The Virtual Blockson: Using Virtual Reality to Teach Black Archival Research Presented by Jasmine Clark


Jasmine Clark is the Digital Scholarship and Africology & African American Studies Librarian at Temple University. Her primary areas of research are accessibility and metadata in emerging technology and emerging technology centers. Currently, she is leading The Virtual Blockson, a project to recreate and gamify the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection in virtual reality to teach high school students primary literacy skills. She is also doing research in 3D metadata and the development of Section 508 compliant guidelines for virtual reality experiences. She is also the chair of the DLF Digital Accessibility Working Group, as well as a Co-Chair of the DLF Committee for Equity and Inclusion.  

Abstract:  The Virtual Blockson is a project that utilizes virtual reality (VR) to teach high school students primary source literacy using materials from the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. The Blockson collection, comprised of over 700,000 items related to the African Diaspora, includes a multitude of material types such as books, sheet music, manuscripts, photographs, sculptures, and films. This rich variety of materials, covering a broad range of topics and time periods, is suited to gamification via a multi-modal medium like VR. In addition to the VR game itself, accompanying teaching guides, onboarding materials, and standalone 3D models will be created to situate the game within a broader social studies curriculum. The completion of the game, in tandem with accompanying teaching materials, will allow students to meet the learning objectives laid out in the Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy developed by a joint task force created by the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Rare Books & Manuscripts Section (RBMS) and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) .  


11 a.m. to Noon March 25, 2022