• Mark Olivito

Reimagining Education: Through The Eyes of A 14 Year Old

Dominic is a Freshman in High School, Scotch Plains Fanwood, NJ, the same school I graduated from in 1992. He supports PAVERART throughout the year with our design process and works in the summer as well.


But what has me MORE intrigued is his curiosity for learning what I consider the intersection of technology and video/design. I'm not sure if that's the right way to describe it, but it's how I think about it. But why does it matter?


  1. It's fairly technical stuff, although anything from a 48 year old's perspective could be considered technical.

  2. He's learning it "self paced" from FREE, publicly available sources on his own time.

  3. I see real world application from each of his learnings. In other words, I keep on thinking: "This doesn't seem to be learning for learnings sake. There's a market for this."

Here's how it started.


The Corridor Guys caught his attention. They re-make classic films in their own vision, and seem to have a lot of fun doing it. Here's a video of the guys re-creating the Trench Run scene in Star Wars.



So after absorbing their content, Dom says "what else is out there in the world of 3D animation?"


So he discovers Blender, which is a 3D design software, open source, and he starts taking Blender Guru tutorials. Here's the first lesson, and he's been through over 10 hours of lessons and another 20 hours of what he calls "messing around" with using the software.



Here's where things get interesting.....


We walk the dogs and I start talking about the process of brand development and how businesses spend a lot of time and effort trying to convey their brand and thinking of new ways to attract attention in a noisy market. Brands sometimes need to be "jumpstarted" and this technology COULD form a building block or two that appeals to that audience.


He recreates the Apple logo, with a "Pewdiepie" texture.


blender, apple, 3d software
Apple Re-imagined: Pewdiepie

I don't even know who Pewdiepie is, but apparently he has 100mm subscribers on YouTube, showing my age once again. Would Apple want this? Hardly, they would probably cringe.


So I ask Dom to re-create my old blogs brand name: Hustle Or Bust. Hustle or Bust is a leadership blog that's 12 years old. Kind of tired, neglected, like an old house. Here's the original logo.


hustle or bust, leadership blog, logo

I didn't give Dom any creative direction other than "see what you come up with." Here's his first cut:


hustle or bust, logo refresh, leadership blog

As is often the case in all things creative, it's easier to edit, add/subtract than create from a blank canvass.

This blog talks about Old school fundamental success principles being applied to today's world. The first thing I thought of is "rust being knocked off." I tell Dom this and he goes to work and figures out how to add this type of look/texture...


I advise Dom to go find my old blog and import it from Wordpress (where it was built in 2012) to Wix (what I use today). In other words, lets go dust this work off and re-build it, re-launch it. I don't have the time/energy for it, but why shouldn't he? LOL


Dom mentioned "he's never done websites before, doesn't know how to do that."


I chuckle, told him if he figured out Blender he can certainly figure out Wix and getting this website imported with a modern, new look. He didn't like that flip response from his dad!


So now he has an assignment to re-build an old website, use whatever skill he's acquired to make it modern and relevant. I told him after he's done re-building Hustle Or Bust to go create his own website where he can house all these little creations along the way.


Lets see what happens.....


Fast forward to this past Saturday. Dom tells me about a Friday night session while he's online chatting with his friends. He was "messing around" with a wrecking ball on Blender to learn "Physics simulations." I have no idea what that means, but he showed me the output and he explains it's "adding physics to objects."

So I said, give me a wrecking ball and have it wreck a block of bricks with the word "conventional thinking" over it, since that's what Brick By Brick is aiming to do.



And he takes the Brick By Brick Apprenticeship logo and separates it into it's "puzzle pieces," like we do at PAVERART, and pulls them back together.



So the wrecking ball to conventional thinking, and the Compass coming together to the Brick By Brick logo. Good enough to make the front page of this website. And the first real world showing of a skill that he's learning on the side, at 14 years old.


A little 3D animation software/design skill, moving onto website creation/building. Combined with some photoshop skills being utilized throughout the year to support PAVERART......a toolkit is being built.


If Dominic can start to learn a skill, for free, with the investment of his own personal time, couldn't we all do the same? What if this process was combined with a paycheck, an online degree, the interaction of a team and a dedicated mentor, WITHOUT incurring massive debt? In a small way, this feels like the process of conventional thinking has just had an encounter with a wrecking ball.

The Corridor guys are re-imagining movie scenes, and they look like they are having a blast doing it, and have acquired nearly 10mm followers.


For America to break the cycle of debt fueled by skyrocketing higher education costs, we need to start re-imagining what an education & real world experience is all about.

This little case study starts to lay out what that could look like.


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