Using gaming to incorporate Information Literacy with Maths

Article on integrating games and Web 2.0 tools into IL instruction

“Gaming and learning: Winning information literacy” by Marsha Spiegelman and Richard Glass in C&RL News, October 2008 Vol. 69, No. 9

This ties in with my last post on using gaming and learning. This time it is with HE students in the US and of particular interest is the integration of IL within Maths and students enjoying using Maths logic to search databases. Examples of IL and Maths are thin on the ground.

Agan it is a collaborative piece of work which I think is important linking people / professions and IL / academic subjects to produce inovative learning. This is reiterated by the writers in the last sentence of the article
“Successful projects like ours require that you leave the confines of your library walls. Approach like-minded colleagues, attend cross-disciplinary conferences, and turn on your inner gamer to make productive collaboration happen.”

This is something we try to do within the Scottish Information Literacy Project.

Although this is set within HE, the thrust of the concept could be equally applied within other sectors.

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More video games in libraries

In our previous post on this topic we noted that video games were already well established in American public libraries. The American Library Association (ALA) is now seeking to develop this further through a $1 million study into the impact of gaming on literacy skills.

As part of the Gaming for Learning project, which was announced during the ALA Conference, the ALA will build a model for library gaming that can be deployed nationally. The Librarians’ Guide to Gaming will be developed in collaboration with leading gaming experts in order to create a comprehensive online literacy and gaming toolbox. It will then be tested in selected libraries before being rolled out across the US.

Commenting on the project, ALA President Loriene Roy said: “Gaming is a magnet that attracts library users of all types and, beyond its entertainment value, has proven to be a powerful tool for literacy and learning.”

We look forward to the publication of the Librarians’ Guide to Gaming to see what lessons it holds for Scottish libraries.

Video games in libraries

Edinburgh City libraries recently launched the Libraries4U project which aims to encourage more young people to use their libraries. As part of the project, three Edinburgh libraries have been refurbished to include new teenage zones. The libraries at Craigmillar, Kirkliston and Moredun also offer access to popular gaming consoles and host games clubs and competitions for young people.

The use of games consoles has become widespread in the US where, according to the LA Times, a study by Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies found that a quarter of US libraries held video game events in 2007. As part of the US National Library Week 2008, Friday 18 April was declared National Gaming @ your library Day.

Many American librarians – and the American Library Association (ALA) – support the use of video games in libraries, claiming that it makes libraries seem more relevant to young people and promotes the use of other resources ( i.e. books). This is supported by another Syracuse University study which, as quoted in the LA Times, found that three quarters of library gamers returned for other services.

Are video games just another new format that public libraries should stock and promote, like CDs and DVDs in the past? Let us know your views or experience of gaming in libraries.