Ask each person to open their favourite internet browser.
Instruct everyone to navigate to the Wikipedia page for a particular person, place or thing, eg Nelson Mandela, or copy & paste the exact URL link via the chatroom.
When ready, announce a second Wikipedia page for another person, place or thing, eg QANTAS.
Starting from the first Wikipedia page, challenge each person to click on as many hyperlinks, page after page until they finally land on the destination Wikipedia page.
The first person to verify that they have landed on the destination page wins.
How To Play Narrative
This game was just waiting for the internet to be created. It is ideally suited for virtual settings, but it is equally accessible to in-person gatherings, provided your group has access to a smartphone and the internet.
With your group glued to their screens and engaged in your virtual gathering, eg Zoom room, ask everyone to open their web browser and search for a particular person, place or object in wikipedia.org. Or, to avoid the phoofing factor, you could simply copy & paste the desired URL in the chatroom.
For example, you could ask them to locate the page for Nelson Mandela.
When ready, announce the presence of another Wikipedia page – such as QANTAS (airline company) – and ask your group to note it, but that’s all. Do not search for it, just yet.
Only after you call some ubiquitous starting command, challenge your group to click on a link on the first Wikipedia page, and then another link on the next page, and so on, until they finally land on the nominated destination page.
You might think that the link-by-link route would be the same for everybody, but this would be highly unusual. In the beginning, the route diverges rather quickly as people click on anything that they think may lead them to get closer to the destination page.
The only possible route to the destination page is by clicking blue underlined links inside a series of wiki pages. It is not cool to enter an enquiry directly into the search field to short-circuit the journey.
Obviously, you are relying on the age-old honour system. An unscrupulous person could punch a somewhat related term into their browser to bring them more quickly to the destination page, but there are ways to uncover this deceit (see Leadership Tips tab for help.)
There are millions of wiki pages to choose from. Here are a few to get you started:
If you’re wondering why, don’t think too hard. This game is meant to be fun, to engage and energise your group for a few mindless minutes.
Come prepared with a bunch of seemingly unrelated wiki pages to start, or invite your group to suggest some in advance, without knowing what you are about to ask them to do.
If you are concerned that some people may be cheating their way to the ultimate Wiki destination, you could ask them to hit the back key on their browser to verify the sequence of pages they browsed to get there.
You could integrate Wiki Journey as part of a well-designed SEL program to promote and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse people.
Specifically, this activity offers ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Linking Feelings, Values & Thoughts
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits of enjoying a few moments of competitive fervour.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to successfully connect the dots between two apparently unrelated things speaks to the benefits of being mindful, but I wouldn’t stretch this too far.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Wiki Journey could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Minimum Pages: Measure the success of the journey by the least number of pages searched to arrive at the destination.
Team Competition: Allocate each person in your group to a small team. Keep everyone in the same primary Zoom room and award a point to the team whose team member is the first to arrive at the destination Wiki page.
Six Degrees of Separation: As above, challenge your group to move from one wiki page to another in six or fewer moves.
Real Life: Invite each person to whip out their smartphone or another mobile device, open a web browser and search for the first Wiki page. Then, play as described above.
Word Journey: Using pen and paper, ask everyone to write down one word, eg brick. Ask them to note elsewhere on their paper a destination word, eg hole. Instruct each person to write a new word (under the first word) that is related (somehow) to the first, and then another word that is related to the second, etc. Keep going until the first person has created a short or long list of word associations that connect the very first word and the destination word. For example, BRICK – WALL – HOUSE – GARDEN – FLOWER.
This exercise is purposefully designed to suit all virtual settings.
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Useful Framing Ideas
I think Wikipedia is one of the modern marvels of the digital world. On the backs of literally 50 or so full-time equivalent employees, this extraordinary tomb of knowledge has been curated that has served as the world’s encyclopedia for the past 20 years. Leveraging the power of the internet and squillions of hyperlinks, every wikipedia page is peppered with dozens, if not, hundreds of links to other wiki pages. Imagine the endless journey of clicking every link…
No doubt you have heard the term ‘six degrees of separation.’ The concept is based on the idea that all people on average are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. That is to say, I am no more than six people connections away from the Queen, or the US President or whoever. In this next activity, we’re going to take this idea and apply it to the internet…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this fun internet-based search game:
What jumps in logic did you need to make to arrive at your destination quickly?
Were you surprised by anything along the way?
Did you get absorbed by the content sometimes? Why?
How often did you have to go backwards?
What emotions did you experience as you searched?
The inspiration for Wiki Journey was sourced from a video tutorial Chad Littlefield produced on his Youtube channel, with thanks.