Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
INFORMATION LITERACY
FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
In other words, libraries, while maintaining
their traditional functions of building collections
and providing information services, must teach
its users a set of essential skills in terms of in-
formation literacy, considering not everybody is
equally able to take full advantage of available
resources. Fighting information illiteracy, which
is a cause of social exclusion, might contribute
to increase the importance of libraries as spaces
for research and learning.
One possible way for libraries to achieve this
educational goal is to explore the potential of
games in general or, more specifically, of com-
puter games. Crawford (1997) noted that games
have become an integral part of learning activities
in many civilizations and are in fact “the most
ancient and time-honored vehicle for education”
(p. 15). Nevertheless, games have always evolved
along with human culture, society, and technol-
ogy. Considering that information literacy is not
an easy subject to teach students, particularly
given the increasing diversity and complexity of
information sources, it seems natural to look for
tools that take advantage of today's digital culture
and use computer games (Kirriemuir, 2008). Thus,
librarians' role as instructors would not be dimin-
ished, but updated through the use of teaching
methods that employ media in which students are
already engaged. As the world changes, the way
people play changes too, but play's importance
remains constant. It not only help us to relax, but
also prepares us for life's challenges. The same
technologies that influence our forms of enter-
tainment and communication with other people
can be used to foster knowledge construction and
development of new skills.
Therefore, the objectives of this chapter are
to expose the need to train information literate
citizens and to present arguments concerning the
potential of computer games as educational tools
to achieve this aim.
Traditionally, the concept of literacy was associ-
ated to a linguistic code and defined as the ability
to read, write and understand texts. However, with
the rapid development of new communication
technologies and the consequent proliferation of
information, the nature of literacy has undergone
a transformation in order to include the ability to
learn, comprehend, and interact with technology
in a meaningful way. Hence the advent of the
expression information literacy , defined by the
Chartered Institute of Library and Information
Professionals (CILIP) as the ability to recognize
when and why information is needed, where to
find it and how to evaluate, use and communicate
it in an ethical manner (Armstrong, Boden, Town,
Woolley, Webber, & Abell, 2005).
This term incorporates the traditional views
of literacy as well as new forms of literacy as-
sociated to technological progress. Probably, its
meaningfulness will increase due to the recent
developments of the World Wide Web, notably
the change of paradigm from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0
and the evolution towards the semantic Web, with
its emerging methods of information extraction
and semantic analysis of data. In Web 1.0, the
flow of information was largely unidirectional,
with the common cybernaut acting merely as a
receptor. But the recent popularization of resources
such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, and social tagging
systems has led to the advent of the so called Web
2.0, where every person with a minimum of tech-
nological skills can be not only a consumer, but
also a producer of information. For this reason,
the concept of literacy will tend increasingly to
include the skills and competencies involved in
finding, selecting, analyzing, evaluating, and
storing information, as well as in its treatment
and use, independently of the associated codes
or technologies.
As Vieira (2008) states, from an historical per-
spective, literacy represents a pole of attraction for
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