Transmedia Tuesday: Maybe You Should Drop Out of School
Most transmedia stories are more or less fluff. Sure, they engage the reader/viewer/listener in a more challenging and sophisticated way than traditional stories, but in the end, the stories themselves are about ghosts, or aliens, or time-travel, or some other such escapist genre (To be clear, that's big part of why we love them). Every now and then, however, a transmedia story comes along to tackle something bigger, more serious, and more real. One such story is Ed Zed Omega, by Andi McDaniel and Ken Eklund.
The name of the story is meant to be slang for "done with education," and this is the project's central theme. Ed Zed Omega follows six high-school students who are (for different reasons) tired of going to school, and looking to drop out. At this point you might suspect that EZO is a "stay in school, kids" public service announcement designed to fight teen dropouts, but closer inspection reveals that to be far from the truth. Instead EZO takes a hard look at the ways in which the American education system is broken, and why students might genuinely come to believe that no education (or self-education) is a more attractive option. To make this all more real and immersive, the six students (who are fictional characters) are each played in real time by actors who have been encouraged to improvise their characters reactions throughout the down-time between major story entries. As such, a pretty good approximation of a living, breathing community of like-minded individuals has been constructed so that you can follow their journeys.
To get to know the Zed Omega students for yourself, you can start at edzedomega.org. From there you can find your way to the Facebook, twitter, tumbler, and blog entries that keep the story moving along. The fictional character contributions are mixed in with lots of real-world posts and articles about education alternatives and the consequences (both positive and negative) of giving up on formal education.
It's pretty common that we end these posts with a question or two for discussion in the comments section, but this time we are looking to start a heavier conversation than usual.
Do you think school these days delivers what students need? If you are in school now, would you ever seriously consider dropping out? If you are out of school, did you finish? Are you glad you did, or glad you didn't?