Takeaways from the 2021 JoVE Librarian Innovation Award Winner Webinar with Jay Michael O. Diola

Raveena Khatri, JoVE Writer | 8 min read
Raveena Khatri, JoVE Writer | 8 min read

The 2021 JoVE Science Education and Research Innovation awards have paved the way for a series of blog posts highlighting how science educators, researchers, and librarians worldwide have used visual resources to support their remote efforts. We hope these blog posts will help find practical answers to the questions imposed while juggling online or hybrid formats.

In last week’s 2021 JoVE Innovation awards webinar, Jay Michael O. Diola, Head Librarian at De La Salle Zobel School in the Philippines, discussed his recent contribution to the gamification of library resources and instructions. Jay Michael says that he noticed students were not actively and fully utilizing library resources and spent more time on their phones and tablets while in the library. He further explains that going virtual was already under consideration before the pandemic, but it quickened the transition. His work in creating an interactive virtual library using the Minecraft Education app has effectively increased student engagement. 

To create a virtual library, Jay Michael and his team utilized Minecraft: Education Edition to create a Minecraft library. Minecraft: Education Edition is a tool that helps capture students’ attention and engages them in targeted activities while maintaining a positive mindset. Minecraft: Education Edition features designs explicitly built for learning environments to support collaboration, assessment, coding, and more. It includes pre-built lessons to engage students across the curriculum. 

To make the virtual library functional and interactive, Jay Michael integrated various platforms into the Minecraft library, such as the OPAC and the online reference service called Grabrarian. The Grabrarian is a chat function that serves as the virtual librarian. Users can interact with the school librarians, enabling users to experience real-life library visits and library services. “We created gamified instruction using the Minecraft: Education Edition app; it’s a powerful tool that helps capture students’ attention and maintain a positive mindset which opens up creativity and participation in library activities,” says Jay Michael.

To hear actionable suggestions and tips discussed during the webinar, request a complimentary recording of the live session.

Below are the top highlights of his discussion during the Q&A section of the webinar.

How long did it take to build a Minecraft library with students?

According to Jay Michael, students use mobile phones and tablets more than reading physical books in the library. He believed it would be better to have students do what they prefer, which meant asking them to set up the app. It was a way to make them start identifying different sections of the library. Two librarians, along with students, worked on this project. Students built the app, but adding links and resources was a collective task by all librarians. They set up escape rooms within the app, so activities involving students to find sections were possible. These tasks required them to attend library training lessons to know the setup to find hidden clues.

The gamification of the library has had a successful outcome during the pandemic. But will it continue beyond the pandemic

Based on Jay Michael’s opinion, the virtual library setup will continue beyond the pandemic since there are many ways to expand and make it fun and educational. As more libraries and faculty come together and work on setting a virtual library, there will be innovative ideas to improve it in an ongoing process.

Did other gamification projects inspire this Minecraft project?

Jay Michael says that he did look for inspiration from other gamification projects; however, he couldn’t find any existing libraries using this approach. So he confirmed that this project was unique as many organizations use the Minecraft app as a scavenger hunt.

How should one work with faculty members who are not tech-savvy or uncomfortable using online tools?

Jay Michael says he worked on conducting training webinars for faculty to constantly learn and experience ideas. Apart from training students, faculty had to receive training to understand and use these services appropriately. It has had a successful outcome overall.

How does the library get resources? Does someone pay for them? 

There are subscriptions available for resources and open resources added to the virtual library, including different resources for different age groups. Students use a paid version of the Minecraft virtual library. For more information about a JoVE subscription, please visit www.jove.com/librarians/overview

Does the Minecraft library have virtual bookshelves to showcase electronic resources?

Jay Michael says they looked for something as close to having a real-life library as possible. Having bookshelves was vital for the realistic approach, which helped resonate student engagement similar to real libraries. 

To know more about Jay Michael’s approach to using the Minecraft app to engage students — and many other key takeaways from his experiences, you can request a recording of this session.

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