Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nerd Power


Project for Awesome is a week behind me. I think my thumb joints and fingers and shoulders have finally loosened up. Who knew your hands and shoulders could get so sore from just a little typing!


What is Project for Awesome? It's a charity event on YouTube organized by Hank and John Green. Last year was my firs P4A event and I wrote about it here. Essentially, YouTubers and the Green brothers' Nerdfighters make videos featuring their favorite charities. Once the videos are uploaded to YouTube the Nerdfighters and others work tirelessly over a 48hr period to rate, favorite and comment on the videos so that they will take over YouTube's most discussed page. I'm talking serious commenting: 7,oooK comments per video was our first goal for each of the videos we swarmed.


To direct all of this commenting John Green, Hank Green, their friend Alan, and this year other YouTubers hosted a livestream show. To participate, you visit the live stream and then follow the commenting directions: go with the swarm to the current video and go, go, go.


December 17th fell on a Thursday. Instead of my regular lesson plan in class, I showcased the Project for Awesome. Students and I made our P4A video together and we watched John Green get ready for the live show online. I showed students how to access the livestream show and where to find the current video in the ticker tape; I posted a help movie and all of the links students would need on my class website and encouraged them to participate. I gave my juniors the option of favoriting 100 P4A videos as part of their quiz (do the favorites or plan an essay). Lots took the 100 favorites option (who wouldn't?)!


When I picked Collin up from school Thursday I said, "Come on! We've got to home and start commenting on YouTube videos!"


He smiled and said, "With those Nerds again?"


Indeed! Nerdfighteria is an awesome place to be. This year Project for Awesome not only dominated YouTube--there were, according to John Green, more than 2,000 P4A videos this year and the Nerdfighters commenting more than 1 million times! At one point Thursday evening Hank Green said our comments per second rate was at or over 20 comments. Definitely statistically significant and scientifically measured: 20 comments per second! We rocked. We hit the spam-wow zone hard. We also managed to achieve top trending status on Twitter. Yes!


The end result? A whole lot of folks got to hear about (and hopefully were moved to donate to) a whole lot of charities that are doing great things all around the world. The P4A videos are still up and thriving on YouTube. Defnintely check them out. You won't want to miss the Uncultured Project or Heiffer International or the Nature Conservancy or the video about St. Jude's --to see them all check out my favorites on YouTube.


Truly awesome. Next year I think I'll ask for a special dispensation from the technology Pope. Maybe we can get YouTube unblocked for a day so that students could participate and comment from school. I'd love to do it as in-school field-trip/fundraiser and have students garner "sponsors" for commenting like they do for walk-a-thons. We could have a team of commentors and a team of tweeters. Wouldn't that be neat? We'll see what else we can come up with. Until then... DFTBA!

image credits: Most Discussed Page at the end of #P4A by AlanDistro;#P4A was the number one trending topic on Twitter by AlanDistro

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Twinkle, Twinkle


At the dinner table the other night Collin asks me, "how do you make your eyes twinkle?"

Huh? I think before he continues. "You know, in books they say that the character's eyes twinkled. How do you do that?"

"Oh! That kind of twinkling. Well, you know when writers say "his eyes twinkled" they are really saying that the character looks happy or mischievous--they have a sparkle in their eyes and maybe a smile. Their eyes aren't really twinkling like Christmas lights twinkle."

"Oh, you mean like this?" Collin replies and bugs his eyes out at me, tilting his head to catch a glint of light.

"Ummm, maybe not quite like that," I reply covering my mouth with my napkin up to disguise my grin.

"Like this?" eyes bulge and his eyebrows go up nearly to this hairline.

"Aahh, a little more natural looking than that," I laugh back.

And so it goes. I just love that he wondered about it because of descriptions he's seen in books. In the meantime, if you see Collin and he looks a little like a person with a thyroid condition, be not afraid, he's just practicing his eye twinkling!