Monday, April 2, 2012

April Fool!

I am not a huge fan of April Fool's tricks, but I do enjoy Google's famous annual pranks. They used to have just one or two, but they have begun to announce a range of silly innovations each April 1, one for each of their products.

This video is a compilation of four of the video "announcements" from this year:

Exploring Google's April Fool's pranks can make for a good language lesson!

Language Lens:
-The video provides a good context to explore descriptive schema and describe each of the four products: Chrome, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube.  Kids will know a lot about them, and you can scaffold their description of the tools' function, associations, and sequence of how they are used.  Teaching expository text structures in this way can generalize so that students can use them in other contexts.
-This video lends itself to discussion of social use of humor and using a 5-Point Scale of "What's Funny?" There's a great one in The Social Times, but you can easily make one with your kids, the variables being WHO thinks a joke is funny (progressively fewer people, with a 5 being "no one"), and progressively increasing offensive content/stereotyping/swearing/potential to harm others, and potential consequences. We noticed that the Google Maps prank veered toward the stereotyping side, with only people of Asian descent being depicted as interested in the "new item."
-Scaffold the students' understanding of the commonality in the pranks- all present tech innovations that are actually a step backward, or more than a step.


  1. My favorite linguistically was the "Google Really Advanced Search" feature:

    You can search by filtering for "subtext or innuendo," "gerund," "intersection of phrases," and "calque or loanword origin."

    Sadly it doesn't actually work but its fun to look through all the drop-down menus to see all the filter options ;)