Things are going to be moving quickly over the coming days as we count down towards the launch of our beautiful new learning platform. We have been working with an amazing team of web designers and believe that users will be suitably impressed by the end result. Here are some important announcements:
A NEW NAME. After a good deal of debate, our online learning community and website will go by the name Out of Eden Learn. Some of the students in our pilot study came up with some great alternative ideas. However, we ultimately decided to go with a short, snappy name that signals our close collaboration with Paul Salopek.
A NEW EMAIL. Our new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use this address from now on for inquiries related to Out of Eden Learn. Dedicated Twitter and Facebook accounts will follow soon.
SIGN UP STARTS SEPTEMBER 16. Our platform goes live on September 16. On that day, educators whose students are aged 12 or over can begin signing up their classes for a ‘learning journey’. The actual journeys will begin approximately two weeks later, on a date that suits individual educators. We expect each of these learning journeys to last approximately 12-16 weeks depending on the pace of the group, with students spending somewhere in the range of 1-2 hours per week on the project – or more if you or they desire! Detailed instructions will be provided on our new platform. In the meantime, here is a quick overview of the process for those of you who are educators:
- You sign up via our platform, providing us with details about your teaching context (your students’ age, your geographic location, type of institution etc.).
- We assign you to a ‘walking party’ that will consist of 5-6 different groups. We will take care to make the groups as diverse as we can. Individual students will become honorary members of larger groups.
- You receive a special code to get into the homepage for your assigned walking party. You give the students this code and they create their own Out of Eden Learn accounts. IMPORTANT: your students must not use their real names or post photographs of themselves.
- We will post a sequence of activities for students in each walking party on a more or less weekly basis. The flow of activities will pause if a walking party is not ready for something new; however, we do not expect all groups/students to keep up exactly with one another.
- Students will post their responses, which will be viewable by everyone else in their assigned walking party. Students will leave questions and comments for one another. However, they will not be able to send any private messages.
- Elementary teachers, stay tuned for ways for your students to get involved. A small group of teachers are experimenting with ways to adapt our materials for younger students.
- For more information about the kinds of activities students will be doing, please browse earlier entries on this blog. Other learning opportunities, for all ages, will be developed in due course.
SEEKING TRAILBLAZERS. Our web designers would like one walking party to ‘test drive’ the system ahead of everyone else. We are looking for a few volunteer educators to set out with their students on a learning journey a week before anyone else – that is, starting out the week of September 23rd. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at our new email address at your earliest convenience.
We are tremendously excited about this new phase of our project. We believe Out of Eden Learn to be a unique, timely, and very special learning opportunity for young people. Meanwhile, you may be interested in an article about our project that is currently featured on the Harvard Graduate School of Education website and in the alumni magazine.