design assignment for gaming class dec 07

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Ideas for teaching information literacy to teens using social networking software


  • 1. A Second Life in Politics Nanette Bulebosh Video Gaming & Information Literacy Design Assignment December 2007

2. It is not enough for students to learn how to think critically about information for a research paper. They must learn how to be engaged and why (they should) care.Dane Ward, Illinois State University Revisioning Information Literacy for Lifeline Meaning Journal of Academic Librarianship , July 2006 3. Campaign 2008

  • A great opportunity to teach information literacy
  • Students will be (and already are) bombarded with political rhetoric, media images, symbols, political slogans, mudslinging, etc.
  • Attempts to manipulate public thinking will continue to increase
  • How does one make sense of it all? How does one differentiate between accurate, substantive information and .all the bull---- we see everyday?

4. I propose

  • To explore AASL Standard 2
  • To teach this standard in the context of the ongoing 2008 presidential campaign
  • To useSecond Life for Teensas a venue for enabling students (high school teenagers) to explore this standard as producers, not just as consumers.

5. Why?

  • Working in teams tocreate , reacttoandanalyzepolitical campaigns will give students an insiders perspective of the American political process.
  • Our political system is a cultural model (Gee, Chapter 6) that affects all of us, and it behooves us to take a serious look at it from several points of view.
  • Students will be practicing the skills of one information literacy standard (actually several of them) without being aware of it as an academic subject.
  • Theyll be immersed in the standard, within a particular context (presidential politics), instead of just reading about it.

6. Its Shaffers* fault

  • I got the idea from hisThe Debating Game , a fantasy role-playing game he devised as a way to immerse his students in a particular historical era (Spanish-American War).
  • The goal was to motivate students to critique information about the war (not just read facts about it) and to realize that history is always written from a particular point of view.
  • In other words, he wanted them to think like historians.

* Shaffer, David Williamson (2006)How Computer Games Help Children Learn . 7. Think like manipulators

  • or politicians
  • or their consultants
  • or the major funders of the campaigns
  • or those who claim tocritiquethese campaigns on our behalf (political pundits, talk show hosts, broadcast and print journalists, bloggers, round-table discussion particants, etc.)
  • or the lobbyists who have a stake in candidates platforms

8. Who would you like to be? A candidate? 9. A journalist? 10. A political pundit? 11. A satirist? 12. Or a lobbyist or corporate donor? 13. Part of the point of asking students to take on such a persona is

  • To help them understand that politics involves special interests vying with each other for power and influence
  • To help them begin to see that the information they are getting almost always comes from a particular point of view
  • To give them practice in evaluating this information critically and competently
  • which takes us to back to our AASL standard

14. AASL Information LiteracyStandard 2 The student who is information literate evaluates information critically and competently. 15. The student who isinformation literate

  • Weighs information carefully and wisely to determine its quality
  • Understands principles for assessing the accuracy, validity, relevance, completeness, and impartiality of information.
  • Applies these principles insightfully across information sources and formats
  • Uses logic and informed judgment to accept, reject, or replace information to meet a particular need.

16. Internal Grammar (content) AASLs Standard 2 Indicators might help

  • Determines accuracy, relevance, and comprehensiveness
  • Distinguishes between fact, point of view, and opinion
  • Identifies inaccurate and misleading information
  • Selects information appropriate to the problem or question at hand

17. How might a student demonstrate an understanding of the difference between a fact and an opinion or a point of view?

  • In the context of this presidential campaign project, he or she could compare a campaign commercial, or speech (what Hillarysaysshe is going to do for us), with her voting record.
  • He or she could compare a newspaper article about a particular candidate with that is said in a column.
  • He or she could compare a (reasonably objective) television broadcast about a candidates speech with the critique provided by a political pundit such as Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh.

18. External Grammar (social practices)

  • How would an information literate person typically think, act, interact with, and value information within the sub-domain of problem-solving?(Newell,Designing Immersive Learning Environments )

In other words, how would an information literateinsider behave? 19. Our political campaign project offers ample opportunities

  • By taking on the persona of a candidate, consultant, pundit, lobbyist, journalist or whatever, the student would get a chance tocreateinformation (accurate or otherwise) in the form of text, visual images, symbols, websites, blogs, cartoons for the purpose of manipulating.He or she would become aproducerof information and, hopefully, begin to see how others are trying to manipulate them .

20. Second Life Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely created by its Residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of Residents from around the globe. 21. Id direct my students to Teen Second Life Teen Second Lifeis an international gathering place for teens 13-17 to make friends and to play, learn and create Its more than a videogame and much more than an Internet chat program its a boundless world of surprise and adventure that encourages teens to work together and use their imaginations. 22. Within Teen Second Life

  • Students can create an avatar for themselves, depending on which political persona they or their team take on.
  • They can visit worlds and create their own.
  • They can interact with each other in a relatively non-threatening environment.
  • They become part of a community, immersing themselves in a social environment for exploring specific topics with others.

23. These social interactions are important

  • Knowledge is created and maintained through social interactions.
    • Students learn through interactions with experts, peers, content and activities in formal, informal and unexpected ways.

Moreover, knowledge is the result of activities between members of a group and its is based on their on-going interactions. In other words, what we, individually, know is uncovered through the process of interacting with the worlds around us, and the others we find in it. -Newells Nov. 21 slides again 24. In Second Life students can explore existing virtual spaces All or most of the candidates are probably represented 25. And eventually they cancreate their own 26. Gees 36 Learning Principles I dont have time to cover all of them here, but my project,A Second Life in Politics , seems to address a good share of them. 27. Some of my favorites


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