians regardless of gaming experience to obtain the engaging and educational value of video games.

The leaders will demonstrate gaming strategies by actively using them during the workshop. Time is scheduled for leaders and participants to debrief on the process, identify existing hurdles, and brainstorm solutions. Also the presenters are creating an online toolkit to provide continued support to participants after the workshop. This online toolkit will provide examples of lesson plans that integrate gaming strategies and other information sources.

Students playing video games of all kinds and in all places are actually developing their academic skills by exercising critical thinking and information literacy. Librarians are uniquely placed to build on students’ gameplay experiences to create that vital link between game and academic success. This link is created in classroom instruction by using the very same strategies designed into games to engage and motivate players. Librarians can incorporate video game strategies in reference and instruction to create a relevant and meaningful experience for students. This workshop will allow librarians to start small and targeted gaming strategies, while including traditional outcomes to enhance the learning experiences of students across our campuses.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:
  • Define gaming strategies in the context of educational pedagogy and student learning.
  • Identify examples of gaming strategies to enhance student learning.
  • Create classroom applications of various gaming strategies to increase student engagement and motivation.
  • Construct reference service applications with gaming strategies for the enhancement of student access and value.
  • Develop a lesson plan that integrates gaming strategies for use in an existing information literacy session.

If you have any suggestions for content for the workshop, questions about the format, or any other comments please let me know. The more input on this - the better.

I believe that it is possible to move beyond asking the "why" questions about video games and libraries. Our content does not necessarily need to change to use gaming applications effectively. It is not the "what" that we need to adapt to make gaming work - it is the "how."