edzedomega

The “students” in EdZedOmega are doing a documentary-like social project with hypothetical students dropping out of school.

lizabethdavis is an actress.

I have wasted my time trying to correspond with an actress when I thought I was corresponding with a student in a genuine manner.  Someone who claimed to want to be part of our community.

Instead, this project wants to use the teachers in the #education community as tools for their fake project.  

When florescentink first presented me with these names as “student bloggers” she presented them as actual students.  This is fraudulent.  

I am beyond livid.  We have spent many of the past few days trying to open ourselves to new student voices and be more accommodating, and all this criticism we received was so someone could get their project off the ground.

And don’t tell me that “the discussion if fruitful!” and “they have real points!”  

NO.  Nothing these people ever say can ever be trusted again.  They are using the tumblr platform and antagonizing the good people of the #education community for their agenda, not to actually be part of it.  

They would have real points of they were REAL PEOPLE.  

Done.  

Thoughts on science education, why it's important, and how it ought to change

(Photo: Inspection Institute Aeronautical Science Group, NASA)

On the Ed Zed Omega site, this article popped up. It’s about why kids “hate” school, and why certain subjects are useless to teach. I agree with the article, for the most part. Strauss isn’t saying that the subjects themselves aren’t valuable - her concern is with the way the subjects are taught, the way they are presented to students. Many of the subjects taught in high school are, in my opinion, too specialized. Much too specialized for general education, and not on target for preparatory education (as in, prep for college). Strauss mentions other subjects besides physics, chemistry, biology, etc., but it’s science education that I’ve been thinking about today, so that’s what I’m writing about.

Our society as a whole is already profoundly ignorant of science, what it does, how it works. I often hear/see people expressing distrust of scientists much in the way we distrust lawyers or con artists - like there’s some “trick” to science. A friend of mine even said to me once, “Why should we believe these astronomers, telling us about things we can’t see with our eyes, instead of believing what the bible tells us?” (Yes, I almost dropped dead when she said that to me. I admit it.)

When I worked at Space Center Houston, I often had people ask me questions about the “anti-gravity room” (there isn’t one - gravity is a fact of life, yo - you can’t just flip a switch and turn it off) or other questions that a general knowledge of science would have already answered for them. I don’t mind answering science questions! I love answering them! But even back then, it disturbed me to realize how very, very ineffective our high school science curriculum is in terms of general education.

There are so many better ways to teach science and instill a curiosity and an appreciation for it without making it so specialized as to exclude those students who don’t intend to make science their career. Instead of Chemistry -> Biology -> Physics, why not make a requirement of general science seminars for those who don’t want to take the more specialized courses?

What exactly do I mean by general science seminars? That sounds very collegiate, doesn’t it? What I mean is, have a class where students are learning about science - about the methods, about the history, about the theories, but without the formulas and problems. Have them read science blogs. Have them read Galileo’s biography. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe. Marie Curie’s biography. Richard Feynman’s What Do You Care What Other People Think?. Carl Sagan’s Comet. Dava Sobel’s Longitude.

I could make a reading list that would give students more exposure to science, more curiosity and inspiration, than they will ever get in chemistry lab. I learned more about science reading those and other books than I ever did in high school physics. Part of the reason is because I didn’t have any passion for numbers or formulas or E=mc^2. You know what made me passionate about math and numbers and inspired me to take calculus classes and start working on a B.S. in physics? Carl Sagan’s Contact. It’s a novel, it’s fiction, but it connects the reader so deeply to the idea of beauty in mathematics that suddenly those things you learned in high school physics become romantic and wonder-filled.

After reading Elegant Universe, my heart still beats faster at the thought of the massive gap in our knowledge where relativity and quantum mechanics is concerned. If you don’t know what I mean, read his book. Your life will never, ever be the same, I promise you.

And here’s the thing. None of these books I’ve mentioned (among so many, many others) require a student to have a working knowledge of the science that they talk about. These books are written for the lay person, someone who has no scientific background. They are written purposefully to explain the wonder of science, the why of it. In other words, these books and others like them are perfect for a general science seminar.

Science is cool. Science is beautiful and dangerous and wondrous. So why, why, WHY do we send our young students into learning chemical formulas and physics equations without first giving them a reason to care, without first grounding them in the momentous human experience that is our history of science?

If I were teaching a general science course (and oh, now I want to, more than anything! who will let me teach them?), I would assign general readings, and I would have the students go out and read about any science-y thing that interested them. They would come back and teach the class (and me, perhaps!) what they discovered in their own little science nook. We would read history. We would watch broadcasts from CERN. We wouldn’t memorize formulas or work equations - we would read Einstein’s letters and learn why those equations were important and how they came to be.

If I’d had such a course to take before diving into chemistry and physics in high school, I might have had a better idea of what, really, I was doing there. When we do science, we truly do stand on the shoulders of all the other generations of scientists before us. But how can we know all of that without a solid course of reading in science history? All I remember of science history is little blurbs in the side margins of my school books. (Guess what I liked best to read in those books!) We’re doing it all wrong - don’t expect the science student to have naturally come to an appreciation of science. Let’s instill that and make science education mean something more than equations on a chalkboard.

5 students are dropping out of school. It’s up to you to determine what happens and what they chose to learn about the experience.

Created by Ken Eklund (Writerguy), and funded by the Corporation for Public BroadcastingEd Zed Omega (EZΩ) aims to create an alternate reality game (ARG) for all audiences. Through a mixture of Facebook, text messages, voicemail and other “transmedia” tools, the story of EZΩ will unfold in real time based on player input. Players and in game characters will collaborate and discuss the education system in the 21st century, with the hope of reexamining what “education” means. In the end, players and the game’s characters have the potential of recreating what education will look like in the future.

From Ken Eklund, EdZedOmega's director

Giving you permission here to have irate comments from #education directed to me at my personal email address. I’d put it on Tumblr, but per your instructions no one would believe me.

Sorry you were hoaxed, that was never our intention with anyone. – Ken 

His e-mail is writerguy@writerguy.com, if you have anything you want to share with him.  

School is…

…an archaic paradigm founded in social, economic and religious expectations which no longer reflect the needs and desires of current learners.

I remain a teacher in what sometimes seems to be a very broken system because I want to be part of the metamorphosis of schools. And because of my deep belief in the human spirit which deserves to be honored for its many expressions.

Edwina holds up one of the whiteboards that collected people’s views about school during the Zed Omegas’ “School Map" activity at the Walker Art Center. – Alan

Guess what? MN has cool high schools.

I know this is weird coming from someone who never went to high school…but I wanted to share this. Some of the ed zed kids: Xavier, Lizzie, Nicole, and I, were talking about charter high schools in MN, and specifically ones that specialized in a certain topic, such as the arts. So I did a little googling, and look at this list I came up with! Check them out! 

Some of these sound like so much fun to go to. I know I just started my senior year, but I’m tempted to go to one! haha. Not sure which one I’d pick though. That’s a good point. How do these kids who are like 14 decide they want to go to a specialized school? I don’t even know where I want to go to college Also, who goes to high school for agriculture???

I had heard of a few of these already of course—I have a few friends who go to Eagle Ridge which is close to my house. I’d probably go there if I were to go to school just because of the convenience. And I like the classical education since that’s kind of what I’ve been doing through homeschooling. Maybe I’ll write more on that later. I have two friends who go to the performing arts school in Hopkins, too, and I know they absolutely love it. I wish I was artsy. haha maybe they should have fashion design high school! I might go there…

High School for Recording Arts http://www.hsra.org/

School of Environmental Studies http://www.district196.org/ses/

Academy for Sciences and Agriculture  http://www.agacademy.com/se3bin/clientschool.cgi?schoolname=school393

Eagle Ridge Academy http://www.eagleridgeacademy.org/

Nova Classical Academy http://www.novaclassical.org/

Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists http://spcpa.org/

Main Street School of Performing Arts http://www.msspahs.org/

Perpich Center for Arts Education http://www.pcae.k12.mn.us/ahs/ahs.html

A success story about pursuing your passion, in this case creating mash-up fanfic collages.

"I remember looking at them and saying to myself “I’m going to sit at this computer, until I get THAT GOOD. I’m going to do it.” And I did! I opened Photoshop, something I had been using here-and-there since middle school, and just went at it. Trying to learn everything I could, I spent all of my free time – and I mean all of it – on the computer creating website after website and collage after collage! Today, I’m a web designer and front-end web developer.” – Megan Orsi

– Alan

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LIzzie Davis to Clare Morgan

"Grades don’t matter, what matters is the films that you make"

Edwina says: My top ten –

http://the-unschooler-s-journal.tumblr.com/
This post inspired me to pursue the idea of “unschooling”, making me realize there are infinitely more options to get an education. 

http://edzedomega.org/post/29993868921/making-leaving-school-work
I LOVED this post!! It made me so happy that someone else supported our/my decision to drop out, and that there IS life beyond being called a “drop out”. 

http://edzedomega.org/post/30520759351/lisa-i-felt-duped
This post was slightly frustrating at first, however I realized that it frustrated me because it was a combination of support, but also a kick in the pants as well. We dropped out yes, but now we need to make plans!

http://edzedomega.org/post/31406807272/education-really-is-the-job-of-a-lifetime-david-foster-w
This post was small, but inspiring. I appreciate the message. 

http://athousandlittleletters.tumblr.com/post/32132617945/when-i-was-a-teenager-i-hated-the-nonsense
I REALLY related to this post, mostly because I am older than most of the Ed Zeds, and I am nowhere near the same person I was when I was eighteen. I have different ideas, goals, and different sense of reality. 

http://edzedomega.org/post/32395254140/unschool-open-your-mind
This video is FANTASTIC!! Really supports the idea of independence, learning throughout your lifetime, and the idea of the FREEDOM to learn what we want. 

http://edzedomega.org/post/32887635415/who-decided-all-students-taught-standardized-curriculum
Yes, who did decide that?

http://edzedomega.org/post/33183368748/able-to-read-but-unable-to-distinguish
Another one of those small posts, but something that both made me laugh and made me say, ABSOLUTELY!

http://edzedomega.org/post/34226610607/high-school-stability-away-from-unstable-home
This post I loved because it was after our first event at the Walker, and they left a message at a corner of the map that I felt was an important aspect of high school that people remember, usually in a negative way. 

http://edzedomega.org/post/34166107334/upset-reaction-dropout-uncollege-riseout
I definitely could continue on with more of my favorites, this one was a reflection of a drop out of college, also a visitor of our map  :-)

Watch on edzedomega.org

Start at 2:30.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes education important to each of us as individuals. Recently Xavier posted a video about a Somali student who transferred to a charter school and how she felt like she was part of a family.

It instinctively made me think of this small scene from Boy Meets World. Which I hope you have seen, if not I’m sorry for your lost childhood.

Mr. Feeny and Cory are discussing education and what it really means. It’s a rather tender moment.

-Edwina

Crowdsource education - give everyone access to the best teachers

Hi Zed-Omegas! Thought you might be interested in this: young guy, didn’t drop out of high school, but wasn’t thrilled with it either and so wanted to do something about it. So instead of continuing on to college, he pursued an idea he actually *came up with* in high school - to crowdsource education. In a pretty innovative way. Check this story out… – Debbie

Free Advice from a Fellow Dropout – by Brent
 
Dear Teens Young Adults who are Dropping Out Loud:

Were this the “real world” I would speak as a responsible adult. I would spout platitudes and nonsense about how terrific an “education” is. I would tell you you will not be able to survive, that you will fail, that you are making a great mistake. I would try to induce you to stick with school.

But this is not real…

Since this is not real, I will tell you what I could not lawfully tell individuals who, like yourselves, are around 16 or 17 years old and suffering from the “disability of minority”. You know, “kids”.

Leave while you are able. Run. Run fast and do not look back.

Really.

Make sure you do not look back for an instant. If you look back, you may start to miss some of the things you had before you left. You may miss “must haves” like food, clean water, shelter and clothing. You may miss things you simply want – relatively decent housing, maybe your own bedroom, a computer, electronic toys, junk food and maybe some money in your pocket…

I know high school can be boring, seemingly pointless, and quite terrible for some of you. Had I known then what I know now, I would have ignored the degreed, “educated adults” in my life. I would have talked to some people who were really with it. I would have talked to those who worked all their lives, got educated in each their own way, and somehow survived to face the last stages of their lives.

Really.

Talk to some “old folks”. Ask them questions about what mistakes they made in their lifetimes. Ask them about the good things they did for themselves. Ask them about their schooling, their work, their families, and also about their social and economic status at various points in their lives. Ask them if they are satisfied with what they did – do not ask if they are “happy” – just ask if they are satisfied. Ask them many questions, listen to their answers, and then ask some more…

Really.

Are you making the same errors they made? Are you doing the same things they did to “succeed”? Are you willing to do what they did? Are you willing to refrain from doing what they did? Are you willing to do things and experience things they did not?

Are you certain about your own answers?

I know high school can be boring, seemingly pointless and even terrible. I know this to be true because I dropped out of high school after my junior year for each of those reasons. For me, dropping out was a grave mistake.

I dropped out in order to drop into college.

Really.

I have a BS, a JD and an MA. I am at least 35 years older than each of you. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have wasted quite so much time on “book learning”…

Give the words of all who are responding to you consideration, and keep this in mind — free advice is sometimes worth less than what you pay for it (even mine). Consider the messages, and be certain tothen judge the messengers – are they they type of individual you are or wish to be?

I wish all of you the very best, no matter what your ultimate decision may be. – Brent

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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

We can do BOTH: FIRST, "Release the inner splendour". THEN, "Fill the empty vessel"

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire"

– Wm. Butler Yeats

" - - to KNOW
Rather consists in opening out a way,
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light  
Supposed to be without.” –

Paracelsus, Robt. Browning

"Let the main object of this, our didactic, be as follows: To seek and to find a method of instruction, by which teachers may teach less and learners may learn more.” 

– The Great Didactic of Comenius (1628-1632)

~ Scott

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We have a big Somali community in the Minneapolis area. Some students in a charter school talk about what it’s like when a family member drops out – a story to follow on to the one airing tonight on Frontline, “Dropout Nation.” 

This video is just one of two! Check out the other one on YouTube. – Alan