Love the Library: Make It a Game


Post by Lora Poser-Brown
ET
Squires, T. (2016). “Engaging students through gamification.” American libraries. March 1, 2016. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2016/03/01/engaging-students-through-gamification/
Overview: After instituting a game based library reading and writing program, the school library attained an 80% student participation level. Since the program was entirely voluntary, the success has been attributed to the opportunity to compete, collaborate, build non-classroom relationships with school staff, and the simple please of playing a game.
Analysis: The school library made itself a relevant, enjoyable place to be by making learning and exploring the library a game. While creating the game was labor intensive, the success was well worth the effort in staff eyes. Furthermore, the improvement in school morale and quality relationships has been viewed positively by the school community.

Connected learning

Ramos, Tara

ET, IL

Connected Learning.  (n.d.). Connected learning principles.  Retrieved from

http://connectedlearning.tv/connected-learning-principles

and

Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub.  (2007). Connected learning infographic.  Retrieved from http://connectedlearning.tv/infographic
Summary: The Connected Learning website provides many resources for teachers who are interested in learning in the 21st century.  The principles spell out what connected learning means for both students and teachers.  For students, connected learning is interest-powered, takes place in the context of peer interaction, and academically oriented.  For teachers, instructional design principles are also provided.  Connected learning environments must be constructed around a shared purpose for both students and adults.  Everyone is learning around a common set of interests and contributing to a common purpose as they learn.  They are also production-centered, meaning that students are actively involved in creation of digital and physical products.  And lastly, they are openly-networked so that the flow of knowledge has no boundaries and students are linked to groups, institutions, etc. beyond the school walls in their learning.  
Evaluation: I find the Connected Learning principles both exciting and daunting. When I read them, I think “Yes, yes, yes!!! This is what should be happening in schools!,” the keyword being should.  My on-the-ground experience in schools is that we are far from existing in these connected learning environments.  Teachers are bound by educational policies that encourage them to continue to be the holders of information that they must transport into students’ brains.  There have been some small shifts to these type of ideas in recent years, but teachers are still not getting the support that they need in order to become the designers of instructional experiences like those described here. Nonetheless, theses principles are very useful for teacher librarians who work with teachers and can help to build this type of learning environment for at least part of the school year.