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Can football learn reading skills?

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03 November 2020

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Did you know that learning football can teach reading skills?

Fantasy sports, especially fantasy football, are a thriving hobby / obsession. People meet and "pull" real professional players onto their mock team. These people's mock teams then compete against other mock teams within a league. The Mock team scores points based on the actual player's performance in the correct game. According to Wikipedia, a 2003 study found that 15 million people played fantasy football and spent an average of $ 150 a year, making it a $ 1.5 billion industry. $. There's even a Fantasy football librarian.

There is a lot of research that goes into preparing and then launching your players. "Owners" must know if a player is injured, plays well on grass (or does not run well on grass), if the opponent's defense can prevent specific offensive players, and if the game will be played indoors or outdoors (bad weather can kill a passerby games and cause problems for a kicker). In many leagues there is a "buy-in" to play and the winning team at the end of the season usually wins the pot of money.

Why on earth would a librarian now use fantasy football as a method of teaching information literacy? Well, this is something that most of your medical students and residents can relate to. If you doubt me, look at your computers from mid-August to December. Most likely you will see someone check their fantasy football stats and check injury reports, waivers and start / page suggestion pages. Librarians are always looking for good teaching examples that are relevant and easy to understand for students. The same skills that people use to evaluate information about players are some of the same type of skills that can be used to identify academic information.

According to the article, the University of Dubuque taught fantasy football research to incoming students. Throughout the lesson, students participated in discussions about creditworthiness, validity, timeliness, and search strategies for finding and evaluating fantasy football information. The assessment of these instructional sessions showed that incoming students successfully identified evaluation criteria and reported positive changes in how they viewed research and libraries "Skeptical? Paul also says, "the successful fantasy sports player consistently applies four of the five ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards (2000)."

Not in sports, let alone fantasy sports? Don’t worry, the librarians who taught the classes had varying experiences with fantasy football, including one who had no previous experience. The process was more about research than football, football was just the catalyst for learning. It seems that it was a successful endeavor, 80% of the students were able to describe two of three appropriate source evaluation criteria. More than 60% were able to describe all three.

Not only did the students learn, but it also helped change their perception of the library and the research. Before taking the students, they described what research meant to them as "headaches," "work I would not perform," and "schoolwork." After class, students answered the same question with phrases such as "making sure you get accurate information", "comparing and knowing where I get my information" and "fun work", https://www.academic-refugees.org/.

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