Childrens' Education Has Stagnated. Transmedia May Be the Catalyst for Change

by John Gray

Education is changing at light speed while the actual public education system itself is changing at glacial speed.

Looking at today’s typical classroom, not much has changed in the past five years, in the past 10 years, maybe even in the past 20 years. Having seen my two kids through the process, from kindergarten to graduation (both within the past three years), I’ve seen it firsthand.

Admittedly it’s also really unfair criticizing a system that’s bloated by government and union bureaucracy anyway. Nimble, progressive, and embracing new technologies have never been the hallmarks of public education. The recent article, Should Elementary Schools Teach Kids How to Code? is a good illustration of our system not moving fast enough. The bigger question should be, though, why are we even asking the question?

Rapid change is happening beyond the hallowed halls with the likes of the Khan Academy delivering quality content, and tablets offering a new form of engagement and experience with new types of content. Technology, tools, and platforms are not themselves the game changers. Game changing education is about literacy, storytelling, creatively and critically engaging children in the whole process.

It’s not about passively consuming. It’s about actively participating with stories, and this is exactly how transmedia can help transform the educational experience.

This week’s Merging Media 2012 conference is all about the transmedia experiences. 

Panel moderator Lucas Johnson happens to be great example of someone making a commitment to the transmedia educational experience. He and his partner Karen B. Wehner are developing a new game, The Time Tribe. The launch episode is finished and they are wrapping up closed beta testing before their public launch soon. To date, they’ve been self-funded, supplemented by a successful Kickstarter campaign which raised nearly $31,000. They are now looking at partnering with forward-thinking collaborators; publishers in the book or comic space, game publishers, even animators and film studios. Lucas and Karen are looking to work with people who are interested in creating interactive experiences that cross media platforms.

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John Gray

John Gray

John jumped into the startup world in early 2009, bringing his experience in business development and sales to companies creating new software products. He was co-founder and CEO of Mentionmapp, a visual analytics company that was acquired by OverInteractive Media in October 2011. Before that, he sold legal software and services (LexisNexis), medical devices (Auto Control Medical) and... more

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