FETC 2012! Here, now! Not really, but at FETC 2009 I was asked to do the closing keynote with a projection into 2012– fun challenge. (I’ll put that presentation online eventually.) It was the opportunity to try something new. So the way this big show (7,000+ folks) closed was with videos made on the cellphones of attendees. Here how it worked: As you know, FilmOnTheFly is a video challenge that is both time and place based. Educators register online (thank you, Google Docs) by providing a text message address. At an unannounced time, they are sent a text message with a mediamaking prompt. They make the videos on their cells (or other handy media devices) then upload the video to their online account (YouTube, MediaShare), typically also from their cell. We check them out, then show the videos on the big screen. This idea was born out of the California Student Media & Multimedia Festival which I hosted for many years and now is the brainchild of Janet English. On Friday at FETC, the challenge sent out was “White light bathes you from above.Voice: We will destroy Earth unless you show something unique where you are right now. FETCFOTF” FETCFOTF was the tag so we could find the upload.We got some fun ones. By the time the message went out, it was 11:30 PM Eastern time–so we got lots of people in pajamas. Some text messages didn’t go through until 7:00 AM, documented here. Favorites: A woman announcing there must be something wrong with her for participating, then turning off the light. One video came from Second Life. Dennis Grice did a wild 30-second video that involved sock puppets practicing Hamlet (an inside joke), the Mythbusters, cardboard pictures, and a multitude of voices. North Dakota was first in with fuzzy slippers–automatically endearing. Since it worked on Friday, we tried again on Saturday with the prompt” What was the best thing about FETC?”. Some showed mock panic. Two from Savannah blended sci-fi with a recitation of earth’s beauty. Those I found too late. Turns out the tag feature in YouTube takes more than 8 hours–not helpful. The Final video used speech bubbles. Cool. Those inspired videos closed the show. Great moment came when I showed the uploaded video list on YouTube, including an error message on one: Video No Longer Available. A women shot up out of her seat in the large arena, yelled “It’s there!” and, when asked, rushed up to the stage where she logged onto her account and showed the video. It featured her cat as the reason to spare the earth. It summed up exactly the kind of enthusiasm media generates in people–teacher and students alike. When someone runs fearlessly on stage, you know you have tapped into something deep. Remember that, and let those students massage those great editable clips in DiscoveryEducation streaming. It’s the perfect beginning.