Category Archives: Information Lieracy

Information Literacy and Gaming

game-clip-art-2In my last post on student research preferences and online resources, I talked about how students seem to prefer online resources, which is not surprising in the age of the internet. The ease of online searching and the highly visual nature of the internet supports the theory that our attention spans are shorter and we crave instant gratification. According to recent studies, students who have grown up using evolving technology, often referred to as “Net Geners” or Millenials, learn in a different way than past generations and libraries are slow to respond to this trend. There are a growing number of articles being written on the subject and a few of my favorites are:

     Baker, Russell, Erika Matulich, and Raymond Papp. “Teach me in the way I learn: Education and the internet generation.” Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC) 4.4 (2011). PDF

     Carlson, Scott. “The net generation goes to college.” The chronicle of higher education 52.7 (2005): A34.

     DiLullo, Camille, Patricia McGee, and Richard M. Kriebel. “Demystifying the Millennial student: A reassessment in measures of character and engagement in professional education.” Anatomical sciences education 4.4 (2011): 214-226. (PDF available here, as well as other helpful resources on the subject)

Libraries may offer online databases and Apps for mobile devices that link to library resources, but we are not addressing the WAY that students are approaching or processing the information. This includes in-person services, especially classes and workshops which are usually longer in length. One new approach that I have been finding effective is utilizing gaming techniques in information literacy classes. I have found that incorporating gaming in my basic information literacy classes promotes stronger involvement and content retention in students.

I created a game using Prezi for a class on finding music resources at Elizabeth City State University. To view the interactive game online, click on the image below:

music resource game screenshot I started the class by having the students break into two groups and choose a team Captain.  I asked for one student volunteer to write down team names on a whiteboard. I then gave the groups 5 minutes to pick a team name.  At this point I explained that I was going to give a 15 minute presentation on how to find music resources and that they would be playing a game afterwards to see how much they had learned. They were allowed to use their notes during the game, which prompted them to take better notes while I presented, which they could use at a later date. The game rules were simple. I had the class professor pick a number between 1-10 and the team Captains also choose a number between 1-10. Whoever was closest got to go first. That team was allowed to continue to answer questions until they got them wrong, which prompted the other team to take over. The team who answers the last question wins the game. The whole class took roughly 50 minutes, including instruction and game.

I had included 15 seconds after each question for the teams to discuss, but I was pleased to find that the students answered right away and often without using their notes. The student feedback was very positive and they were invested in helping me to improve the game experience. Students felt the game would be more fair to score by points, so I am working on a Jeopardy-type game where the questions asked are scored based on difficulty of the question. I also will not automatically include a timer in the game, unless the team doesn’t answer right away.

If you are interested in incorporating gaming into your information literacy classes, here are some of the resources I used:

     Boyle, Susan. “Using games to enhance information literacy sessions.” Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC). The British Library and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), London, England, UK. 18-20 April 2011. Presentation. Web <>.

     Doshi, Ameet. “How Gaming Could Improve Information Literacy.” Computers in Libraries. Information Today, May 2006. Web <>.

     McDevitt, Theresa. “Games and Activities for Energizing Library Instruction .” Libguide. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 22 Oct. 2013. Web <>.

     Rice, Scott. Library Games Blog. Appalachian State University, Mar. 2010. Web <>.

     “Libraries, Literacy and Gaming.” Libguide. Manhattanville College Library, 4 Oct. 2011. Web <>.


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February 20, 2014 · 11:22 am

Student Research Preferences and Online Resources

courtesy of miguelavg

Picture courtesy of miguelavg

When I started the fall semester, I had the music students take a short survey on their research and writing habits. I did this for two reasons: 1. I wanted to see how they approached research and resources and 2. I wanted to see what their preferences were as far as online vs. in-person. I was not surprised at all by the survey results.

70% of the students said they prefer online resources, 22% prefer a mixture of online and in-person and only 8% said they prefer just  in-person. So essentially, almost 92% wanted access to online resources! Of course, when they listed which resources they use, Google search was at the top at a whopping 80%. Here are the other resources that students preferred (multiple choices allowed):

Google   80%
Internet/ online   15%
Books  10%
Library  10%
Wikipedia  10%
E.C. Public Library  8%  5%
Google Scholar  5%
Class notes  3%

As you can see, the majority of the answers were internet related and less than half could be considered scholarly. A 2008 study of undergraduate writing skills at ECSU shows that most of our students have difficulty writing at an academic level. There are two general education English classes that are required of freshman and sophomore students and only 1/3 of the students in those classes pass them. It isn’t just ECSU students that are struggling. A quick search in Google Scholar for academic literacy issues brings up a myriad of articles and books on the subject.

So how do we address the students’ preferences while still ensuring a certain level of competency and resource credibility? Online research guides. Many libraries use Libguides by Springshare and ECSU is no exception. They are versatile, user-friendly and offer the ability to customize to match a school’s webpage. Right now I am using the Music Library Libguide as my library webpage and a general guide to music resources.

However, I have noticed that the guide is not getting used as much as I would like, so I created a Music Libguide usability survey with a set of exercises for a work-study student to get some input for a re-design. Unfortunately, the student used the guide to find a link to the library online databases and quickly left the guide and never returned. In the real world, that would be considered successful because the student used the guide to find what they were looking for, but it didn’t give me the feedback I needed to improve the guide. She did mention that her first instinct was to use the search box for the guide, which got her to the database link, as opposed to showing resources on the composer I asked her to look for in the survey. This tells me that I need to break down the guide into more sections. I am also in the process of compiling a list of Libguide best practices, which I will post about soon.

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