Escape Rooms for Education

Today I attended a really good workshop held at Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield and it was all about creating educational escape rooms. Andrew Walsh hosted the workshop and he is a librarian at Hudds and he specialises in using games in education and information literacy instruction.

If you have never been to an escape room you should try it! If you’re unsure what they are they are basically a themed room or set of rooms set with a story e.g a hospital, zombie apocalypse safehouse, library, haunted house etc and you have to solve a series of puzzles to be released, saved etc. I have only ever been to one escape room; Break Out in Manchester and we almost escaped their Crimson Lake Motel room (we had ONE puzzle left to solve arghhh).

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The “I nearly broke out” board of shame!

Educational escape rooms are an amazing concept, especially in Library teaching as some of the topics can be a little…. dry? I’m working on improving my teaching and I’ve recently been on training days and courses including a week long residential course for my level 3 Award in Education and Training – I would really recommend this for any new librarians by the way. I am soon going to be planning next year’s inductions and teaching so I now have so many ideas that I’d like to try with my students. Escape rooms are so much fun and I’m definitely going to be incorporating them into my teaching.

The session was workshop based and we went through all of the different stages of developing an educational escape room. We thought about all of the educational benefits of play and considered its place in HE/FE teaching. Andrew gave us a little comic strip which highlighted many of these reasons and it contained a handy reference list of items that I am interested in reading.

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Important attributes of ‘play’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then had to decide on some SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-limited) learning objectives which were to be the groundwork of our game.

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We decided to run our session on revision as it’s coming up to exam season.

We then had to consider the key constraints. We all considered our own places of work and came up with a variety of things including time limitations, limited student attention span (sorry, students), environment, timetabling, room availability, staffing, equipment, budget 😦 So, in the end, we planned our escape room with no budget but it turns out you can actually do a lot with little or no money which is great but I am going to try and purchase a few padlocks and UV pens. We then had to choose a theme and a narrative which tied in with our learning objectives. Having a good theme and narrative is essential for any successful escape room.

Our escape room idea: Teenager’s bedroom

Narrative: You are a student who has been grounded because you are behind on your revision. If you want to go out with your friends you will have to solve a series of puzzles which relate to 5 revision related themes; study space, note-taking, memorising, model answers, timetabling.

We then spent the rest of the day considering the structure of the puzzles and developing and sharing our prototypes. We came up with some amazing puzzles if I do say so myself – they involved UV pens, maths puzzles, jigsaws and a good old book cipher!

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If we can do this in an afternoon then I think I could definitely plan some epic escape room library inductions for next term! Andrew was fantastic as always. We have all been given an escape rooms workbook which contains the step-by-step development process, tips and puzzle ideas. I believe he will be publishing this at some point so keep your eyes peeled – it’s a must have!

http://innovativelibraries.org.uk/

LISDIS Conference 2016

 

I recently attended the LISDIS Conference which was hosted at University College London. @LISDISConf is a conference where recent graduates can showcase their Library and Information Science dissertation projects.

I was unable to attend the first conference which was held up north last year and was very lucky to have been awarded a travel bursary which was kindly offered by LISDIS and their sponsors (thank you). It is rare that I can afford to get down to London so this was a fantastic opportunity and I appreciate being offered the bursary, especially since I am starting to think about dissertation topics.

I would recommend this conference to all LIS students because it has given me so much to think about and listening to the experiences and advice from graduates is so helpful when you are about to go through the same thing. It seems most people are at either end of the dissertation spectrum: you either have too many dissertation topic ideas or too few. I have been compiling a list over the last year and this list is getting VERY long… On the one hand it feels good to already have ideas but on the other the ideas are way too broad and vague at the moment to be of any use to anyone.

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My ridiculous list of vague and random dissertation ideas inspired by conferences, my uni modules, Twitter, blogs and my reading. I don’t do my dissertation until next academic year… 

Jane Morgan Daniel and Megan Dyson both did their dissertations on topics related to their workplace and this is something that I am now seriously considering because of the easy availability of research data from usage stats, library users and organisation staff etc. I also want to make a real impact in my place of work with research as I feel it will keep me motivated and engaged with my topic. I will definitely take Jane and Megan’s advice on board if I do decide to do my dissertation about my workplace. I will ensure the research question is very narrow and focused, I will attempt to leave plenty of time to traverse the “minefield” that is data collection; especially when looking at usage stats and I will not underestimate the time it takes to conduct the literature review.

As well as gaining many ideas and useful tips from the presenters it was fascinating to hear about all of the fantastic research that has been done.It is so inspiring to hear about the outcomes of the work that people have put so much effort and time into. This is why LISDIS is such an amazing conference concept and it is so much more amazing that it is free! Librarians are awesome!

This is the conference program for the day:

Information and Data
Jane Morgan Daniel: The information needs of Occupational Therapy students

James Atkinson: A Library Love Triangle? An analysis of the relationship between data, information and knowledge in Library and Information Studies

Linking with our users
Helena Byrne: Connecting to the past through the Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football oral history project: Developing a resource guide and the physical exhibition for Drogheda Local Voices
Megan Dyson: The Hybrid Music Library: User format preferences at Leeds College of Music Library
Dilyana Ducheva: RDA implementation: the new cataloguing standard in Europe
Lunch and Library Tour
Parallel session – Emma Coonan on publishing in LIS journals
Challenging Ideas within LIS
Diana Hackett: An elephant in the room: information literacy in the narrative of UK public libraries
Katherine Quinn: Resisting Neoliberalism: the challenge of activist librarianship in the UK HE context

My favourite talk of the day was Diana Hackett’s presentation on information literacy in the narrative of UK public libraries.

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Her talk was especially pertinent as the National Libraries, Museums and Culture demo was taking place in London on the same day as the conference and even though we were all unable to attend, I think it’s fair to say we were all there in spirit with those marching for @5thNovDemo!

Diana found that there is a lack of advocacy for the varied and meaningful ways in which the public library can help people with their information literacy skills. The narrative describes services and concepts such as ‘digital literacy’, ‘getting support’ and ‘signposting’ but does not actually tell people what this entails and paints the library as a passive organisation. There is a failure to communicate the many ways in which information literacy can improve people’s lives.

Diana also identified a gap in the LIS literature; no one seems to be researching info lit in public libraries and this made me wonder why? A few people have told me that I should be looking towards working in the HE library sector rather than public libraries because that’s where the jobs are, public library jobs are low paid, there’s no room for progression etc. If new library professionals are being dissuaded from joining the public library workforce and if people are not researching info lit in public libraries then how can we improve and champion our public libraries?

I am also now considering researching public libraries for my dissertation thanks to Diana and her excellent presentation. The final piece of advice that I have taken away from LISDIS is that I should study something that I love and care about because that’s what makes good research.

Peace.x

 

 

Here is my UKSG Conference Review which I wrote for FLIP

In April UKSG held thier 39th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Bournemouth. Amy Ward, a part time MA Librarianship student and Learning Facilitatior at Ashton Sixth Form College, reports back on the experience. You can find Amy on Twitter as @amywardz I attended a free event hosted by UKSG back in November 2015 and all […]

via UKSG Conference Report: Amy Ward — Future Library and Information Professionals Network

Long time, no blog…

Whooaaah this year is going fast. I don’t even know when I last blogged but it certainly wasn’t in 2016. A very belated happy new year to you! I am now in semester 2 at uni and have been working in my new job for 4 months. Here are some of my thoughts about my career in general at the moment…

  • Going all the way to Sheffield is a pain in the ar*e… literally. It’s SOOOOO far away and the amount of sitting down I have to do on uni days is almost unbearable. 2 hour train journey + 2 hour lecture + 2 hours lunching and studying + 3 hour lecture + 2 hour train journey = so much bum on seat time. I never knew how fidgety I was until this course began
  • I did very well on the technical Information Retrieval module and I don’t quite know how… it was so hard. The one thing I learnt was that IR systems are insane and those people that build them are wizards
  • Currently studying Public & Youth Libraries and Researching Social Media. I am designing a prison library (unlimited budget) at the moment and it’s really fun.
  • I’m a strapped for cash student once again and I have to work two jobs to stay afloat but I love it. Both my jobs are really really great. It’s so nice seeing all of the old regulars at the Polished Knob and it’s good to know that I am going to have something to do over the summer/ will be able to save some money.
  • My library job is very hard and sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing.
  • Working part-time is actually really difficult. My working week starts on a Wednesday so I always have a lot of catching up to do and sometimes feel out of the loop and snowed under by the things that have been happening whilst I was away. I rarely feel like I am on top of things but when I do get on top of things it feels like the greatest achievement ever. Seriously.
  • But I love my library job because it is challenging in a good way. I am learning something new every day and I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to work as a professional librarian so early on in my career. The team I work with are so helpful to me and I think we all work really well together.
  • Managing student’s behaviour is the hardest part. It would be a dream if I could just do all of the book and resource related tasks and not have to tell students to behave every second but alas… teenagers.  There should be some sort of module that deals with this on library courses because this is something that I find very challenging as I’ve never done it before.
  • They’re not all bad and some of them are really sweet and funny. They are the reason I am there and buying books and resources and helping them to access and use them really is the best part.
  • The worst part is when you show them a fantastic resource and when your back is turned, they simply reopen that Wikipedia page they had just been looking at… utterly devastated!
  • I may have lost that battle but I will not lose the infolit war  🙂
  • I won a raffle and I am going to the UKSG Conference in Bournemouth in April and I’m so excited 1) because I am going to a conference 2) because I’ve never been to Bournemouth 3) because it’s a mini holiday yay!

 

Toodles for now.