Report on “Play, Games and Information Literacy” workshop

Allison JonesAllison Jones, Subject Librarian at UWTSD Carmarthen, has kindly provided a report on the "Play, Games and Information Literacy” workshop, sponsored by the CILIP Information Literacy Group, that took place in Leeds on Monday, November 23rd, 2015.

Always keen to learn new skills and spice up my information literacy sessions, I booked onto the “Play, Games and Information Literacy” workshop organised and facilitated by Andy Walsh, which was FREE to CILIP IL Group members.

I feared that the huge ‘bowls’ of coffee offered before the course were there to keep us awake during the copyright session but, if that was their intention, it was not needed.  Following a short introduction by Andy Walsh on the benefits of IL Group membership and an introduction to kinaesthetic learning, we were divided up into teams to see first-hand how games are engaging, fun and an amazing learning tool.

copyright cards
Copyright, the Card Game

The first session was delivered by Chris Morrison and Jane Secker. ‘Copyright, the Card Game’ is an open educational game resource designed to train educators (as well as information / e-learning professionals in HE and other educational institutions) in UK copyright law, with emphasis on the educational copyright exceptions in 2014.

Each group was given a deck of cards that had been specifically created for the game. Scenarios were given and each group had to decide which cards were applicable for the given situation.  The game was entertaining, informative and interesting.  I learnt how interacting with other team members, and pooling together our knowledge was a very clever way to learn.  The instructions and cards are available for you to download free of charge.

Play, Games and IL facilitators
The workshop facilitators – (from left) Jane Secker, Andy Walsh, Susan Boyle and Chris Morrison

Following a light and enjoyable lunch, the second session of the day, entitled ‘IL Triage & Treatment Games – a visit to the Imagination Islands’, was delivered by Susan Boyle, College Liaison Librarian for Business and Law at University College Dublin (UCD).  Susan has successful introduced games into her support student programmes within the college of Nursing Midwifery and Health Systems at UCG, and readily imparted her knowledge and insight into how to successfully use games as a tool for learning.  As well as delivering an interesting and informative presentation, Susan allowed us an opportunity to work in groups to construct games for given scenarios.  This interactive session was filled with conversation and laughter as each group worked as a team to construct a suitable game.  It raised thought-provoking questions and suggestions. I personally found it useful and timely as I begin to reflect on how I can improve my IL instruction following first term madness.

lego horse
A Lego horse created by one of the participants

The final workshop of the day was a brief introduction by Andy Walsh to the Lego Serious Play methodology.  We were given Lego pieces and asked to produce models individually and finally as a group.  The idea behind the process is that hands-on learning, or actually play, breaks down barriers that are inadvertently put in place with verbal communication.  As we created our models, we had an opportunity to discuss and reflect on each ‘build’ within our group.  Although fun, this session became serious really quickly and very illuminating as relative strangers disclosed personal thoughts and feelings through their models. The following quote, wrongly attributed to Plato, says it all, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”  Given the right situation, Lego is certainly a tool I would use.

Each workshop cleverly created a tailored event that showcased how, when and why to use play and games in information skills.  Even now, as I reflect on the day, my learning continues and I raise a smile as I think of the fun we had.

Allison Jones, Subject Librarian, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen

Find out more about CILIP Information Literacy Group training events

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