Library. Sarah Pavey, College Librarian. Information Literacy Games for Schools. Frequently the librarian is placed in the position of a supply teacher.
Sarah Pavey, College Librarian
Information Literacy Games for Schools
Frequently the librarian is placed in the position of a supply teacher.
“one of the most distinctive features of the teaching undertaken by information professionals is that we most often work with strangers, running one-off and impromptu sessions”.
Webb, J. & Powis, C. (2005) Start With the Learner CILIP Update
It can be difficult to keep pupils focussed when teaching Information Literacy
Most secondary school libraries use the Dewey system for non-fiction stock. Teaching Dewey has to be an essential part of any information literacy program in our school because without this knowledge pupils would find it difficult to use the catalogue and find resources they require. However, it is perhaps not the most exciting of topics . Traditional quiz based approaches require checking of stock prior to the lesson and need preparation. The amount of time spent on this subject I feel should not dominate the lesson when time is at a premium.
Using a Smartboard
This is a simple PowerPoint guessing game. The aim is to teach the basic categories of Dewey in less than 5 minutes such that the knowledge is retained. Click to reveal the number, click again for a picture clue.
If time allows a longer interactive game can be played to introduce the Dewey system. This takes a minimum of 10 minutes but can be extended ad infinitum. The Dewey System is represented by “The Office of Information” a 10 storey tower block. One pupil or more may be chosen as an enquirer visiting the office and given a bowler hat, briefcase and umbrella.
Ten further pupils are chosen to be custodians of the 10 floors. Each is given a humorous label with the Dewey number representing the floor of which they are in charge.
000 "I'm A Know All"
100 "I Think Therefore I Am" 500 "I'm a Boffin"
200 "I Just Pray I'm Right" 600 "I Pinch 500's Ideas"
300 "I'm VERY Sociable" 700 "I Never Do Any Real Work"
400 "I'm A Babel Fish" 800 "Head Stuck In A Book"
At Epsom College I sent our enquirer to the office to ask about “elephants”. The “receptionist” pupil told him to go to floor 5. The “science” pupil in charge of this floor directed him to room 599. The “Mammals” pupil here referred him to desk 61 where our custodian wore an elephant mask!
If time allows I feel this exercise is more effective than the Smartboard approach because it shows how the numbers are constructed as well as introducing the general subject categories.
Nowadays the issue of plagiarism is increasingly important not just for sixthformers but to younger pupils as well, who may be required to submit coursework for GCSEs. I felt it was important to devise a game that had visual impact, allowed pupil participation and maybe would provoke debate outside the classroom.
Jail or Freedom
This involves a PowerPoint presentation on a Smartboard. My exercise comprises three scenarios but more could be used.
Cut & Paste from Internet with no bibliography or citation
Copied work from a friend but did not acknowledge friend’s work
Cut & paste from Internet and mixed up original paragraphs.
Changed a few words at random
Added correct citations in a bibliography
Asked teacher & librarian for help with finding resources
Asked for advice on how to cite these resources for inclusion in a bibliography
HALF AN HOUR IN THE LIBRARY
A game that is quick with little preparation needed
A game that allows pupils to see and touch all the resources in Library
A game to encourage lateral thinking
A game that can answer........
WHAT’S IN THE
IS IT OK TO TOUCH THE RESOURCES??
WHERE ARE THE RESOURCES ON………..???
CAN I ASK THE LIBRARY STAFF QUESTIONS???
IS IT OK TO HAVE MY OWN OPINIONS???
Younger pupils ask for FACTUAL information
Sixth Form asked to find ABSTRACT information
Pupils in the class were divided into pairs and encouraged to discuss and debate their findings. Use of the library catalogue was banned for the exercise, as I wanted participants to find the resources on the shelves and touch them.
Each pair of pupils was given an answer sheet on which was marked a word. Younger pupils had factual words such as “animals” “transport” “music” etc and the sixth form sheets had conceptual words eg “poverty” “strength” “choice”. It was explained to the sixth form that they would have to search for underlying facts supporting their concepts. The columns on the sheet were labelled “shelf heading – already filled in” “title” and “Dewey Number”. For each shelf heading the pairs were required to find a resource that somehow related to their word.
Some stimulating debates and interesting lateral thinking was commonplace during the exercise.
Most pupils remained on task throughout the time period. Examples include:
“We could use “Mutiny on the Bounty””(FOOD)
“Shall we use “Oliver Twist”?
No he wasn’t vulnerable he was streetwise !” (VULNERABILITY)
“Can we use “The Loop” for SPACE because a loop has a space inside it?” (SPACE)
“How can you say we can use “The Good Beer Guide”?
Because vain people are worried about body image and if they drink a lot of beer they will get fat” (VANITY)
“Hey ! I’ve found a book by Bertrand Russell (ANIMALS)
Oh we could use that too” (TREES)
At the end of the exercise there was a short discussion about how easy it had been to find the information and what they had gained from the exercise.
From other librarians who have used the Epsom College Game....
“I used it with our Year 9 group in groups of two, using topics such as communication, countries, transport, clothing and buildings, on Friday afternoon. Despite being the last lesson of the day (the graveyard slot!) most were quite keen and several had a good stab at filling in the form.
Harry Potter was a favourite theme (broomsticks - transport, owls -
communication). The exercise got them thinking, it alerted them to where
things are in the LRC and also underlined that you don't go to one place
for your info. Feedback was that they enjoyed doing it - however some
evidently found it more difficult than others. Will definitely use it again.”
“I thought the Library Game was excellent. It was simple and fun yet fulfilled it's educational objective. It certainly made me think! I think an induction is essential for students to be able to get the best out of the library and it's resources as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
“I found it quite difficult as our word was greed and there is a thin line between just trying to make a living etc and actual greed.
The fact that it was difficult was not a bad thing as it did show how difficult it can be for pupils to find material if the instructions are rather vague. This is why I feel it will be good for the staff to do.”
“I think it's a great invention because pupils are encouraged to
think about a whole range of issues, rather than in "curriculum boxes".
Sadly, from experience, librarians and to an extent Directors of studies
are the only people in schools who do this - the majority of teaching
staff are happy to stay in their own little isolated curriculum area, and
not make connections with other subjects.”
Given the often limited amount of time available to engage pupils in concepts of information literacy, games are an ideal way to deliver the valuable messages for lifelong learning. However the time taken to play the game should be kept in proportion to the value of the information being given. A creative, “hands on” inclusive approach will often help pupils remember the salient points of the exercise.