Behind the Scenes of Out of Eden Learn

Last semester, Mark Nelson – master’s student and research coordinator for the Center for Education Policy Research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education – completed an internship with us. One of the tasks he undertook was to create a short “Meet the Out of Eden Learn Team” video: you can view the fruits of his labor here. We think he has done a very nice job.

The initial purpose of the video was to help people understand the context in which Out of Eden Learn has been developed. We imagined a light-hearted video that would help people put names to faces and underscore that we are a small group of researchers based at a school of education. As the piece took shape, however, it became clear that it could do more than provide a glimpse of us going about our business at Project Zero: we felt it had the potential to convey some of the philosophy that underpins our project and what motivates us to do this work.

We often joke that for a project concerned with slowing down, Out of Eden Learn moves at an unusually rapid rate for university-based research – and on certain days (such as when we’re trying to launch new walking parties) the pace in the office can be nothing short of frenetic. That inconsistency aside, we try to maintain some coherence between the educational values that infuse our curriculum and how we go about our work behind the scenes. For example, we try to build moments of careful observation and attentive listening into our research process and to take multiple viewpoints into account.

In an earlier blog post, Research and Out of Eden Learn: Forging Our Own Path, I characterized our work as being action-oriented, collaborative, and learner-centric. I think Mark’s video communicates these qualities.
• We take great pride and delight in the fact that real teachers and students from around the world are actively participating in Out of Eden Learn.
• We love to work collaboratively with one another and hold regular ‘open door’ team meetings – to the benefit of interested graduate students as well as us.
• The learning experiences of our participants remain front and center of what we do; we constantly marvel at young people’s insights and creativity.

If nothing else, I hope Mark’s video conveys that we are highly committed to Out of Eden Learn and enjoy working with and from one each other. At a moment when there is a great deal of tumult and suffering in the world at large, we realize that we are working in a privileged space. We hope that in our own small way we can make a positive contribution – by inviting young people to open up to new ways of looking at the world and, especially, to learn with and from each other.

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