I attempted to explore Minecraft using the iPad version and did not make much progress. My lack of game literacy was laid bare as I tapped away and tried to make sense of the game without any instructions. I felt somewhat inadequate knowing that young children all over the world knew so much more than I did about this game. I watched some tutorials but even they assumed a certain amount of knowledge. I wanted to call on my nieces for help but time was against me as work and study took up more of my time. My Minecraft lesson will have to wait a few more weeks.
The following video looks at how Minecraft can be used in education.
The negative aspects of video games have tended to dominate popular media reports over the years with video games blamed for violence, obesity, injuries, addiction and aggressive behaviour in young people (Bourgonjon, 2011). Such media messages are hard for parents to ignore and are similar to the moral panic caused by the introduction of television. It is not surprising that some parents are dubious about game based learning being used in schools.
I agree with Bourgonjon (2011) that involving parents in the implementation of game based learning would be advantageous and help to address parental concerns. Strategies could include:
Parent information evening
Game workshops for parents
Documenting game based learning with photographs and videos and communicating them through the school’s social media channels and/or newsletters
Game based learning section on the school website or learning management system
Teachers may also share some negative opinions of game based learning. Strategies to overcome these could include:
Observing other teachers using game based learning
Disseminating literature and research about game based learning
Sharing videos of teachers in other schools using game based learning
Good communication with all members of the school community is vital when introducing any new pedagogical approach.
I studied Psychology as part of my undergraduate degree so I was drawn to the readings on game and player types. In 1996 Bartle recognised that not all players are the same and devised a taxonomy of player types. This video explains his theory.
Retrieved from https://youtu.be/yxpW2ltDNow
Westwood & Griffiths (2010) describe six types of gamers and infer that they prefer certain types of games.
Created by K. Malbon
Player types serve as a guide for game designers in developing games but they can also be of use to educators. Educators need to be aware that just as students like different genres of books and movies, they may prefer certain genres of games. This has implications for game based learning because one game will not necessarily motivate or engage every student. It also highlights how difficult it is to design educational games to meet pedagogical goals. Such challenges were evident in the study by Markey & Leeder (2011) where a game was built to teach information literacy concepts.
Westwood, D., & Griffiths, M. D. (2010). The Role of Structural Characteristics in Video-Game Play Motivation: A Q-Methodology Study. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 13(5), 581-585. doi:10.1089/cyber.2009.0361
When I began this subject my knowledge of game based learning was very limited. I was not an active player and was mostly oblivious to the complexities of games, gaming culture and educational use of games. I think other teacher librarians may also be in the same situation. My chapter proposal reflects my own need to learn more about game based learning in school libraries and I feel it could be of value to others in the profession too.
Title: Game based learning in secondary school libraries: Getting teacher librarians on board
School libraries are a communal space where students can read, study, research, discuss, use technology and socialise. Secondary school libraries provide access to a variety of print, digital and multimedia resources to support the curriculum and recreational needs of students and staff. Access to a range of multimodal resources promotes and develops multiliteracies (O’Connell, 2012). Traditional games have been used in school libraries for a long time and are recognised as instructional media (Elkins, 2015). Digital games have not always been embraced as enthusiastically due to negative perceptions by teacher librarians, parents and school administration however this is starting to change. Recent research on game based learning (GBL) notes the positive effects games have on learning and the promotion of twenty-first century skills (Qian & Clark, 2016). School libraries that restrict particular technology, such as digital games are at risk of alienating students that are exposed to diverse learning opportunities outside of school. Teacher librarians who are willing to learn about and incorporate GBL into the school library have the opportunity to meet the diverse learning and social needs of their students (Elkins, 2015).
perception of game based learning (GBL) amongst teacher librarians
exploration of any negative views held about GBL
school libraries’ role in providing access to multimodal resources to support the curriculum and recreational needs of students and staff
school library as a social place
positive features of GBL for literacy and general capabilities (twenty-first century skills)
ways in which GBL could be implemented in secondary school libraries
barriers that may be encountered and possible suggestions for overcoming them
professional learning required by teacher librarians to support GBL in libraries
Elkins, A. J. (2015). LETS PLAY! Knowledge Quest, 43(5), 58-63.
O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: school libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, 26(1), 4-7.