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Creating a Lesson Plan Using Edutainment Strategies

April 28, 2013

The goal of this lesson is for students to effectively find and evaluate resources for appropriate academic use.

Recent ethnographic studies (Kolowich, 2011) indicate that students have extremely poor research and evaluation skills. Researchers “were surprised by the extent to which students appeared to lack even some of the most basic information literacy skills that we assumed they would have mastered in high school. Even students who were high achievers in high school suffered from deficiencies.” (Kolowich, 2011, paragraph 16) Even though today’s traditional college students grew up using computers, they have not developed information literacy skills in an online environment. Because their research skills often consist of typing a few words into Google and receiving lots of results (“I found something so the research strategy must be good”), students often don’t even realize how poor their research and evaluation skills actually are. Unfortunately information literacy instruction is often seen as an unrelated, unnecessary or boring session which students ignore. Instructional strategies that utilize edutainment tools can mitigate some of this resistance. Students will then leave the class session with improved information literacy skills of research and evaluation that can be applied to all research projects.

Edutainment Used:
I will use a mix of edutainment resources and tools in this lesson. I will use a youtube video about evaluating websites to harness humor and generate interest in the topic. I will use a cartoon to humorously illustrate the problem of finding health information on the internet. Because this class consists of nursing undergraduate students, this will show applicability of the lesson and increase motivation. Finally, I will use the website padlet, This is not an edutainment tool per se, but it is an online site that can easily help students crowdsource and evaluate solutions in a classroom setting. I have used padlet in the past, but this lesson plan extends that use to edutainment purposes; I will use padlet in a game setting.

Instructional Objectives:
By the end of this lesson, students will:

  1. Find appropriate academic sources using diverse library and internet resources and research skills
  2. Evaluate sources based on author, content, source, purpose, currency, and website domain
  3. Utilize padlet to crowdsource evaluation criteria, and evaluate and score resources in a classroom setting

Assessment Method:
Students will self-assess their work in class in peer groups. They will find, post, and evaluate resources to determine appropriateness for college-level academic research.

Instructor Guide


Gain Attention
After greeting the class, open and show a humorous youtube video on website evaluation.

Establish Purpose
Explain the purpose of today’s session. Students will leave today with research and evaluation skills that will help them find and use appropriate resources for upcoming research assignments.

Arouse Motivation
Show a humorous cartoon that makes the point about finding and using health information. Explain to nursing undergraduate students that their patients typically use Google for health information. It is therefore imperative that they as nurses are able to evaluate that information for quality healthcare.


Instructional Review

  1. Students have already had basic information literacy instruction in previous classes such as First Year Seminar. Remind them of the skills they learned in that class. Explain that this class session will build upon those research skills.
  2. Briefly review library resources available to them such as the library catalog, library databases and Google/Google Scholar.
  3. Provide handout about evaluation.

Practice Skills

  1. Explain the purpose of today’s edutainment game. Students will determine evaluation criteria, individually find resources that would be appropriate to use for an upcoming nursing assignment, determine four resources to post for their small group, evaluate resources using the criteria as a class, assign points based on evaluation criteria, and declare one of the groups a winner.
  2. Open padlet wall for the class. Padlet walls can be created at padlet. Padlet allows students to post notes on a wall that can be viewed by the entire class in real time.
  3. Ask students to come up with evaluation criteria based on the youtube video or prior experience. They should post their ideas on padlet. The instructor will also post a note on padlet based on student feedback. Students will decide which evaluation criteria they will use. The instructor will place these criteria on the ‘master’ padlet note for use. Delete other padlet notes. Possible criteria could be author, content, source, date, website domain, purpose (bias).
  4. Divide class into four small groups.
  5. Direct students to individually find at least two resources for an upcoming assignment.
  6. Direct students to meet in their small groups. Each group will select three resources to post publicly. The small group should post three padlet notes with bibliographic information  so that others can review the sources (citation formatting does not matter).


  1. As an entire class, review the posts on padlet, agree on how each posted resource meets or does not meet criteria.
  2. Grade each posting based on the evaluation criteria. One point for every criteria that is met.
  3. Declare the winning small group team. Provide a small token prize.

Padlet Example showing evaluation criteria and two small group websites




Summarize the lesson. Remind students of various methods to access information such as library catalog, databases, and internet search engines such as Google.

Transfer Learning

Ask students to post notes on padlet about how they can use the information. For example, students may note how they can use this information to find resources for upcoming assignments. Or they may mention how they can discuss evaluation strategies with patients who search Google and find questionable health information.

Feedback and Remediation

Ask for any final questions from students. Stress that instructor is available for questions during office hours in the library.



Kolowich, S. (2011). What students don’t know. Retrieved April 28, 2013, from

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