Jamshid Beheshti (2012) Teens, Virtual Environments and Information Literacy, Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 38, Issue 3
As digital natives, the vast majority of teens are used to cellphones, text messaging, social networking sites and other forms of electronic communications and technologies. Though rooted in the digital world for many of their daily activities, teens lack basic information literacy skills for academic tasks and other demands. Specific instruction through the educational system may not be feasible, but it may be possible to build teens’ information competence through interactive virtual learning environments. Game-style virtual environments are highly motivating and engaging, providing opportunities for repeated practice and reward for persistence and achieving goals. A virtual reality library, VRLibrary, was constructed, collaboratively designed by young teens and adults, based on the metaphor of a physical library. Teens could wander the virtual space and browse links to age-appropriate websites presented as virtual books. VRLibrary was very positively received and succeeded at engaging teen users. A librarian avatar could be incorporated to provide help as needed with a user’s information seeking.
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