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THE YODA FACTOR

by Faith Breen, Business Management

Entertainment people think in a totally different way from conventional business and scientific thinking. . . . In science you have a problem, and a hypothesis for a solution, then. . . you build it. The entertainment approach is the opposite. It’s: What’s our vision? What do we want it to do? They’ll break it down and work backwards to figure out how to get it done."
              Richard Lindheim Executive Director Institute for Creative Technologies

The Washington Post had a provocative article titled, "Thinking Outside the Tank." This article talks about how the military established the California Institute for Creative Technologies as a way to tap into Hollywood’s creative and innovative thinking. As a result of this collaboration, the military is now looking into new designs for equipment and uniforms as well as using video games for training purposes.

The integration of Hollywood’s creative approach is particularly interesting because under a Title III Grant, I spent last semester integrating video clips of Hollywood movies into my Conflict Management online course as a way to meet the needs of our multi-sensory learners. For example, to demonstrate how individuals need to face and get beyond their fears, I use a clip from the movie "Top Gun" where Tom Cruise starts to freeze in the middle of a crucial dog fight but then recovers his courage and wins the battle. Obviously a short video clip is not going to resolve all of one’s fear issues; however, it does enable the student to experience fear on more than an intellectual level and hopefully recognize that fear can be overcome.

Integration of videos into our curriculum is not new. We have often used educational videos as a way to introduce technical concepts. However, as funds become limited, use of commercial movie clips may become a viable alternative that we may wish to explore further. Fortunately, our outstanding technical resource staff - Eduardo Cruz, Lorna Gagneux, Marjani Kane-Morris, and Ryan Hutchison – have all of the technical expertise and patience to make this undertaking a great success!

This brings me to the "Yoda Factor." You may recall that in the Hollywood movie "Star Wars," there was a Jedi Knight named Yoda. In addition to being a Jedi Knight, Yoda was also a great teacher. He encouraged his students and guided them away from the "dark side." During these times of great social tension, it is perhaps fitting that we learn from Yoda’s ability to gently encourage our students to explore and use their power for good. And, like the saying "Old soldiers don’t die, they just fade away," after having accomplished our mission, we too like Yoda, may also peacefully fade away.

 

The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 18, No. 3

Spring 2003