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
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.
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.