Week 10 Play: Gamification

Design a plan for using gamification in a school library.

I think that gamification is something that could be used very effectively in school libraries, especially in primary schools, but also in high school or academic libraries.

Gamification could be used within a library in numerous ways. It could be used to raise awareness about the library itself- for example, games could be used to explain the Dewey decimal system or other library related topics, or the library and library resources could be used in order to play games associated with the current topics being taught in class.

For this purpose of this activity, I am going to base my model on a primary school library. The class will be in year seven, and will be learning about Ancient Egypt. A scenario will be developed in which the students will become archaeologists, who need to search for clues and answer questions in order to get reach a hidden treasure and therefore win the game.

Students would begin the game in groups of 3 or 4, selected randomly. Groups would be kept small in order to encourage a maximum level of participation by each group member, and the groups will be selected at random in order to encourage students to interact with people they may not usually speak with.

The game will need to be completed in a fairly large library, as otherwise groups could simply follow each other and the game would become pointless . Also, again in order to avoid this sort of problem, the groups would all begin the game at different random locations around the library, and ideally given separate sets of questions. Schools who do not have a large enough library for the activity to be practical could consider taking the class on a field trip to a larger library.

Each group would ideally have access to a tablet or other mobile device. An application would be set up on the device with a question related to Ancient Egypt, the answer to which will be found in a resource within the library, or perhaps even in multiple resources.

For example, a question included in the game might be: in what year was Tutankhamen’s tomb discovered?

Once the correct answer has been found, the students will be able to place the answer in a field, and then be given access to the next question. The game would proceed in this fashion until the students have answered all the questions correctly. Once the final question has been answered, the group will be given access to the secret location of the treasure (which would probably actually be chocolate). The first group to reach the treasure wins the game (although chocolate for everyone is recommended to avoid tears and hard feelings).

Although this game is designed to be fun and to encourage friendly competition, there is always a danger that less academically enthusiastic students may wish not to participate, since as noted on page two of this article, students who lack academic ability on the topic and may think that they have no chance of winning could decide not to participate properly. Another issue is access to the internet. Since the point of the exercise is essentially to find answers through using library resources, rather than using something like Wikipedia, access to sites such as this would have to somehow be restricted.

I’m not entirely sure how possible it would be to manage a game like this, but I was crazy about Ancient Egypt when I was in grade 7, so I probably would have loved it!

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