Thursday, May 15, 2008

Doodle My Google

Or should I say leggo my eggo? Well I’ll “leggo” because Google is just about to wrap up a really cool promotion called “Doodle 4 Google” The promotion is actually a competition to “reinvent Google’s homepage logo.” Google asked kids to create new “themed” Google homepages around the idea of, “What if…?” A national winner will replace the usual Google homepage on May 22, 2008. This is similar to Google creating “specially themed” pages for holidays such as July 4, New Years, Earth Day, etc.

See this link for full information and a chance to vote for the winners.

A few thoughts here:
1) the work is really good and not just from the high school category. Even the K-3rd graders did some really good stuff (and unlike Bloggerman, they were able to stay in the lines).

2) is this a wonderful opportunity for the students to have a creative outlet for their expressions or is it simply a corporate giant further drilling their “brand name” into the youngest and most impressionable minds?

Obviously the second of the two items needs to be addressed but I don’t know which way I lean…shocker as it may be that I don’t have an opinion on a topic! On one hand today children don’t get nearly enough art training because they are consumed with standardized testing (thank you no-child-left behind). This provides them not only a new outlet to explore their creativity but also makes them think about an existing entity (Google homepage) and how to modify it to fit their question of “What if…” Instead of drawing self-portraits, rainbows, or fruit bowls they can create whatever their brains can think of.

On the other hand, Google is tapping these kids and their ideas to further market their suite of products. Think about it this way, if Coke came to schools with a national contest called “What if I could buy the world a Coke?” and asked teachers and administrators to have all students create and submit an artistic entry. Would everybody comply? If you were in a lead position in the schools wouldn’t you raise your “red flag” and say “wait a minute….what does the school/students get out of this deal” Or instead of Coke say, the producers of American Idol tried to do the same thing….clearly a no go.

So why was Google allowed to have their name in front of all these kids? Is it because they aren’t selling a product (directly anyway)? I don’t know but something about all this bothers me deep down. I think it’s the whole “I can’t stay inside the lines” thing. I’ll have to stay with the Shrinky Dinks.

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