Tuesday, 20 December 2016

LILAC 2017 workshop

Just had my workshop proposal for LILAC 2017 accepted, abstract follows! I'm particularly pleased to have sneaked in a keyword of "Argond" in, which I think is doog yrev.

In this workshop, participants will:
1) Learn some key benefits of using playful approaches to library instruction, including the use of puzzles and escape room techniques.
2) They will reflect on how playful learning, particularly the use of escape room ideas, could apply to their own teaching practice.

Real life escape rooms, exit games, locked room games, whatever we choose to call them, have exploded in popularity in recent years. From the television programmes of my youth (Crystal Maze, The Adventure Game), through increasingly complex computer games, adventure games have now manifested into "real world" rooms that can be found in cities all over the world. The "real life" escape rooms involve working together as a team to solve a series of puzzles, normally culminating in escaping from a locked room. There is often a strong narrative involved as part of the activity, increasing the sense of a "magic circle", where participants can step outside the normal world into a playful place, where different rules apply.

They require teamwork, observation, creativity and critical thinking from the participants. The playful, yet challenging atmosphere created by these games encourage participants to try repeatedly to solve the puzzles. This can be taken advantage of in the learning environment, allowing learners to practice engaging critically with information sources, to practice skills as diverse as referencing and constructing a search strategy, and to generally increase their information literacy in a "safe" environment.

Participants in the workshop will:

1) Hear briefly about the theoretical benefits of creating playful learning environments and be challenged to think about how this might apply to their own teaching practice (10 minutes).
2) Try an example of an escape room style puzzle, as a practical example of how escape rooms might work in practice (20 minutes).
3) Be introduced to a method of approaching the design of escape room activities for their own workplace (15 minutes).
4) Participants will then be encouraged to consider how they may apply ideas from this workshop to their own workplace (10 minutes).
5) We will finish with a few minutes for additional questions and round up (5 minutes).
Further reading will also be recommended to broaden the theoretical knowledge of interested participants.

Anyone considering attending this workshop should expect active participation, play, puzzles, padlocks, prizes, and possibly pass the parcel. But probably not penguins. Or quite as much alliteration.

Prior to coming to this session, try to solve the puzzle in this final paragraph. Learn to accept this will happen throughout the workshop. Always remember that this thing can be valuable in learning. Yet you won’t see it unless you look at the start of things.