A School-wide Gamification Project Created by the Teacher Librarian

Gabrielle Thormann
Squires, T. (2016).  Student engagement through library-led gamification.  Library as Classroom.  Retrieved from:  https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/recording/playback/link/table/dropin?sid=2008350&suid=D.5D141781486B23E7660294861CD3B7
This entry is an audio recording available only through the Blackboard Collaborate system.  
This middle school teacher librarian had the support and opportunity of her administration and staff to create a school-wide gamification project.  She created teams of 7th graders against 8th graders, used digital technology, specifically Edmodo to create groups for communication between students.  Stories were built in the morning with the cooperation of staff, missions and goals were set, strategy cards to assist missions, and points allotted and listed in spreadsheets.   Students were also required to turn in a paper report of their work in the games, as well as other simple assignments and activities during the game.  Squires created a video about the game, and submitted to ‘Follett Challenge’ and won a substantial amount of funds. 
I’m always interested in hearing/reading about how teachers apply theory and create projects, and so found this audio recording interesting and supportive.
Note:  Here is the link to other talks also available through Blackboard Collaborate:

Seven Surprising Benefits of Maker Spaces

Brandt, Alisa

Barron, C., & Barron, A. (2016, August 2). Seven surprising benefits of maker
    spaces [Blog post]. Retrieved from School Library Journal website:

ET – Maker Spaces

IL – Motivation

This article reveals the seven physical and psychological benefits of maker spaces in libraries beyond meeting curriculum standards.
Focusing on making brings people into the present moment giving them a break from focusing on the past or future too much. Making is physical and gets people moving, stretching, and standing, which gets blood flowing. Making is dependent upon self-directed engagement and gives people motivation to complete a task rather than having to do a required task. This means that people are learning what interests them and leads to a greater sense of satisfaction. Making uses hand-based activities which gives people a deeper connection to their brain and the development of skills such as visual thinking and problem solving. Making improves mood, giving people a boost of happiness. Maker spaces in libraries create a sense of community and connection which can prevent loneliness. Making “prevents the habit of wastefulness” by salvaging old materials and creating something new (Barron & Barron, 2016).

Evaluation: We are all familiar with the ways that makerspaces in schools enhance student learning and help to meet curriculum standards. It is also helpful to understand the ways in which making, whether it is simple or complex, provides so many mental and physical benefits to makers. In a time when people are increasingly disconnected from others and from the physical and mental processes that keep humans healthy, making provides an opportunity to gain some of this back.

Rethinking the Measurement of Intelligence

Duffy, Leah


Schwartz, K. (2016, April 11). Rethinking intelligence: How does imagination measure up? Retrieved April 13, 2016, from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/04/11/rethinking-intelligence-how-does-imagination-measure-up/?utm_source=feedburner

The article starts out by discussing Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and his struggles in early education. Due to a processing disorder he was placed in special needs courses until a high school teacher realized he probably could take regular courses. He overcame his background of special education classes and went on to university to study psychology and become a professor. Schwartz goes on to discuss Dr. Kaufman’s research on an “imagination quotient.” He believes that IQ alone is not a good way of measuring intelligence. Some creative people, who can be successful when passionate about a subject, don’t have minds that work in ways traditionally measured by the school system and this can be detrimental. There are different neural networks, the default node network and the attention network, which function at different times. There is research being conducted on the connection between these networks and how creative people have enhanced connections between the networks. Dr. Kaufman suggests that teachers need to enhance the time that children use the default node network and not just the attention network. 

This is a great, brief article that shows that not all minds work the same. Traditional IQ tests can be helpful but they shouldn’t be the sole measure of academic potential.  School systems need to embrace different types of intelligence because not all minds work in the same way. Dr. Kaufman’s background shows that different ways of thinking don’t have to be detrimental to success. Educators that are willing to be flexible with their students can help non-traditional thinkers become prosperous students.