This is the first post in a three part series about how I used gamification to teach/reinforce research skills in the library. This post will cover how I began, the process for gamification, and some additional sources on game-based learning and gamification. Part 2 will cover the actual creation of the games (a digital breakout and a traditional board game). Part 3 will cover how it went along with my reflections from the experience.
I had two teachers (7th grade Social Studies and 8th grade English) recently approach me about teaching research at the beginning of two different projects. The 7th graders were doing a unit on World Religions and the kids were going to create a poster/infographic with the information they found. The 8th graders were starting a unit on persuasion. They had already come in for an overview of using the library databases and the library website. They were getting ready to find sources on their own now.
For both of these units, I knew I wanted to do something besides just lecture and showing websites/sources. They each had different end goals, especially considering the fact that the 7th graders were using sources we had already given them. Their instruction needed to focus on utilizing those sources and creating citations. The 8th graders were going to be searching on their own, so they needed to know how to evaluate the information they found.
I decided to do a gamification of the information. For the 7th grades I wanted to create a traditional board game. For the 8th graders I wanted to have a digital breakout or escape room. With this in mind, I started searching for other sources/teachers/examples. The hardest thing about gamification or creating game-based learning opportunities in understanding how it is going to look at the end. This is definitely a time where you need to plan out what you want and work backwards.
Some sources to consider:
How to Gamify Your Classroom
How to be as entertaining as a video game
The Ultimate Guide to Gamification
Digital Breakout Templates