Hang on a second while we grab that post for you.
This public media "authentic fiction" sought to crowdsource perspectives about education today. The Zed Omega teens, played by actors, "dropped out loud" from high school -- catalyzing open discussion about the structures and purpose of traditional education and its alternatives. The arc of each Zed Omega character was unscripted: they responded to ideas that people presented. The collaborative thought experiment and "interactive documentary" was live on social media during fall semester 2012. (-Learn more-) (-Credits-) (-Facebook-) (-Twitter-)
Press: WIRED / ARGN - Current - NCME1 - NCME2 - Center for the Future of Museums - StoryForward - AIR -Games for Change - MPR - Sparknotes
The Zed Omegas: six teens who dropped out of high school to explore other, better ways to learn… Ed Zed Omega: this innovative, interactive, immersive public media project explained by the actors behind the Zed Omegas. Check it out on YouTube…
If you are a high school junior or senior, and come a fall semester you announce you’re not going back to school, certain things may happen.
After the heart attacks, threats and bluster, you can get down to business. People can start to talk realistically to you about school, what it’s good for and what it isn’t. You find people are moved to share their own school experiences with you. People may begin to listen to the reasons you’re done with school. Being a “zed omega” teen, you find, opens the doors of perception to the realities of education for many kids.
Good thing, too: Education tends to be one of those “emperor’s new clothes” topics, full of polarized issues and unquestioned assumptions. And you turn out to be the child in the fable, pointing to the way things really are.
What did this public media project discover? Peruse our archive, and you’ll find these themes:
YOU SILLY KIDS.
CONFORMITY AND INDUSTRIALIZED ED - 1.
CONFORMITY AND INDUSTRIALIZED ED - 2.
TEEN CARE. BY TEENS.
CREATIVITY AND DIVERSITY – NOT.
FIRMLY FACING THE PAST.
ACCREDITATION TRUMPS LEARNING.
OMG, I FAILED.
CHECK-OUTS AND THE ACCOMPLISHED CHILD.
YOU OBLIVIOUS KIDS.
The Ed Zed Omega story begins with six teens self-identified as “unlikely” or “very unlikely” to finish high school. Their reasons all had to do with school itself, not with external factors. Ed Zed Omega is the name they invented for a semester-long “independent study” project examining why kids like themselves are deeply unsatisfied with school. At the end of fall semester 2012, they decided whether or not to go back to school.
JEREMY: How do you feel about the statement: ‘Work experience, relevant experience is valued much more than a degree in that field [fashion design]’?
NORA: I think that’s probably true… It’s just so hard to know how to get the work experience without the degree. It’s just so hard to start. I think in a lot of fields people just go to school and get a degree because they think it’s the easy way to get started. Even though it’s not necessary. Or necessarily helps them to be successful.JEREMY: … Why don’t your socks match?
Ed Zed Omega is a collaborative thought experiment about education. What if six teens drop out of high school, very open about their reasons? Can people help this turn out well? The Zed Omega characters seemed real because the young actors playing them were channeling aspects of their real-life experience – and were unscripted: they reacted authentically to the advice they got and the school stories they heard.
“Agree with them or not, the Zed Omegas asked the questions that got people talking about how and what young people should learn. Their presence brought vital questions about purposes and methods of school out of the abstract into the immediate and real.”
A true transmedia project, Ed Zed Omega happened organically on social media, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and in live events. The Zed Omegas gathered hundreds of likes, touched thousands of people and registered hundreds of thousands of impressions. If education is to keep pace with changes to our economy, society and culture, it needs new, more inclusive ways to frame its discussions about what it must become. Is it preparing students for successful jobs and lives in the hyperconnected 21st century?
Ed Zed Omega gathered 800 “signals” about education on the edzedomega.org site. You can take one of the Zed Omega “Top Ten” tours, or browse the archive or search by tag, but now that you know the story, why not just free-explore the grand array?
Ed Zed Omega is a template for a new framework of interaction.
Students: you can go “zed omega” with your own inquiry into what education is for and how people like you learn best. All the Zed Omegas will tell you the experience opened their eyes wide as to what traditional education does and does not do. They felt inspired by the powerful stories they heard about alternate ways of learning, and empowered to take charge of their futures by shaping their educations to fit. Knowledge is power!
Teachers, schools, and others concerned about education: use the Ed Zed Omega idea to create a dialog about school and how best to improve it. The Zed Omegas illustrate how to frame the discussion in a way that engages the student voice. Using the existing stories, you can create a narrative space in which all stakeholders can have their say.
We will be continuing to develop the Ed Zed Omega idea. Watch for our web video series to come online this summer. To inquire about having the Zed Omegas teleconference with your fellow students or with your school this fall, contact us.
Yep. Here’s the article itself.
It’s been quite an incredible year in the education space. While we’ve witnessed a surge in the number of politicians with no education experience make decisions on how schools should run and a wider adoption of nonsensical ideas like the “flipped classroom” and value-added teacher evaluations, there have been some memorable, equation-changing events and initiatives that have emerged.
So, let’s highlight five of the most extraordinary things that happened in education in 2012:
- The Students Speak Out
- Alternatives to Higher Education
- Caine’s Arcade
- Chicago Teachers Strike
- Massively Open Online Courses—MOOCs
Illustration by Corinna Loo
Sense-making, social intelligence, novel & adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competency, computational thinking, new-media literacy, transdisciplarity, design mindset, cognitive load management, virtual collaboration. These are the 10 skills needed for the future workforce. For a full report, see the work done by Apollo Research Institute (formerly the University of Phoenix Research Institute) looking at the Skills Needed by 2020. Asummery of the report and detailed findings about each of the skills are also available.
The related, Shape of Jobs to Come: Possible New Careers Emerging from Advances in Science and Technology (2010 – 2030) full study from FastFuture is also very insightful (summary of study). I wonder, though, how long it will be until we no longer see the first new shape, “Body Parts Maker,” as a bit funny and out of this world.
In my last post I wrote of evidence that children’s creativity has declined over the past two or three decades, a period during which children’s lives, both in and out of school, have become increasingly controlled and regulated by adult authorities. Here, now, is some further evidence that freedom—including freedom from unasked-for evaluation—is an essential element to the blooming of creativity. —
Read more from Peter Gray in Psychology Today
“The results of these experiments were quite consistent. In experiment after experiment, the participants who made the most creative products were those who did not know that their products would be evaluated. They were the ones just playing, not concerned about judgments or rewards.
"In physically demanding tasks, like lifting heavy weights, and in tedious tasks, like counting beans, we do better when we are being evaluated than when we are not. But in tasks that require creativity, or new insights, or new learning, we do better when we are not being evaluated—when we are just playing, not stressed, not afraid of failure."
Well, it’s my last video. It’s been such a crazy ride! Thanks so much to everybody to helped us out. Can’t believe it’s over!
I’m gonna miss you guys…
"You have to connect with your teachers. If you don’t care about your teachers, they can’t care about you back."
This message left at the Zed Omega Hotline – 612-756-ZEDS (9337) – by someone tracing out their high school path among the islands on our School Map. Call and tell us your school story!
No audio? Firefox? Aagh. Try a different browser.
(Here’s my last video. there’s a clip of 12 year old Lizzie in here!)
The past semester and my plans for the future :)