Out of Eden Learn (OOEL) is a free, open, online learning community that creates the opportunity for students from around the world to accompany Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopeks Out of Eden Walk: a 21,000-mile, multi-year journey on foot to retrace the migratory pathways of early human ancestors. 10,000 students in over 700 classes from 41 countries have so far participated in learning journeys together, completing weekly activities, posting responses, and engaging with other participants through a compelling online platform. OOEL creates an interactive learning platform that promotes 21st century skills, while harnessing the power of the internet in ways that facilitate authentic and powerful human connections.
The OOEL Learning Journey is a unique opportunity for young people to expand global understanding, explore assumptions about their cultures and communities, and address the challenges of modernity and technology in their lives.
The Abundance Foundation commits to implementing the following new initiatives to deepen and extend the benefits of the existing Out of Eden Learn (OOEL) program to 70,000 new students, supported by at least 3,500 teachers in at least 50 countries before November 2017.
A major challenge to expanding the reach and impact of OOEL is increasing access through low bandwidth options to bring learning opportunities to places with limited technology infrastructure. Technology partners are needed to collaborate with this project in order to offer low-bandwidth connectivity options for the learning community, so that students in resource-limited settings can participate.
To increase the reach of the project, it is necessary to translate the on-line platform and learning tools into other languages and develop the capacity to communicate with educators and students in languages other than English. In the first year, a Spanish version will be developed and pilot-tested with 8-15 classrooms, and the feasibility of additional language capacity will be assessed.
An important component to advance the intercultural understanding of the students is the development and maintenance of an active online discussion forum, in which former and current OOEL students and teachers freely exchange experiences and ideas about the themes of OOEL. Partners contribute to the forums content and monitoring procedures and help with the forums design, technology infrastructure, and implementation.
To deeply explore the themes of the walk and expand the reach of Paul Salopeks journey, a series of installations will be developed in collaboration with local communities, artists, and museum and education experts. The project will engage several initial communities in the creation of immersive, participatory experiences that manifest the themes of Out of Eden Walk, e.g. a public art project addressing the theme of migration, with invited artists bringing local issues into conversation with Paul Salopeks journalism on the Syrian refugee crisis.
November 2015 February 2016:
Scaling up: Refine outreach plan to expand global participation.
Low-bandwidth Technology: Identify technology partners and pilot test sites.
New Languages: Translate core curriculum into Spanish. Recruit 8-15 classrooms and launch Spanish pilot.
Discussion Forum: Identify forum topics and supporting resources. Develop structures, including dialogue tools. Recruit 12-15 classrooms. Launch pilot.
Community Installations: Conduct research, planning, budget development and preliminary outreach to artists, implementing partners and installation sites.
March June 2016:
Scaling up: Implement outreach plan and develop additional strategies. Assess impact on January enrollment.
Low-bandwidth Technology: Develop or adapt technology for OOEL platform.
New Languages: Conduct post-evaluations. Revise translations. Identify additional languages.
Discussion Forum: Conduct post-evaluations. Analyze content of discussions.
Community Installations: Confirm artists, partnerships, and installation sites. Begin installation design process.
July October 2016:
Scaling up: Continue outreach initiatives building on expanded network. Assess impact on September enrollment.
Low-bandwidth Technology: Conduct usability testing
New Languages: Expand Spanish program to larger cohort of educators and students. Translate curriculum into additional language based on demand and new partner support. Recruit 8-15 classrooms for pilot.
Discussion Forum: Revise based on pilot outcomes
Community Installations: Begin construction. Develop curriculum and assessment tools.
November 2016 February 2017:
Scaling up: Continue outreach initiatives and develop new strategies, tracking participant numbers and demographic characteristics.
Low-bandwidth Technology: Recruit 12-15 classrooms for pilot. Implement, monitoring technical issues throughout.
New Languages: Conduct post-evaluations. Revise translations as needed. Extend reach of translated programs to more educators and students.
Discussion Forum: Recruit 6-12 classrooms to participate in stage 2 pilot.
Community Installations: Launch first installation. Evaluate and redesign implementation based on assessment.
March June, 2017:
Scaling up: Continue previous activities.
Low-bandwidth Technology: Conduct post-evaluations.
New Languages: Assess additional language demand.
Discussion Forum: Conduct post-evaluations. Analyze content of discussions, including dialogue moves.
Community Installations: Plan implementation for further installations.
July October, 2017:
Scaling up: Assess overall reach; consider impacts, including quality of learning experiences.
Low-bandwidth Technology: Refine technology and content based on results.
New Languages: Develop future translation plans.
Discussion Forum: Roll out forum to all educators and students. Explore adaptation of forum content and structure for public-facing website. Develop publications describing effort and outcomes.
Community Installations: Begin installation for next site. Expand partnerships and prepare for additional installations.
With additional resources, the Out of Eden Learn web-based educational platform could significantly expand its impact and reach. Specifically, the project is interested in connecting to partners who have expertise with the development and maintenance of large-scale web-based communities, particularly those whose reach extends into low-bandwidth and technology-limited settings. The project seeks additional funding partners to support the growth of the platform and the delivery of high quality online learning experiences to a wide range of educational settings.
The Abundance Foundation provides financial resources to the partners, provides technology expertise and program activities to enhance the impact of the project. The Abundance Foundation serves as the strategic coordinator for existing partners and for potential new partnerships.
Harvard Project Zero offers a strong background in education research and practice and a proven track record in developing innovative, high-impact, research-based educational programming. Harvard Project Zero develops and delivers the educational materials (core curriculum and related resources), and conducts research and assessment on the impact of the project.
Out of Eden Walk coordinates the seven-year journey of Paul Salopek, which is the foundation and core of the learning platform, providing an inspirational model for people all over the world. Out of Eden Walk provides essential educational content, including Pauls direct engagement with students through videos and original dispatches, multimedia resources, and content tailored for OOEL students.