IL Challenged? Don’t Blame Them, Game Them

Richard Glass, Marsha Spiegelman, Nassau Community College

Glass and Spiegelman describe their information literacy game in Second Life. The game, is a series of quests throughout different Second Life locations. While the content amounts to a traditional tutorial the interactive environment creates a new experience. Glass and Spiegelman have used the Second Life platform to create a game, rather than just simply existing in the virtual world. The game is a great idea that is still going through additions and just starting to be used. But as a concept, they've created a tool for a virtual tutorial that pulls the students out of a static webpage walkthrough, into a living world of Second Life. As community college faculty, the idea of a virtual tutorial for students is a great way to meet and adapt to their population's needs. Below are the notes from the GLLS session:

Students collect items in Second Life based around clues provided within instruction. They created a game within Second Life.

One of the challenges in the game is to evaluate websites. The links are provided within Second Life and the students then access those sites and return to SL to answer the questions. Some of the other questions scattered throughout the quest are adapted from Scott Rice's Information Literacy Game.

Other quests include going to "Mystery Island" to A.Christie's cottage to search for a book using the library catalog. The game has a specific set of outcomes, but incorporates a number of choices. Students will get extra credit for playing.

2 questions from the audience:

  • How long does it take to play through?
  • How much has been play tested?

A: Glass and Spiegelman are just getting the SL quest out to their students now so any student feedback was very limited. I'm interested to see how this advances and adapts as more people play through the quests. I plan to follow up with them at the end of this semester and see how things are going.

Hopefully glass and Spielman's ideas open doors to others to use virtual worlds as a place to create game-like experiences. Experiences that mirror traditional gameplay elements and the satisfaction players derive from them.

Glass and Spiegelman have a broader gaming and libraries article in the October issue of C&RL News. They been using gaming principles in other instruction sessions and the article discusses that in more detail.

"gaminglearning," American Library Association, October 07, 2008.