After wrapping up Reel World Youth and doing a final debrief with the teens at Alice Jamieson, I’ve come to the conclusion that life really is far more interesting than the comfortable illusions we are fed by daytime TV and cultural norms. Here’s a short video giving some of the highlights of this fun project.
What is next? Hard to say as this was a pilot project in education enhancement. Over the years I’ve come to realize that schooling is not the same as education and sometimes even runs counter to it. Because if education is everything society does to prepare people for life, then school in terms of influence plays only a small part. Yet at the time, it seemed like everything.
As someone who excelled in the school system, it’s a big shock to look back now and realize how the pursuit of marks, the segregation of subject areas, the standardized tests, need to conform to rules, and the need to always reference the authority… actually took away from my ability to learn adaptively. And by adaptively I mean learning how to do those thing where there was no external direction or routine to follow. Which in this day and age is pretty much what life is and will be.
So this experiment was one where we tried to break down the barriers between subject areas (English, technology, art, and history all blended together), to connect students to authorities beyond the classroom, to provide meaningful motivation beyond marks, and to give them a real life challenge. For the most part we were successful in making those connections. But there were tough lessons on time management, juggling the demands of curriculum, on technical glitches, and on frustration and relationships.
Nevertheless, I can see it is possible break the boundaries of conventional learning. It just takes a bit of thought and care.