You may have seen news footage about the video showing the golden eagle snatching a baby from a park in Montreal. If you haven't, I am embedding it here. Here's what I am interested in: the assignment.
According to the BBC:
A Canadian animation college has revealed its students created a video which appeared to show a Golden Eagle snatching a baby.It was made by students of Montreal's Centre NAD, as part of their work towards a degree in 3D Animation and Digital Design.The video received millions of hits on YouTube and rapidly spread
across social networks, with many people believing it to be real.
I saw an interview with the two filmmakers behind it. It came from an assignment their professor gave them to make a popular video using special effects and post it on You Tube. To get an "A," students had to get 100,000 hits in their number of the viewers.
These students went on to YouTube to see what kinds of videos tended to get the most hits. They found that videos about animals and/or children were the most popular. They decided to make a video that would incorporate both popular subjects. These guys far surpassed the 100,000 viewer goal with (at the time of this posting), more than 23 million viewers.
Besides the fact that the video covered popular subject areas, the video also went viral because so many people wanted to analyze it to determine if it was real. These two student filmmakers said they got incredible feedback on their work and learned more about animation from the experience than they would have in a contained assignment with the limited feedback of classroom peers and thier teacher.
This assignment offers an example of how powerful education can be when its shared with a global audience. The trick in education is making more "golden eagle" assignments.