In this era of interconnection, disconnection, and rapid change, it is vitally important to offer young people opportunities to dialogue and build understandings with peers from different backgrounds. An initiative of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Out of Eden Learn is a free online program for students aged 3-19 that has so far served over 20,000 students in 57 countries. On Out of Eden Learn’s custom built, social media platform, students of similar ages from diverse geographical and socioeconomic settings come together for collective learning experiences.
Out of Eden Learn currently offers several 8-12-week-long learning experiences, or “learning journeys,” designed around three broad learning goals. All of the journeys combine offline activities with online interaction and invite young people to:
- slow down to observe the world carefully and listen attentively to others;
- exchange stories and perspectives with one another; and
- make connections between their own lives and bigger human stories
Out of Eden Learn began in 2013 as an experimental collaboration with journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek, who is currently engaged in a 21,000-mile ‘Out of Eden’ walk following the ancient pathways of human migration. It has evolved into a promising model for promoting thoughtful cross-cultural inquiry and exchange, drawing inspiration from the ways in which Salopek and other writers and artists interweave “slow journalism” and local and global storytelling.
Out of Eden Learn is also an active research project that examines such themes as students’ conceptions of culture, the character of their online interactions, and what they learn when they slow down to observe the world closely. Read more about our research agenda in our white paper.
Out of Eden Learn is generously funded by the Abundance Foundation, with additional support from Global Cities, Inc., a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies. Out of Eden Learn is open to all schools and students, free of charge.