Sharknado + Education in 2013 = Awesomesauce

Image credit: Syfy network

If you read, listen to, or watch the news, chances are you have heard about it.

It was awful. It was heinous. It was so terrible, you HAD to keep on watching.

The syfy channel recently aired Sharknado, a movie that was suppose to be just another cheesy in-house flick for devout science fiction fans. To the chagrin of TV critics, something happened. It was a small spark. The small spark of social media became a, well, tidal wave of tweets, Facebook posts, vines, and every other form of social media out there. So many people were talking about it, that scads upon scads of people tuned in. 1.5 million tuned in. 5000 tweets a minute.

The plot, if you want to call it that: for the first time in California, hurricanes begin to strike the coast. These hurricanes become so powerful, that eventually the scoop up thousands of sharks out of the ocean and get launched onto land, naturally attacking everything in sight. Sharks plunge through restaurant windows, school buses, swim to the second floor of houses, invade a nursing home, and do a bunch of other things. Naturally, to combat such sharks, one needs to be prepared. A series of improvised weapons, combined with lots of chainsaws, allows our beloved characters to be saved.

Now you’re wondering, how does any of this relate to education? Simple! The ridiculousness of it all. Think about it… What was Sharknado competing against? The standard, same ol’ same ol’. People were bored. People want to engage. People want something different because they are tired of the same old repetition. IT’S THE SAME IN THE CLASSROOM TODAY. Learners are tired of the same ol’ Learners want to engage in a new way. Learners don’t want repetition– learners want new. Learners want to interact with other learners around the world, just like Twitter & FaceBook users did in Sharknado.

Granted if you’re reading this, you get it, or at least I hope you do. The message is here, the message is clear, and the message is not going away: educators need to be different, educators need to be as creative and ridiculous as those from Sharknado, and educators need to be able to embrace both change and criticism.

Just for the record, Sharknado doubled its ratings in the second viewing, has been on every network getting coverage, and is making a sequel. The power of social media? Possibly. The power of embracing your audience and giving what they want? Certainly. Imagine that kind of impact you could have in your classroom.

Until next time, make sure your chainsaws are operational in case of any looming hurricanes.

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