How do librarians build creativity into information literacy (IL) and keep students engaged so that they learn and retain valuable, transferable IL skills? As teaching librarians, we should be exploring whether there are more creative IL teaching approaches that we can adopt in order to foster effective teaching and engagement, and to cultivate more opportunities for creative thinking about information-seeking concepts amongst students. Teaching librarians want to empower students with lifelong research skills, in a context where many higher education students are becoming more disengaged. Facilitating creativity and innovation is also now expected in the educational setting (Barrett and Donnelly, 2008).
In this chapter, some dimensions of educational games will be explored. New game ideas, specifically designed for face-to-face IL sessions, will be presented, with an illustration showing games used with Irish nursing and midwifery students. Finally, the chapter will explore Library 2.0 and 3.0 initiatives that may assist teaching librarians to encourage the widespread adoption of IL games.
The objective of this chapter is to prompt more teaching librarians to:• become IL games advocates• consider creating their own customized games for IL• share and evolve their games and game-design skills for IL face-to-face sessions or smart learning environments, with the help of Library 2.0 and 3.0 initiatives• use games to become leading innovative practitioners in higher educationand thus promote the value and expertise of librarians.
Games as educational treatments in IL
This section will cover how games treat disengagement, trigger creativity and innovative thinking, cultivate effective learning and provide inherent benefits and retention and knowledge transfer properties. It will also detail some of the challenges in using games and the overall benefits of games for librarians and libraries.
Games treat disengagement
Librarians involved in IL delivery look to best practice in education so as to draw on pedagogical tools and solutions appropriate for IL. Student disengagement is a growing challenge in higher education generally, and with IL in particular. The new generation of students is characterized as having low boredom thresholds (Fink, 2003) and there is evidence that some lectures are ineffective, especially for these learners (Smith, 2007). As Barrett and Donnelly (2008) state: ‘Pedagogy should be focused on arousing student imagination and engagement.’ Games that have an educational intent provide a platform for active learning, where students can discover IL concepts in an engaging way.