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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
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…
And thus is ends, not with a bang, but with a vague, semi-calculated movement toward something new. Hey, at least it’s not a whimper.
Lizzie got us on video. I’m working on a video of my own…
P.s. Update: I am making the move to Minneapolis
(What are they doing?! They’re making big cookie-cutter people in preparation for the Zed Omega “HIGH SCHOOL ME” evening at the Walker Art Center…. – A)
Jeremy embraces the writing on the wall during the Zed Omegas’ first activity at the Walker, School Map. – Alan
Jeremy knows his Magritte, as well as his Bulwer-Lytton. He prepared this mighty pen for the silhouette of his High School Me to wield, at the Ten Open House at the Walker Art Center in November. - Alan
At our Walker event, a teacher left a message* about how he loved high school and how great all the things he did were like sports and clubs and stuff. But then Jeremy asked him about his job and he got into it about how he wasn’t not so sure his students’ experience is all that great, like it was for him. HUH. INTERESTING.
* 612-756-ZEDS (9337). Ahem, what are you waiting for.
I walked into a bookstore in Minneapolis the other day. I just wanted to look around and see if there was anything that sparked my interest…and there was. When I walked in, I saw a girl behind the counter reading White Teeth, by Zadie Smith. She was probably in her mid 20s, short black and red hair, big thick rimmed glasses, small nose stud… I didn’t really pay much attention to her and I continued to peruse. I sat down across the store from her with a Wordsworth anthology and dedicated the following hour or so to reading it. Just for fun. I saw a few people come and go and the woman lifted her eyes from her book occasionally to say hello to them. Then it hit me…I could probably do that! I could read books and occasionally say hi to people! I mean, I had just spent an hour doing essentially the same thing as the person working did except I was there for leisure and she was getting paid. Who cares if it’s only $7.25 an hour? It would be fun!
So I went up to the woman and asked her if she liked her job. She said exactly what I hoped she would say. She said “Well, I basically get paid to read books, show people where books are, and ring people out.” She said in an average day, she usually gets about 100-150 pages in. That sounded pretty sweet, so I just asked. I asked if they were hiring and yada yada yada, I have an interview on Sunday.
Now this puts me in somewhat of a precarious situation. I do not live in Minneapolis. I live in Elk River. With my MOM. Luckily, on November 9th, I will no longer be a minor, so I will legally be able to move out. (Happy biiiiiirthdaaay toooo meee!) I also have almost a grand saved up and a running ‘96 Saturn Sc2. I found a couple studios near MCTC for about 400 per month which will be just about what I should gross part time in a 2 week paycheck. This leaves 400-500 per month for whatever else I need. The bookstore is within biking distance of these apartments, so I shouldn’t have to worry about gas or insurance and I could sell the car if I ever needed to. I know it’s not a lot, but I don’t really want much more.
If I do get the job and I can’t get into my own place because I don’t have rental history or my mom won’t co-sign, I could also just rent a room from someone. In fact, that might be even better. It would be cheaper and I would have more freedom to leave if I wanted to.
I do hope I get the job. It’ll force me to at least get out of Elk River. I wouldn’t be traveling, but that probably wouldn’t be as much fun in the winter anyway. For now, this is what I hope to do. Wish me luck on Sunday! Wish me luck explaining to my mom that I’m moving out if I get the job! Wish me happy birthday!
(1) “My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” I love this TED talk. If you’ve never watched one before, this is a good one to start on. He asserts that creativity is one of the most necessary things in education. He also says that it is difficult to be creative if we fear making mistakes. Since our education system treats mistakes as the worst thing you can make, he says that as a result, kids are being educated out of their creative capacities. This is good stuff and one of my favorite posts.
(2) This post is very insightful. 2Pac, at my age, knew what’s up… And even though it’s almost 25 years later, it still makes sense.
(3) I couldn’t agree with this more. Since the new normal of our world is changing at an exponential rate, we can’t possibly know what topics teachers should be teaching their students to prepare them for the real world. We have no idea what things will be like in 15 years, when the 2nd grader will enter the work force. 6 years ago, twitter didn’t even exist. 7 years ago, most people had never heard of Facebook. 8 years ago, less than half of the developed world used the internet. 11 years ago, most people in the developed world didn’t have cell phones. And yet now, almost every industry is effected by these things. The people who were brilliant in using these things to their advantage in their companies didn’t learn to do so in school, they just had a capacity to learn. They were creative. That’s the kind of sh** we should be learning in school.
(4) I am not particularly interested in the sciences myself, at least not much more than the average curiosity. However, this story is quite inspirational. It makes me think that project based learning might be something to think about. http://edzedomega.org/tagged/zy#!/post/31782218243/learning-with-rockets
(5) “You see, Mr. Matthews, education is not about obscure facts and little test scores. Education is about the overall effect of years of slow absorption, concepts, philosophies, approaches to problem solving. The whole process is so grand and all-encompassing that it really can’t be threatened by the occasional late night no-hitter.”
(6) Maybe this is something that will help people to stop judging others based solely on degrees and diplomas. Some idiots graduate high school. Some geniuses do not. When will people realize that graduation is not a proper indicator for competitive aptitude?
(7) It’s kind of corny, but the fact that it’s clichéd does not mean that it’s untrue. http://edzedomega.org/post/31271696551/the-difference-between-school-and-life
(8) I love Louis CK. Sometimes he hits on profound truths, other times he just talks about how it’s hard to expel fecal matter in a small bathroom. This one, however, is a good one. http://edzedomega.org/post/30243381218/you-are-not-bored
(9) The math doesn’t really work, but it’s still funny…
(10) This email about “citizenship” got me going a bit. My reply is included in the post.
(11) This guy was interesting. He’s a teacher and fully aware of the shortcomings in the system.
So I know that this entire movie is romantic, idealized, and entirely unrealistic, but although it’s situationally hyperbolic, the heart of the idea is still true. - Jeremy
What We Did at the Walker Art Center
Okay so you’re probably wondering by now, “What’s the deal with those voice mails at EdZedOmega.org?” and, “What are the Zed Omegas talking about when they talk about the “map thing” that they did at the Walker Art Center…?
Well here’s a little explanation.
And even though you may not be able to come stand on our map with us, you CAN call the number and tell us where you stand on the subject of high school. (Did you have love it? Did you hate it? Both? Neither?) WHAT’S YOUR HIGH SCHOOL STORY?
…and leave us a message!
Xavier, Jeremy and Lizzie listen as a HSRA student tells her high school story. The High School for the Recording Arts invited the Zed Omegas to come talk with them in October 2012 about what high school was, is, and should be…. lots of straight talk. “School is my way out,” one student said. – Alan G.