“Yer a wizard Harry.” ― Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.”
Aspiring wizards and Harry Potter fans may be envious of the students who participated in the Harry Potter-themed gaming escapade in NIE Library during the 2019 Freshmen Orientation Programme (FOP).
Wizards for the day - Librarians Stephanie and James gave helpful cues to aid participants in their quests.
Librarians-turned-Hogwarts wizards welcomed the FOP participants into the Library on 5th August 2019. The 130 freshmen were the first batch of new intake students to take part in a brand new library orientation experience using a specially created augmented reality game.
The Library was the venue for two of the stations: The Riddle of Hogwarts and the Fat Lady’s Scavenger Hunt.
The Riddle of Hogwarts station was designed as a 3-part quest where participants had to solve a 3-letter riddle. A letter clue was given at the end of each quest – Harry’s, Hermione’s and Draco’s. Each quest consisted of four tasks: searching the Library portal for information on loans, facilities and a book, as well as browsing the Library’s Instagram account.
The second station comprised a 3-part scavenger hunt, where the goal was to navigate each level of the Library to find the answer to each of the three questions. Completing the hunt would enable Sirius Black to locate the Fat Lady’s portrait.
Both station games were played using the Metaverse app on iPADs supplied by the Library. The game components featured interactive elements such as:
Characters appearing as AR overlaying images or with Hogwarts backgrounds
Familiar characters coming to life with their speech idiosyncrasies (e.g., a snarky Draco and a dour Snape)
Questions in short-answer or MCQ format
Tracking points on an online leaderboard
Each group was given three iPADs and the sub-groups then independently ventured off to finish their part of the station within 7 minutes. Once each group had completed the station, their points were added in an online leaderboard by the station masters.
Some feedback from participants:
"It was really fun to have augmented reality in the game."
"Consider using the game for other library events."
Work on the app started in the early part of the year with a meeting between the student FOP organising committee and librarians from the Library Technology Services and Learning Services units. This partnership, now in its fifth year running, is aimed at creating better and relevant learning experiences for freshmen.
The Library’s objective of being part of FOP 2019 was to familiarise incoming students with useful library facilities, services and collections. This year, the approach was to introduce technology-enabled gamification into the activities to facilitate exploratory learning and increase student engagement.
A prototype of the augmented reality game was created using a free app which could be played on mobile devices. The prototype received an enthusiastic reception from the student organisers.
This marked the beginning of a collaborative journey to plan, design, create and test the AR game for the FOP, which adopted a Harry Potter theme. This process involved multiple rounds of reviewing the game content to ensure that the learning objectives were met, editing and testing of the game.
The app was piloted during the Seniors' Camp on 8th May 2019. Around 40 FOP leaders and organisers who attended the Seniors' Camp gave their feedback on their experiences in playing the game. Their suggestions and responses were incorporated as improvements to version 2 of the app.
Organisers and leaders of the FOP trialed the game during their Seniors' Camp in May 2019.
Although FOP 2019 has concluded, the magic of AR and gamification technology will continue to be used to inspire and excite library users.
To all freshmen, welcome! We hope you had an enriching initiation into the NIE experience.