John Green is the New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than a dozen languages.
In 2007, Green and his brother Hank ceased textual communication and began to talk primarily through videoblogs posted to YouTube. The videos spawned a community of people called nerdfighters who fight for intellectualism and to decrease the overall worldwide level of suck. (Decreasing suck takes many forms: Nerdfighters have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight poverty in the developing world; they also planted thousands of trees around the world in May of 2010 to celebrate Hank’s 30th birthday.)
Although they have long since resumed textual communication, the brothers continue to upload two videos a week to their YouTube channel, Vlogbrothers. Their videos have been viewed more than 200 million times, and their channel is one of the most popular in the history of online video. Green has more than 1.2 million followers.
Big Idea: “The Paper Town Phenomenon”
When we think of education as a school-based phenomenon, we do a disservice both to students and to the rest of us. Green argues that we should imagine education as a kind of cartography, and discuss how online communities are helping to build learning maps that will encourage students. From YouTube to tumblr to the Khan Academy, the line between education and entertainment is blurring, and as these tools reach more and more people. The youth of today are quietly becoming the best-informed, most intellectually engaged generation in world history.