Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Project for Awesome

by Tara Seale
Have you ever wondered how YouTube chooses the videos that are featured on their website? I just visited YouTube, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
Look at the bold titles: Trending, Most Popular, Featured Videos, and What's New.
What would it take to create a YouTube video and have it featured on the front page? Who would even endeavor to have their video featured on YouTube's front page? I can tell you who. The NerdFighters and their Project for Awesome (P4A).
On December 17, P4A will once again try to take over YouTube and the trending topic of Twitter by promoting videos that represent charities. This is truly an awesome project because it brings attention to the needs of our world. I first learned about this project from Lee Ann Spillane, a high school English teacher from Winter Park, FL. At NCTE's National Convention 2009 in Philadelphia, she told me that her class was participating in P4A by creating one video that they would promote on December 17th. I didn't really understand what she was talking about, but when December 17th rolled around, I found myself remembering our conversation as I followed her numerous tweets and shout outs that proclaimed something great was happening, so at this year's NCTE National Convention 2010 in Orlando when Lee Ann and I both showed up to an early Sunday morning session to hear Kelly Gallagher, Penny Kittle, and Jeff Anderson present, I asked her about P4A again. I paid closer attention to the details this time. This year, each of Lee Ann's students is creating his or her own video to promote a charity on the P4A day. The students will embed the P4A logo into their video to designate it as part of the P4A project. She is also working with the technology department to gain access to YouTube for a day so that her students can participate in commenting, viewing, favoriting, and promoting their videos to propel P4A to the top of the YouTube and Twitter trending lists.
What an incredible experience for these high school students. Congratulations to Lee Ann for creating a genuine authentic audience that brings attention to worthwhile causes and involves students using 21st century technology. Imagine the connections the students will feel as together they unite to take over cyberspace for a day with something they have created.
Lee Ann first became involved in P4A when she realized that one of the founders was a former student, Hank Green. Hank and his brother John grew up in Winter Park, FL, and John is a young adult author of several books including Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns. The two brothers are responsible for the popular VlogBrothers Channel on YouTube and for creating the Nerdfighters.
What are Nerdfighters? They do not fight nerds, they actually promote nerds and fight World Suck which they explain in the video below. I encourage you to watch their video because I learned so much. For example, I now know the difference between an acronym and an initialism. They also brought to my attention that I sometimes have a high puff level, which I knew, but I just didn't have a phrase for it. Thank you John and Hank for putting this all into perspective for me, and thank you Lee Ann for being a teacher who takes risks to engage students in something as amazing as Project for Awesome.
Project for Awesome Website (This website will update to the 2010 P4A in December).

Updates for P4A: Video Announcement about 2010 P4a

1 comment:

Lee Ann Spillane: said...

Thank you, Tara! John and Hank Green made a big announcement about this year's Project for Awesome yesterday. There will be a live show in LA sponsored by YouTube! Check it out here: