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/

Thing 13: Professional Organisations

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) 

As a new professional I think being a member of CILIP is really important because it is the leading, authoritative body which represents library professionals and aspiring library professionals. It is a good place to learn more about the library profession, professional values and ethics and library advocacy.

Anyone who is studying to become an information professional or anyone who is undertaking a graduate traineeship is entitled to free membership and it is definitely worth taking advantage of this. There is lots of information available about starting your career in libraries, salary guides and there is LISJOBSNET which is where I found my current position yay.

CILIP has a VLE which is for members and allows you to access learning materials, CPD resources and webinars. I watched a webinar on how to write a CV and it was great because it was aimed at information professionals. Most CV information out there is very generic and isn’t really all that helpful so this was great. Members also have access to the Impact Toolkit which helps librarians develop as professionals and provides resources on how to demonstrate impact in the workplace. There are loads of other resources such as your own personal portfolio which you can populate and there are template CVs and other things for you to use as well.

There is also the Professional Knowledge Skills Base (PKSB) which I have only looked at briefly but is an excellent resource. It brings together generic, technical and professional skills which can be used as a CPD/ self-assessment tool. I’m too busy with my new job and University work at the moment to look into this but I may look at it in more detail over the summer and when I am a qualified librarian (2 years).

Attending events is also another reason to sign up. I’ve attended a few free events now which I’ve seen on the CILIP website on in email newsletters. I was supposed to be going to the New Professional’s Day but I decided to give it a miss (I’ll go next year) because I was just starting a new job but my new employer is enthusiastic about me attending these kinds of events so being a member of CILIP is advantageous if you want to go to events and workshops.

I wrote a piece for a newsletter for the CILIP Yorkshire and Humberside and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ event. If you can write for CILIP or for one of the special interest groups or regional networks it is a really good opportunity and experience. Everyone has varied experiences and opinions and through CILIP people can share their thoughts and it is the best way to keep up to date with the profession and the changes that are happening all of the time.

The CILIP Update magazine is also an added bonus. It can be a really interesting read and I have it on the app that they have created which is really useful. I will be keeping my eye open for grants and bursary opportunities because I would love to get funding to go to a conference. That would be too amazing!

As a member of CILIP you are entitled to membership of two special interest groups and as I’ve just moved into FE, I have changed my membership to the Academic & Research Libraries Group and the Youth Libraries Group so I will hopefully be able to get more involved and learn lots from those two groups in the near future.

It is nice to be a member of a professional body; knowing that you are not alone and there are people out there to talk to and get advice from. The codes of professional practice and CILIP’s ethical principles provide librarians with a framework on how to conduct themselves and manage their responsibilities. I got a little tingle of happiness when I read them as I feel like I am part of something bigger and that all of the other librarians and myself can take on the world!

Flickr - Yassin Hassan http://bit.ly/1OFyEsK

Flickr – Yassin Hassan http://bit.ly/1OFyEsK

Rudai 23: Thing No 2

I am entering the final months of my graduate traineeship. Only two and a half months left to go and I can confirm that I still want to be a librarian, yipee! The 23 Things Collaboration has come at a good time. I am going to have a think about why I want to be a librarian and what I think librarianship is all about having experienced it first hand as a trainee.

There is the age old stereotype that librarians spend their days stamping books and shushing people which still stands firm today. If you could stop someone on the street and ask them what a librarian does, chances are their response will be something along those lines. Most people I speak to are surprised to learn that you need a postgraduate qualification to be a librarian… I’d like to see them have a go 🙂 

Being a librarian is about genuinely wanting to help people to learn for themselves, getting people to appreciate the value of information and knowledge and helping people to enrich and develop their own lives and society. As more and more people have access to the internet, information professionals become more important. People really do need help because even though many people think they are internet searching experts, chances are they aren’t.

I want to be a librarian because I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to leave the world of learning behind. I loved the library when I was a student, I enjoyed working in there and feeling like you’re part of a student community. Being involved with people who are trying to educate themselves sounds like a benefical and rewarding job to me.

I can also carry on with my own learning and development; how can you not when you are surrounded by so much information! Librarians have to continually learn and develop their skills and this is great because I never want to give up learning. A large part of being a librarian involves sharing best practices, developing professionally and being conscious of the ever changing world of information and technology. I want to be a little fountain of knowledge. Or at least know where to go to gather and spread some of that knowledge.

I wish I could say that I wanted to be a librarian since I was little but that’s not the case. I vaguely remember wanting to be a vet, an actress and a chef at some point but in all honesty I didn’t decide until after I graduated, and this was probably for the best, I’d be the worst actress ever. I had toyed with the idea of being a history teacher because it seemed like a more or less straightforward career move as a history graduate.

I also considered continuing my studies, possibly doing a History MA and being an academic but I hadn’t found my “thing”. To undertake the amount of research required to complete a PhD, I think you really have to be passionate about a topic and until I find that topic, I can’t even consider it. So that career path was out of the window.

I also considered being an archivist. I had an idealistic idea that I would be caring for old, crispy documents, rare books and never before seen treasures all day. I understood there was more to it than that and that but I needed to get some experience if I wanted to enter the profession.

I joined the Archives and Records Association and bagged myself a work placement in the University working on an oral history project. I worked in the Cinema and Television History Centre at De Montfort University on a project which involved transcribing interviews undertaken with women working in the TV and film industry during the 20th century to the present day. I started looking into MA courses and voluntary positions for when I graduated so I could get the work experience required for many of the courses. I got a position in my local library digitising photographic slides which the library had inherited from various council planning departments.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t continue with the work for very long as I had to get a full time job. So I joined the hoard of graduates working in the first position they are offered in order to pay the bills. I spent a year working in a local pub which was good, but it wasn’t what I had envisioned as an optimistic and enthusiastic graduate leaving university with my shiny new degree.

I was continually looking for graduate positions in which I could develop a career – any career. I thought I had struck gold when I got a “graduate” job at a car finance company where I worked as a customer service advisor. In all honesty I didn’t enjoy the work but I did excel in the position and was offered the opportunity to progress onto a different position within the company. My interview was looming when I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do as it just didn’t make me happy. I handed in my notice which was a crazy move considering I did not have a job to go to.

I had however applied for a position at the University of Bradford as a graduate trainee library assistant. When I first saw the opening I had the moment that all job seekers hope for… the moment you find a job that you know you would enjoy. I would love to be a librarian and thankfully this graduate traineeship has confirmed that I do want to be a librarian. After doing jobs which I didn’t enjoy, this really is the dream job.

It’s a cliché but I am a people person. Having dealt with customers since the age of 15 I don’t think I could ever work in an environment that wasn’t in some way customer/ user focused. It’s great to help people. Not serving them food and drinks or selling them car finance but giving them the ability to learn for themselves and find the information that librarians have worked hard to purchase and organise.

I wasn’t aware of the world of librarian networking, conferences and the variety of opportunities that are out there. I knew librarians didn’t just look after books but I hadn’t considered the variety of positions on offer to librarians; information officers, public librarians, knowledge officers, academic librarians, acquisitions librarians, e-resources librarians, NHS librarians, law librarians, corporate librarians, special collections librarians, embedded librarians, library managers, library directors, library systems librarians and so on.

From my course I am expecting to learn more unexpected and exciting things about the profession. I am hoping to develop a special interest in a particular area which I will be able to research in great depth and write about. It would be amazing to get an article published in a journal one day! I am interested in working in an academic library after I graduate. However, I am hoping to get more experience in different areas of the profession so who knows; I am willing to explore the world of librarianship.