PBS Invites Students to Create Their Own Zeitgeist Videos in Contest

Mimicking Google's Zeitgeist video montage of the year's events, middle and high school students can create their own videos for a contest, which ends Dec. 14.

student contest

Google's annual Zeitgeist list and video of the year's most popular online search terms is getting some competition this month. The PBS NewsHour Extra television program is asking students in middle and high school to create their own videos marking the year's biggest events for entry in a contest that runs through midnight Dec. 14.

The online digital media contest was announced recently by the PBS NewsHour show as a way for students to share their views about what were the biggest events and people in 2013, according to PBS.

"The #MyZeitgeist competition was made in partnership with Google and is tied to their annual 'Zeitgest' project—which highlights the biggest events of the year as seen through the site's search engine results," PBS announced. Zeitgeist is a German word meaning the "spirit of the times."

Google's Zeitgeist video montage last year was featured on its 2012 Zeitgeist Website, and included highlights of the year's most popular Google searches, such as Whitney Houston, Gangnam Style, Hurricane Sandy, the iPad3, Kate Middleton and the Olympics 2012, according to Google's annual list of the most popular global searches.

Students will be asked to create their own personal collections of the biggest events in 2013 in the NewsHour Extra competition. The winner of the competition will receive a Nexus 7 tablet from Google, and will be featured on YouTube's education channel and Google's Google+ page.

"The youth voice is often lost or ignored. Here is an opportunity to see what 2013 looked like through their eyes," Katie Gould, a teacher resource producer for NewsHour Extra, said in a statement. "The Zeitgeist project is a wonderful way for the vision and world view of America's young people to be seen and heard by a larger audience."

To create their entries in the contest, students will use the digital storytelling site, Meograph, which lets users create interactive videos that feature video, audio, pictures, text, maps, timelines and links, according to PBS NewsHour Extra.

To enter the contest, students should select seven to 10 news events from 2013 that they want to feature from a list of specific topics: science, entertainment, technology, the United States and the world, economic news, government and civics, social issues and special historic anniversaries, according to the contest instructions from PBS NewsHour Extra. "You don't have to use them all, but the best projects will not use too many from any one category," the rules state.

"Think back on 2013 and try to remember the events that made the news, touched people's lives and changed the world," the rules continue. "Your assignment is to research the most important events of the year and to share them through Meograph."

Entrants will have to find videos, pictures, audio and other information to build up each event, while ensuring that they are not using copyrighted materials in their entries, according to the rules. Every story in an entrant's video must include a headline, date of the event, short narrated summary, photos or video and a listed source, the rules state.

Entrants will use Meograph to build their entries on the NewsHour Extra Website, where they will find additional help to create their videos. Students can sign in for Meograph using Facebook, Twitter or Google+, and then can access their draft from any computer anywhere as they build their presentation. The deadline for all entries is midnight Dec. 14, so students need to get started.