Play Your Cards Right! The Role Of Meaningful Play In Teaching Information Literacy To First-year Students

Students might believe they are experts at seeking and accessing information but in fact may be amateurs at selecting appropriate sources for their academic work. And detailed written or oral instructions may not be powerful enough teaching tools to engage students in the process of learning to think critically about matching their information needs with appropriate sources or products.

One alternative is to use games to enhance student learning and encourage undergraduates to strengthen their information literate abilities. Games cannot only be fun to play but can also offer the opportunity for players to connect actions with outcomes and overall game experience.

Based upon theoretical approaches to meaningful play and information literacy (IL), including the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, we have developed Sources, a card game designed to teach students the connection between source choices and success in various academic contexts. Integrated into an IL program that includes in-class presentations and discussion, the "card table" becomes an interactive learning space where students explore and apply the threshold concept "information creation as a process."

This program is relevant to academic teaching because it advances an innovative teaching practice that can transform student learning. More specifically, it presents a strategy for engaging students in information literacy skills in a way that is scalable and sustainable. Participants in this interactive workshop will be introduced to key concepts in meaningful play and game design and the results of a pilot project at a Canadian academic library. In particular, we will discuss the purpose of the project, the design of the game and the results of the initial uses of the game in several undergraduate classrooms. In addition, we will lead participants in a round of the game.

Overall, participants will have an opportunity to learn how librarians and other educators can integrate games into IL sessions in order to engage students in understanding the value of academic information and the scholarly conversation.

Learning outcomes/take-aways

Participants will recall:

Duration of the session: 1.5 hours

Minimum number of participants: 8

Maximum number of participants: 24