Twin Cities Public Television
Six High Schoolers Drop Out to Fix US Education in Alternate Reality Game
St. Paul, MN – September 4, 2012 – Alternate reality game Ed Zed Omega, a collaborative thought experiment about education, is now live on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other “transmedia” platforms. Like a collaborative documentary, except on social media, Ed Zed Omega revolves around six kids who are “dropping out loud”—they intend to quit high school and openly discuss this intention, their reasons, and its ramifications online. Ed Zed Omega asks: “What is school supposed to accomplish?” with the hope of facilitating a space for the public to share stories about schools and learning and collectively explore what education could look like in the future. Ed Zed Omega is set in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and is a Localore project in collaboration with Twin Cities Public Television (tpt).
“We’re not talking about just six teens, or even the million-plus teens who drop out year after year. We’re really talking about school being something that many, maybe most, young people tolerate or survive. If the first step is to feel the problem…then what better start than to chat with it on Facebook?” states Ken Eklund, creator of Ed Zed Omega and experience designer for museums and public media. (Eklund is also the creator of World Without Oil, the widely acclaimed 2007 public media ARG.)
“Ed Zed Omega has the potential to reach an audience that’s largely left out of the discussion about what’s not working in education,” says Andi McDaniel, Interactive Producer at tpt. “And we’re really excited about that—it’s one of our strategic goals to connect meaningfully with folks who’ve known the Internet their entire lives.”
Ed Zed Omega is immersive: its teen characters (the “Zed Omegas”) seem very real. Their story is unscripted, and reacts in real time to the stories and ideas shared by anyone following the game. Each character’s situation poses an authentic question: Why does Clare need school if she wants to be an actress? What’s high school giving Nicole after it canceled her music program? Why should Jeremy attend if he isn’t challenged in the slightest? Because they live out loud on social media such as Facebook and Tumblr, the characters create a space where teens and young adults especially can express what they know about the successes and failures of education.
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About Ed Zed Omega
Created by Ken Eklund (Writerguy) in collaboration with Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), Ed Zed Omega is a Localore project funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The project is presented by the Association of Independents in Radio and runs from August 15th to November 15th, 2012.
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