Monthly Archives: June 2014

Pitch Week Coda: Finding Inspiration for Rebirth

LiveFuller_webRI am in rustic Rochester, Vermont, a contestant in Pitch Week II. I am deep in the throes of this midsummer nights competition–in the running for the publishing trifecta of a book deal, agent and publicist.

As part of the contest, I am presenting my vision for a rebirth of learning based on the resonance of my story Out of Time–a plan for every child to achieve his fullest potential. A renewal in modern society of transdicisplinary learning has the potential to spawn the same impulse towards innovation, illumination and flowering of genius that characterized the Renaissance: Live Fuller.

The gist: a revival of Renaissance/Humanist learning and discovery based on modern science of how children learn, grow and thrive offers a chance for every child to discover, nurture and be supported in finding her own source of genius.

I contend that stories have the power to evoke such potential for self-discovery and inspire children to find and explore their unique talents and potential to contribute to the world. And Out of Time, in all its forms–novel, screenplay, interactive storytelling, and digital learning tool–can be the portal.

During the course of the week-long publishing competition, I have the great good fortune of staying in the Ralph Ellison room at the When Words Count Retreat. Of course, Ellison work was influential during the Harlem Renaissance—a 20th century flowering of thoughts and ideas for a particular community long oppressed. Not a coincidence, as far as I’m concerned.

As I scan the works of the author of The Invisible Man, I read the back book jacket of his collected stories, Flying Home.

I find his words evocative:

“Back in the thirties, when I was a music student in the South, I was moved to great agonies of empathy by three novels. One of these was Wuthering Heights, another was Jude the Obscure and the other was Crime and Punishment. While I was reading these works I felt such a compelling identification with their respective heroes that I literally suffered through their every trial and exalted in their every triumph. . . . I missed none of the bolder actions and there are still memory traces of them in my throat which were put there by the poignant and tragic developments of these fictions. . . . And the fact that they could so take me out of myself and transport me to a more intense world of feeling and acting, yes, and thinking, intrigued me more than I realized at the time.”

At its best, reading—and fiction in particular—has this magical power to move us to “great agonies of empathy.” And what better to teach our children—in our world of widening divisions and fissions on a global scale—than the pleasurable agony of knowing we all share the same dreams and fears, the same flesh and blood, and the same capacity to draw together through our shared experiences?

Can story create resonance that allows children to jump into learning and find that same source of inspiration? Once that seed is planted, can we, as a society, water it, nurture it into full flower, and then let it grow?

It is to this idea that I dedicate Out of Time: that we all embrace the goal to “live fuller”, to wake up to a world in dire need of revival. More than any time in recent memory, today’s complex and interconnected world requires a Renaissance of ideas, inspiration, creativity and problem solving.

And it is the coming generations that will be charged with undertaking that renewal–or witness our demise.

Now is the moment to plant the seeds of empathy, watch them take root, and strengthen our capacity to draw together in mutual understanding and compassion for ourselves and others with all our strengths and foibles.

Can a story Out of Time spark a movement?

The Story, the Competition, and Bringing It All to Life

This is cross-posted from the EdTechWomen Blog — http://edtechwomen.com/blog/2014/6/12/outoftime

Out of Time – The Story, The Competition, And Bringing It All To Life

 

 

 

By Margaret Roth

There are many roads that can be taken on the the journey to inspiration and creation. For Robin Stevens Payes, her journey began literally on road. As a mother of three children and science interpreter, she spent a lot of time on the road, listening to stories and tales of drama unfold from the driver’s seat as her children explored their school-age years. This experience was not only treasured time with her children, but for a writer immersed in contemporary science, this was a complete study in teenage psychology.

With this inspiration, and not to mention set of first-hand observations, Robin began crafting Out of Time, the story of Charley Morton, a teenage girl whisked back in time, by a science fair project gone-all-too-well, to the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci on the journey of a lifetime. As Charley explores the world of Florence with Leonardo, her idol and mentor, she must find a way home, all while finding herself.

Over the last 15 years, this story has transformed itself. First written as a screenplay, Charley’s story is now a transmedia science fiction, time travel, adventure novel, and is a finalist in the When Words Count Retreat Pitch Week, a juried competition for authors of promise. As a finalist, Robin is competing for a book deal, national publicity campaign, and all the support necessary to make Out of Time the next breakout book for teens.

As Robin is eagerly preparing for her journey to Vermont next week for the competition, EdTechWomen checked in via e-mail to see how things were shaping up for the next stage of her adventure.

MR: Out of Time, both the novel and your journey, is absolutely fascinating. Tell us about your plans and where you see this all going.

RSP: From the scientific, technological, and historical scope needed to tell the story, and the breadth of Leonardo’s genius, emerged the idea to create Out of Time Media, an online learning platform, to turn the process of reading Out of Time into an immersive, multimedia, multimodal, learning experience.

Using the story as the foundation, coupled with Leonardo’s curious and wide-ranging intellect and Charley’s inventiveness, brains and grit, educators will be able to create a dynamic transdisciplinary and blended learning program through the Out of Time Media experience. There are so many possible points of student engagement on a vast array of topics, from the physics of time to geo-history to military engineering to Renaissance cuisine.

While the online learning platform is still in the works, pending funding, and the right STEAM-Ed visionaries, partners, and investors, the plans for this transdisciplinary learning through story project continue!

MR: As a former middle school teacher myself, there are so many ways I can see this being used in the classroom. Tell us some more about the kind of learning experiences you see Out of Time allowing educators to create for their students?

RSP: There are a number of classroom activities and projects that I can see emerging from a reading of the novel, and a myriad of ways Out of Time Media can support teaching and learning in the classroom. Out of Time creates a world, Renaissance Italy. Instead of memorizing straight facts for a just another novel unit, the story allows students to reconstruct the way people lived, the conditions that encouraged the flowering of a rich intellectual, social, and artistic ferment that allowed for the emergence of so many great geniuses, whose work still impact our lives today. They can study the role of the Roman Catholic Church in that period and how the Pope and the di Medici rulers of Florence were often in a struggle—not just for power, but for a way of life.

MR: You are obviously extremely passionate about story. How has that impacted Charley and how do you see her story impacting classrooms?

RSP: Learning is made more resonant through story when lived and imagined by readers through the eyes of strong and compelling characters. Out of Time Media brings them together in one online place, where flipped learning, social learning and storytelling invites learning beyond STEM, and STEAM to a new level of broad MASTERY.

Davinci_formula

My commitment to the importance of MASTERY is the reason why as part of the online learning platform, I plan to break out experiences and resources into Learning Departments.

These Learning Departments will include transdisciplinary learning opportunities, that combine areas of inquiry that Leonardo himself pursued in his large and compelling body of work, and that might engage someone interested in mathematics to pursue musical theory and composition, or an artist to study anatomy. This will allow students to explore their interests using the narrative of the novel as a roadmap.

MR: Out of Time is a huge project, with so many different aspects, and so many amazing ideas. What was the greatest challenge you faced over the last two years as an entrepreneur and what did you do to overcome this challenge?

RSP: As a writer, creative, and solopreneur, it has sometimes been lonely to hold onto the vision for Out of Time and bootstrap it into being. I have been fortunate to get feedback, support and encouragement along the way from groups like EdTechWomen. ETW’s invitation to participate on the “At the Helm :: Women’s Impact in EdTech” series at SXSWedu in Austin this year was an honor and an amazing experience!

I value these interactions, and the connections that have enabled me to keep Out of Time moving—and suggest improvements along the way.

MR: What is the number one piece of advice would give to others to aid their journey to success in our field?

RSP: Persistence, patience and unwavering belief in your idea, product or project are important as the educational technology field matures. Technology offers the potential to revolutionize teaching—and provoke resistance and lagging adoption based on lack of training, cost, and waiting for “the next big thing” to emerge. This has been true since the days of the mimeograph and the overhead projector (here I date myself!), and promises to get more challenging as new players, some with deeper pockets, enter the field.

MR: As I know that the competition is coming up fast, what can others do to get involved with Out of Time and to show their support?

RSP: I need your support to show the judges the power and potential of Out of Time and Out of Time Media as learning tools. The more I can show that others support my work and this story, the better chance I will have during the competition!

Show—and spread—the love:

  • Follow the Out of Time Blog
  • Tweet your support to @OutofTimeMovie
  • Use the hashtag #FriendsofOOT
  • “Like” Out of Time Media on Facebook
  • Share the Out of Time website and videos
  • Spread the word to friends and family
  • If you are an educator, or know one, who might like to get their class engaged in “making history” in a Twitter chat with Charley M and Friends @OutofTimeMovie, let me know that in comments as well!

I’m also inviting all readers of the EdTechWomen community to vote in the comments for which of two cover designs (pictured above) we’ve created they’d prefer for the book. And by the way, major kudos to my designer Melissa Brandstatter for her artistic vision and grace in accepting multiple challenges along the way to make Out of Time compelling visually, as well as wordily (Can I say that? I think I just made that up!)!

Please help me share the power this experience will be for students and help get Charley and her friends out into the world! They can not wait to share their story!

MR: This competition is coming up so fast! How are you feeling?

RSP: I am excited and nervous! I will be competing against five other very talented authors—none of whom I have met yet. It feels a little like I imagine competitors in American Idol or any of those talent competitions feel when they’ve gotten into the finals—the stakes are high and the eyes of the world are on them.

But I am keeping my eyes on winning as a way to get Charley’s story out to readers and dreamers everywhere who fancy themselves mastering worlds—real or imaginary—and making a difference in the lives of their family, their community and their world.

And then the real work begins—helping create an environment for learning that is consistent with the way things work in the real world. Because in life, one doesn’t do Biology for an hour, then Spanish, then History, then PE — all those things cross over, informing not just our brains but our lives. And we’re learning all the time! So why not make it relevant?

And because I believe every young person has their own form of genius to grow into, having the right inspiration to do it can make all the difference between learning to live and living to learn.


RobinScreen Shot 2014-03-08 at 11.30.41 AM Stevens Payes, author and creator of the young adult time travel adventure Out of Time, writes often about health, research, science and psychology for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) award-winning Sara Bellum Blog and other NIDA and NIH publications on the neuroscience of addiction. She was founding editor-in-chief of LearnNow, the Web portal introducing parents and educators to the science of learning. She most recently wrote about empathy for the neuroscience research Dana Foundation Web site and for the Dana blog about teen learning about drug abuse via social media based on a case study about the Sara Bellum Blog published in February, 2013, in The Journal of Social Marketing. Payes is founder and principal of WordsWork Communications, a social marketing firm applying cutting-edge communications to bring research to life.


EdTechWomen has previously recognized Robin Steven Payes for her excellent work in edtech through our SXSWedu Session “At the Helm :: Women’s Role in Edtech” and we are proud to continue to support her. Please show your support for this amazing woman by actively sharing her story and helping her novel Out of Time become the engaging, STEM-infused, multimedia, and cross-disciplinary teaching resource that it is destined to be for our students!

Robin Stevens Payes, author and creator of the young adult time travel adventure Out of Time, writes often about health, research, science and psychology for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) award-winning Sara Bellum Blog and other NIDA and NIH publications on the neuroscience of addiction. She was founding editor-in-chief of LearnNow, the Web portal introducing parents and educators to the science of learning. She most recently wrote about empathy for the neuroscience research Dana Foundation Web site and for the Dana blog about teen learning about drug abuse via social media based on a case study about the Sara Bellum Blog published in February, 2013, in The Journal of Social Marketing.Payes is founder and principal of WordsWork Communications, a social marketing firm applying cutting-edge communications to bring research to life.

Out of Time Competes for Publishing Trifecta

cropped-subpage_mast.jpgWhen Words Count Retreat Pitch Week II Competition, June 16-21

Robin Stevens Payes, author and creator of transmedia time travel storytelling novel, Out of Time, is among six finalists competing in the coming Pitch Week competition sponsored by When Words Count Retreat, June 16-21.

Out of Time tells the story of Charley, a thirteen-year-old science smart girl whose ambition is to meet Leonardo da Vinci, her Renaissance idol. But first, she must unravel the physics of time travel and build a transport to withstand the pressures of time. She builds what she thinks are Leonardo’s plans for a time machine and finds herself rocked by a world not her own. Her problems: being pursued for witchcraft and heresy and getting back in time to win the Da Vinci Middle School Science Fair.

Help Charley hack time travel!

Follow, Like and engage with Charley and her friends on social media. You can advance the interactive story and get involved in the adventure—and help build an audience that will bring Charley’s adventures to life.

Beyond the novel, help us build excitement for the interactive story through social media:

·       Follow @OutofTimeMovie on Twitter (https://twitter.com/OutofTimeMovie)

·       Like Out of Time Media on Facebook (www.facebook.com/outoftimemedia)

·       Check the Out of Time Media Web site (www.outoftimemedia.com)

As a writer and parent, author Robin Stevens Payes created the story after years of driving carpools and listening in on the conversations of her three children and their friends as they discussed their dreams, their worries, and the latest iteration of who did what to whom. This is the realization of that listening tour in story: a universal spin on growing up where time is still relative and dreams can turn into reality.

If you know a thirteen year old—or have ever been one—this story is your story! So engage Out of Time, and learn along with Charley and friends.

Remember: you make the future possible!