In February 2016, we launched Information Fallout, a narrative-based game to introduce concepts included within the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The game is based on a post-apocalyptic world brought to ruin by misinformation. Players battle the forces of misinformation as personified in six evil characters. (+1 to the author for avoiding any political statements here.)
We hoped the game could be used by librarians and educators to introduce key information literacy concepts, and springboard classes into further discussion and exploration. And we’re very pleased with the use we’ve seen so far! As of today:
- 374 students and researchers have completed all three quests and successfully toppled the evil regime using their powers of information literacy.
- 9 countries are represented by these students, from Sweden to Kenya, and the UAE to Japan. This includes the highest participating country, Australia!
- 32 states in the U.S. have participating students.
It has been fun to see the game used. Once a student completes it and topples the evil regime, the last thing they are asked to do is to reflect on what they learned (if anything) by playing the game. 206 students completed these unrequired questions, including one asking “Has this game changed the way you think about research? If so, how? If not, why not?” I thought I’d share just a couple of those responses:
Yes it has caused me to look at the context of the research in seeing where the research is coming from and the reason behind why the research is being written. It also caused me to think about multiple questions from my research topic to help narrow down results and get results that are more relevant to my topic.
Yes, I will dig deeper with questions and also seek out more sources to be sure I am not finding sources that just confirm my opinion but those that challenge it.
This assignment has been a very helpful reminder to employ critical thinking techniques when evaluating material for research. By reviewing context, understanding the creation process, asking questions, giving credit, following the conversation of research, and exploring numerous sources, I can be confident that the sources I chose will only work to aid my report.
Many responses, like these, were exceedingly nuanced and well contextualized, making it clear that librarians and educators are using the game within a larger classroom context. We’re thrilled that this is the case. Take a look at this (fictional) post-apocalyptic world and see if you can restore reason and rebuild information literacy: z.umn.edu/fallout.