To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #DoNowZeitgeist

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

Do Now

What events of the year have made the largest impact on your life? What events of 2013 will we still be talking about in five years?


From the typhoon in the Philippines to Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA, the events of 2013 have made an indelible mark on the world.

To look back at the triumphs, tragedies and trends, Google creates an annual Zeitgeist, a summary of the biggest events of the year as seen through the site’s search engine results. The result is a joyous, inspiring and sometimes tragic diary of what we’ve accomplished and endured over the last twelve months.

This year, PBS NewsHour Extra, the NewsHour’s educational resource site, has partnered with Google to offer students the opportunity to create their own Zeitgeist by compiling the events that have made the biggest impact on their lives using the storytelling tool Meograph.

“Zeitgeist,” a German word meaning the “spirit of the times,” refers to the events, people and works that encapsulate and define the greater mood of an era. What were the world events this year that affected you and your community?


Google video Zeitgeist 2012: Year In Review
See how the world searched with Google’s 2012 Zeitgeist:

To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #DoNowZeitgeist

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

Students should use the Meograph creator on the NewsHour Extra site to submit a story of what 2013 looked like to them. The students can use clips of news events, voice-overs, maps and photos. If you’re a teacher or interested parent, use our education resources to make this activity part of your classroom over the next week.

The best student story will win a Nexus 7 tablet, courtesy of Google, and will be featured on YouTube’s education channel and Google’s Google+ page. Submissions will be judged on newsworthyness, creativity and execution. The entries will be judged by participants from NewsHour Extra, Google and Meograph.

For more information on the Zeitgeist, how to use Meograph or details about the competition, use this NewsHour Extra guide.

KQED Do Now is produced in collaboration with PBS NewsHour Extra. This post was written by Allison McCartney of PBS NewsHour Extra.

  • John Miranda

    In my opinion, the event of the leak of NSA information would be my #1 on the list of the even of 2013 with the most impact. Conspiracy of information about the government and “spying” on its citizens is usually a hot topic in terms of conspiracies, and this event is another log in that fire. There is no doubt that there will continue to be people like Edward Snowden, and people who will leak more information in the future, and those who believe in doing so would use this event as possibly a milestone in their efforts to reveal the “information that must be given to the public.”

  • Stephanie Sanchez

    The NSA scandal was the biggest event this year that impacted my life. Knowing that the government has started watching everything people are doing online, I haven’t been on the internet for a while. I have also been watching everything I do and I’ve erased personal information about me. This event not only affects me, but people around the world. Now, people are having to watch everything they do online and have to make sure their personal information isn’t out there.

  • george carasis

    imo i believe that events in america can shock us as a whole and lower
    or system values. therefore everyone has importance and has a big impact
    so i personally cant say ones more important than another.

  • Tyler Ashbrook

    it seems that the past few years have been fairly crazy and out of control in terms of current events. this year especially has been filled with good, and bad, situations that have changed the way we view the world. I myself would have to stick with the positive events that would occur but i have been shocked by the bad just the same. on that note, i would say that the 50th anniversary of the doctor had the biggest impact on my life this year. there are a lot of reasons why i use this event and not just because the show is awesome. this show has evolved to suit the needs of entertainment very well and is able to be viewed differently by different people. This show gets people to think outside the box and i see that as a really important skill in today’s standards.

  • jenedra

    these yars have been crazy with the NSA scandal. also with the other stuff in the world its been dramatic effect on a lot of people

  • Sean

    I haven’t been keeping with whats been happening in the world for a while so… stuffs been going on and i have no idea what happened. the one thing i did hear about was the entire obamacare causing massive insurance loss to thousands of people. Then the NSA decided to start watching people. so yeah stuff happened

  • Alejandro 2BIG Viera


  • javier nunez

    I havent kept up wit these events so im just going to have to talk about one that ive sorta heard abour whitch is tha NSA i think thats a big one because the government actions were not the usual .

  • Victor Herrera

    The Biggest event of 2013 is The Lance Armstrong scandal and how he admitted to doping in all his seven of his Tour de France is a big event of 2013 and made a major impact on my life not only my life but people who look up to Lace and his fight against Testicular cancer and how he came to win seven Tour De Frances . He not only admitted to using drugs but he admitted to cheating , this will forever impact societies view on Lance Armstrong but also on the view on the his charity Live strong .He was then removed on the head board of his charity Live strong . We will talk about Lance Armstrong Every timer The Tour of France name is popped in a conversation , He will be the first person we will think about and talk about when someone says Tour of France . So we will be talking about this five years or even sooner then that .

  • William Cisneros

    The most influential news event of this year was the government shutdown. Coming from Utah where National Parks are a large part of the economy, the shutdown had a unique effect on Utah. Together as a state, we made a request to the President that we could keep these parks open with state money, as the parks play a large role in our economy and state’s income. I also knew many friends whose parents worked government positions and spent weeks without work. I don’t follow the news too often, but this was one news story that I began to become very familiar with over the course of the shutdown.

  • Adrian A.

    The biggest impact on me in 2013 is the discovery of water on Mars hue hue.

  • Michael Angelo Batio

    hue hue hue

  • Jae Hun

    UEFA Championship 2013 was most important. For me, I have been playing soccer since pre-school and these championships were really important for me. People who are passionate about soccer will watch UEFA and support their team.

  • Francesca Botto

    The most influential event of 2013, for me, was the bombings during the Boston Marathon. In addition to the fact that many innocent bystanders lost their lives, what really was tragic was the fallen athletes who were running for important causes (one being the Sandy Hook shooting). It’s terrible to think that all these people came together as a community, to support one another, just be to bombarded by the hate of two people

  • Caroline P

    One of the most influential events of 2013 was the Boston Marathon bombings. This horrific time brought our country together as we mourned the losses and injuries of the victims. Our nation showed resilience as moments of silence, remembrance runs, and the color red were popping up in every state. The reaction from our nation was inspiring and uplifting, and although this event was incredibly disheartening, our nation grew more unified because of it.

  • Alex M

    Something that impacted me a lot this year was the Government shutdown. It made me more aware of the current problems are country is facing and the state our government is in recently. Places shutting down and closing, especially the many National Parks where I live in Utah, definitely made an impact on my life. I knew people who went the entire shutdown with work or pay, which hit them very hard. I also learned a lot about how the Government works. This event taught me a lot and made me aware of our nations issues.

  • Nikki J.

    The Iran nuclear deals impacted me. My family is from Iran and it was hopeful hearing how relations between the Iran and the U.S. may be improving. Obama has been receiving backlash for his deal from Israel but in the long run, this deal will impact both the U.S. and Iran beneficially.

  • D corona

    The events that made an inpact in my life was the government shutdown and the NSA invading citizens privacy on the internet.The shutdown had giving a negative effect on our country. The government and state are going through issues and are having a hard time sloving the problems. Many people with jobs were loosing money and many problems rose up. After the whole issue with the NSA, they then started to spy on evryone on the internet. I really don’t use the internet and i am more cautious of what i put on the internet especially when it comes to anything personal. Everyone is being watch on th internet ,but these occurences happen when one person decides to spill what they shoulnd’t spill.

  • Megan Martinez

    The event that had the biggest impact on me would be the typhoon in the Philippines because I have family out there.

  • Ashley

    Obama care has had the largest impact on my life. I have heard so much about it and in all honesty, I’m not too fond of it, like most people. One of the ways it has effected me is that the job I have right now will only let me work a certain amount of hours so they don’t have to pay for insurance. I am getting insurance through my parents so that’s not a problem. The problem is that I don’t get to make as much money where I am now. I know people will be talking about Obama care for years to come.

  • Nina

    Obama care has had the largest impact on me as of today. I am not for it
    in any way I understand that Obama Care was made to be helpful but
    people are taking advantage of it. Also when the Government shut down.
    I’m not saying that everyone went crazy but it wasn’t the best thing
    that could have happened to us given the fact that we are in a lot of
    debt, it needed to happen.

  • Brandon Peterson

    The NSA leaking is the biggest politcal event of the year. It will have lasting implications on many politcal affairs, and has shed light on what our government thinks it can do. That being said, I don’t care if the government sees what I do on the internet. I do care, however, that they can get away with doing so. By breaking our constitutional rights, as well as other nations sovereignty, what more can they do to press our rights away, what our country was founded upon. This will not go away, and politians will be discussing this for years to come, as it has changed the worlds view on the U.S.

  • Brandon C

    The events that had the most impact? Well the national events such as the leak of NSA information and the forwarding of Obamacare were certainly important happenings. However I’m a typical high-school student. Most of these things don’t affect me because I’m either not in a position to enjoy (suffer) these events or they just seem so far away that I don’t really care. The things that really stick would probably be more on the lines of new game releases and the such. Unfortunately world issues such as floods or illegal spying just take the back seat to many highschooler’s lives as “someone else’s problem”. Sad, but probably not going to change anytime soon.

  • dianna u.

    One of the major events that has had the largest impact on me in 2013 was the Boston Marathon Bombing. Through the last serval years there has been a lot on the news about triable mayhem for example Sandy Hook, Aurora Shooting, etc. This year in April I was in shock why out of all places for a bomb would be a marathon of innocent people trying to reach a goal. I feel this is one of the major events that has effected me the most of 2013 because I realised that its a great tradergy, for Boston, America and just human beings in genral. In the spring of 2013 I joined track and field, which is one of my first teams/sport. For months I had trained a lot and I realized something’s people were effected that day. Hearing the news about the bombing just made me angry how the hard work of people was destroyed like that. Training takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s also a disgrace that it attacked a lot of innocent people.

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  • sean.leonard

    here is a list of things I remember about 2013…
    — obamacare
    — government shutdown
    — the avengers
    — nelson mandela died
    — several shootings
    — what does the fox say?
    there were many more, but those are the ones that I remember off the top of my head.
    I’m sure there are more positive things, but still you can’t deny that this year has been a crazy one.

  • Avisha sabaghian

    The events that have made the most impact in my life this year have been:
    1. Malala Yousafzai’s story and her impact.
    2. The release of information about the NSA.
    Both these incidents will also influence me through the next 5 years as they’re political and humanitarian and I plan to major in politics. Hence both incidents will have a lasting influence on my decisions.


Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.

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