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Play your cards right! Designing game-based information literacy

Game-based learning has been around since the beginning of time … don’t you think? As kids, we learn by playing and as adults we can find ourselves engaged in team building exercises that involve a game of some sort, even if it’s a simple as a “meet and greet,” where we have a short conversation with someone in our workplace we don’t know well.

With the advent of video games, educators seem to be discovering new ways to think (or rethink) about games and learning—like “levelling up” or quests—in efforts to engage a new generation of students.

Library staff are participating in this recent wave of game-based learning exploration. We can find a plethora of library guides online, articles about gamification in our professional literature and board, tile and video games in our collections. We can also find games that library staff have created as teaching tools.

Why are library folks “into” games? I’d hazard to guess that not only do library professionals recognize that supporting game collections, and game-based learning, reflects our core library values of access to information. But these activities could also reflect our recognition that we are educators and involved in teaching and learning, but also the simple fact games can be fun.

In this podcast, Play your cards right!, listen in as three library staff from the Carleton University Library, describe their experiences with remixing and remashing a card game that is designed to engage first-year students in information seeking–and specifically in evaluating information and choosing the right sources for their assignments.

Based on U.K. librarians Andrew Walsh and Tanya Williamson’s game Sources, Martha Attridge Bufton, Colin Harkness and Ryan Tucci, have been designing, testing and refining their own card game since 2016. Last summer, they took their show on the road to the Irish Game-Based Learning Conference in Cork City, Ireland—an opportunity that served up wonderful conversations with game designers from around the world (and lush green scenery, as captured by this view from the bridge leading into University College Cork).

Plus, check out their version of the game along with their conference presentation and instructional video, which is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Play your cards right! (Podcast transcript)

Produced by Martha Attridge Bufton, Colin Harkness and Ryan Tucci

Image credits: Martha Attridge Bufton (photo), Ryan Tucci (cards)

Soundtrack credit: Pinniped, The Road to Lisdoonvarna & Scollay’s, from Demo 2016
                                License: Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported)

Martha Attridge Bufton is the editor-in-chief of Open Shelf and the teaching and librarian librarian at the Carleton University Library.

Colin Harkness, Gifts Coordinator, works at the MacOdrum Library at Carleton University. He has been in the book business for the better part of 33 years.

Ryan Tucci has a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University and currently works at the Carleton University Library as a reserves technician. He is an Open Shelf digital editor.


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