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).

IMG_20161002_140838

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.

20170413_104456

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.

20170413_105940

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!

20170413_145645

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/

Advertisements

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.

lisdis

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.

elephant

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

LISDIS 2015

Thanks FLIP Network for sharing your LISDIS 2015 summary. I was unable to attend LISDIS so this summary was really useful. I really hope it runs again next year as it sounds like it was a really good day. Check it out! 🙂

Future Library and Information Professionals Network

On 14th November, the FLIP team joined many other LIS students and professionals for the first LIS Dissertation conference (LISDIS). The conference was organised in order to showcase the breadth of LIS research done at masters level. There were nine presentations from recent LIS graduates across the day, grouped according to themes as well as a guest presentation from Emma Coonan, editor of the Journal of Information Literacy. Below we’ve summarised details from these presentations, followed by our overall thoughts from the day.

Part 1 – Collections and Discovery

The first presentation was from Sarah Hume discussing her research into classifying women’s studies collections. This was particularly interesting as it highlighted some of the more problematic elements of classification schemes. With most classification schemes having been developed predominantly by men from western cultures a significantly long time age, diverse identities are not always well represented as classification schemes have not…

View original post 1,615 more words

Thing 15: Advocacy for Libraries

I genuinely believe public libraries exist for the good of the people and they deserve to be bragged about. I am going to be telling you about some of the things that I think are great about public libraries but I am also going to tell you some things that are not so great.

Who am I kidding, public libraries are great. What’s not so great is the fact that we have to actually speak up for libraries in the first place, defend them and justify their existence and relevance. The way the media portrays libraries also doesn’t help the situation but of course they wouldn’t have any attention grabbing news stories if they simply reported on the fantastic, everyday occurrences that take place in libraries. Instead headlines such as ‘UK libraries out of use by 2020’ grab the readers… The positive stories that come out of libraries just don’t make the news. The negative stories in the news are actually quite dangerous! They suggest our libraries are riddled with underachievement, failures and underperformance which absolutely contradicts what library staff are doing on the ground. It is unfair to make these assumptions and to share them in the news where everybody believes what they read. Library staff make positive contributions to members of society every day and stories such as these are simply untrue. Utter garbage actually! With the advent of the internet and popularity of e-resources libraries have been deemed to be “no longer relevant”. If you agree with Terry Deary, then you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about (to put it politely).

See below for short videos from the three libraries that have been shortlisted for the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award

Libraries provide vital services to people from all walks of life under the convenience of one roof. They offer a sense of community, they are nice places to spend time, they encourage you to learn, provide endless amounts of information, free to use books and e-books, parents don’t have to face the daunting homework task alone, local history, family history, language support, book groups, supporting businesses, teaching people how to research and make informed decisions, helping people find legal information, getting people online, boosting people’s confidence, encouraging reading, supporting the elderly… what’s not to like?

Nick Poole puts it best “public libraries provide everyone with opportunities for learning and inspiration. They help people find work and set up their own business. Libraries are places where children and young people discover the joys of reading, learn new skills like coding and get help with their homework. They tackle social exclusion and isolation. They improve health and wellbeing and help people get online. Everyone is welcome and the space belongs to the public, which is increasingly rare in our communities.” (Nick Poole, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals)

Around 15% of Brits do not have access to the internet at home. Can you think of a place where they can go to use the internet for free and get support in doing so? Even if people do have access to the internet at home, it doesn’t mean necessarily mean they know how to use it. I’ve recently been volunteering in my local public library offering IT taster sessions and it really has opened my eyes to what libraries can offer people and how important they actually are.

Libraries mean a lot to people; they did in the past and they still do today. Check out the Library Stories project for examples of what Sheffield libraries mean to the people http://www.librarystories.co.uk/ and I challenge you to not get emotional! What a great project for library advocacy! They’re on Twitter too https://twitter.com/library_stories

http://www.librarystories.co.uk/present/

http://www.librarystories.co.uk/past/

I really liked the Voices for the Library campaign! Some interesting info here about library closures and what you can do about them http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/campaigns/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-library-closurescampaigns/

P.S. *PREACH* If you don’t have a library card, you need to get one! 🙂  If you really want to be a library advocate, use your library! *PREACH*

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

Augmented Reality: Making Libraries Cool

This is one of the things I’ve been most looking forward to because it just seems so sci-fi to me! It’s SO cool! 🙂

HAPPY BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY!  renatodantasc - https://www.flickr.com/photos/57212277@N03/

HAPPY BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY!
renatodantasc – https://www.flickr.com/photos/57212277@N03/

Of course, libraries don’t need augmented reality (AR) to be cool… But if done right, AR could be a really interesting library project and it would be a fun way to host library inductions. Most library inductions involve talking to people and telling them things, showing people around the library and/or handing out maps etc and this isn’t exactly the most thrilling of activities… It usually involves a lecture with some slides on what the library has on offer. Letting students explore and find things for themselves is a good way to keep them engaged and to keep things fun. You can do this in a traditional method such as giving them a map to follow and doing a library treasure hunt etc.

I will be involved in developing library inductions next year and I am really wanting to try something different and this could be it! Having an interesting and engaging library induction sets the tone for the rest of the year: especially if the induction shows the library to be a modern place that uses fun and interesting technologies.  A lot of students have mobile devices and we have 8 tablets in the library that we could use so hopefully having the devices shouldn’t be a problem.

We could partner with teachers and people from drama/ media/ TV production type courses to help us create original content to use as the overlays for our real world images/ auras in Aurasma. Getting students to talk about the resources we have and the things in the library that they are interested in could really help to make the content interesting and relevant to the students. I am so excited to be working in a library that has a fiction section and I think AR and book trailers could be something we could look into as well.

I’ve had a play around with Aurasma and there is so much potential! I tried to upload some historical speeches but it wasn’t in the correct format and it was really difficult finding the stuff to download in the first place. The aura I’ve attempted to create is a bit rubbish and I’ve reused the video I did for Thing 9 and I’ve made it public but I can’t seem to view it in the app (angry Amy). My username is as original as ever: amyward2009. Let me know if you have any luck viewing it and I will keep working on it.

I like the idea of uploading videos but I don’t know if there is a way to upload video URLs? It seems that it is more useful for original content. I am a little bit worried about using content I have found online but there is so much good stuff out there! Any advice?

Either way on my next evening shift I am going to have a play around in the library with Aurasma and Layar and I am going to do some more research into AR and how to develop a project from the library I work in. I think the students and my manager will love it!

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

Three Centuries of the Written Word

Check out my thoughts on the Chetham’s Library Tour on NLPN’s Blog

NLPN

Chetham’s Library Tour 8th August 2015

I would like to thank the NLPN for organising the Chetham’s Library tour which took place on Saturday in Manchester. There was a great turnout, the weather was lovely and the library was beautiful. I think I can speak for everyone when I say it was a fantastic afternoon and the organisers and the tour guide, Kathy did a great job.

I have walked past Chetham’s Library so many times but have never taken the time to go in. I am disappointed with myself because it is a treasure that isn’t even that well-hidden. It is right in the centre of Manchester, just a two minute walk from Manchester Victoria Station and across from the National Football Museum. I can’t believe I visited the National Football Museum before I ever thought to visit Chetham’s Library; libraries are way better than Football.

The building…

View original post 657 more words

RRN Emergency Kit Training Day 9th June

Yesterday I attended the Rapid Response Network familiarisation and training day in Saltaire with two colleagues from the library and I had a great day. It was lovely to get out of Bradford and visit sunny Saltaire and we were a little bit too impressed with the fancy trains running out of Bradford Forster Square station. We’re used to travelling on trains that have come straight out of the 1980s. However we weren’t on a trainspotting day out so we quickly curbed our excitement.

The purpose of the day was to familiarise ourselves with the emergency kit provided by the Rapid Response Network in the event of an emergency. (http://www.rapidresponsenetwork.org.uk/index.htm )

The RRN is a network of heritage organisations with collections in the region providing information and resources which aim to improve preparedness and emergency planning in the archives/ libraries/ museums sector. For a modest subscription fee they provide training opportunities and access to emergency disaster equipment which would be absolutely invaluable if a disaster occurred in your organisation. They also have a network of people who can be called upon to assist if the worst did happen.

The range of equipment you would probably need should you be hit by a fire or a flood is massive. In order to be safe and to make sure the collections can be salvaged and removed safely, you need boxes and boxes of equipment ranging from standard health and safety equipment such as gloves, waterproofs, dust masks, hi-vis vests, wellies, helmets etc to salvage equipment; polythene sheets, plastic crates, bubblewrap, blotting paper, paper towels, freezer bags, trolleys, heavy duty plastic, tools, all of which would cost a fortune should you not have access to them. There are other things in the equipment boxes which you might not immediately think about during an emergency such as clipboards, pens, headlamps and batteries! They can also offer free access to expensive but really useful in an emergency pieces of equipment such as a generator, a gazebo, water pumps and vacuums.

We were able to see a makeshift disaster site for ourselves and have a go at salvaging materials (no museum items were harmed during the making of this).

20150609_111144

Please excuse the terrible photography: Here we have our mini disaster which is a flooded area where a wide range of materials have been affected (magazines, books, photographs, costumes, rocks etc…)

We were split into 2 teams. One team were tasked with recovering the materials from the flood and dealing with the flood zone and the other team were attempting to treat and salvage the materials. The biggest problem I found was that it was so easy just to dive in (pun not intended) and start unpacking the materials. You feel a dire sense of urgency when what could possibly be an invalubale item has been damaged. Without the correct knowledge on how to deal with different types of materials such as textiles, books, photographs and paintings you could end up doing more harm than good. I would like to learn more on how to deal with individual materials because I had no prior experience in handling damaged photographs and costumes. You definitely need a plan in place before you do anything and take lots and lots of photographs! You need to triage the damaged stock and prioritise what you are going to save first and this requires excellent communication between all parties involved in the disaster response team. We noticed early on that the teams were working in isolation, we weren’t communicating with each other and we didn’t have a plan and this would not be helpful in an emergency. We thought this was possibly because these items were not part of our own collections and we didn’t fully understand what we were working with therefore we were unable to fully prioritise our workload.

20150609_122253

Here are our attempts at salvaging a costume and spats. The costume would have definitelty required extensive restoration as black dye had bled all over it 😦 Horrible!

20150609_123935

Drying out our sodden photographs and grouping like with like. Never touch the front surface and don’t allow the surface to come into contact with another surface!

20150609_123946

Here is our wind tunnel for drying out wet books – thanks Martin and Katherine!

The crucial bits of information I took away with me were;

  1. Do not panic and don’t rush into it – if your collection has been flooded it’s already happened and damage will have already occurred and you do not want to make it worse by rushing into it without a plan.
  2. Have a plan and communicate – you need a proper emergency plan in place and you need someone who can communicate with all of the disaster team to make sure everyone is working together and knows what they are doing.

Finally, I hope that all of the disaster equipment stays firmly in the stores and that no one should need it because a disaster of any magnitude would be horrendous for all involved. However, it’s good practice to be prepared and knowing this network exists means that all of our collections can be a little bit safer.