When I decided to enter graduate school, I had to take the Millers Analogy Test. The folks at USU told me I had to have my application in by that Friday, and I found out that I could take the test the next day. Rather than try to study for the test, and get myself worked up and worried, I simply walked in and took it cold. The first question was something like this:
Hat is to head, as glove is to _____. I smiled, marked hand, and thought I had it made.
By question four, the analogies looked more like this:
Pi is to Robert Redford, as kidney stones are to ______.
It was a grueling experience, but I made it into graduate school, only to find out I should have taken the GRE.
But, the important thing is that I learned what an analogy question is, so I’ll pose one to you. Right now. For free.
Movies are to video games, as books are to ______.
Nope, it’s not Robert Redford, nor is it kidney stones. In my opinion, you can complete the above question with wikis.
Think about it. Watching a Movie is a passive experience. If you don’t like the fact that they are going to shoot Old Yeller, you’re just out of luck (sorry, should have given you a spoiler warning). In the end, the dog is going to get it, no matter how hard you wish to the contrary.
If Old Yeller were a video game, you could pull out a shotgun and go after the wolf (the one that gave Old Yeller rabies to begin with). Or load up the dog into a helicopter and get the poor thing to a vet. Either way, you take the story into your own hands. You move from a passive role, to an active role.
Reading is the same way. You can stop reading, but other than that you have no say in what happens in a story. When you read a book it is a passive experience. When you watch a movie it is a passive experience. Video games and wikis are both active. You are not watching to see what happens next, rather you grab hold of a keyboard, and make what happens next. I can’t help but think your brain is more active when it’s watching a video game (because you must respond). And I can’t help but think when you’re reading, and you have the power to edit, you brain will be more active because you can be more active.
I’m not saying movies and reading are bad. Only that they have different potentials for instruction than do active/participatory games, and active/participatory reading.
I’m working on a lit review and I’m surprised how little wikis have been used and studied in education and instruction. I’m excited to see how educational innovators use this technology in the next few years. I think it will prove to be effective.