Today Principal Z gives his presentation from MCEX mainstage as he discusses media, capital, and public education: how the ntNFT will upend public schools.
Principal Z has been developing decentralized audio and video tools since 1999: first as a software engineer in Palo Alto, CA and nonprofit corporation co-founder (‘99 – ‘03), then as an award-winning physics/robotics teacher (’03-’09), and now as a turnaround principal and public speaker (’10-present). Creating curricula that integrated microphones, cameras and digital editing consistently produced breakthrough student outcomes.
In 2009 “Z” was selected to lead a school design team in New York City. After a delay in securing a new school building he brought his approach to an alternative school serving low-income students who had been unsuccessful at other high schools. The school was persistently low achieving (PLA/SINI) and scheduled for closure when he arrived.
Within 18 months the school was awarded “A” quality ratings and was pulled from the shut-down list. Seven consecutive years of skyrocketing student outcomes followed, along with widespread recognition for the digital-media-centered approach to school reform.
In 2020 Principal Z published Education in the Digital Age: How We Get There based on his seventeen years of experience bringing digital literacy to high-poverty public school communities. After having worked with hundreds of high-school-age students in the foster care system, the Zeimer Family themselves became foster parents in Central Harlem, New York City.
The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:31:19 – 00:00:58:23
Principal Z: My name is Principal Z. I’m a high school principal in Manhattan. Woo! And there’s a few of you today that are going to hear something in what I say, and it’s going to be a moment you don’t forget. It’s going to be five or six or seven of you, but there is an opportunity in a space that are called NT NFTs. And that’s what I’ll talk about today. It’s a 16 billion dollar industry.
00:00:59:02 – 00:01:33:16
Principal Z: You know, if you were to name the position at Google when they started, it doesn’t matter who you were, you’re doing pretty well right now, right? So, this is an industry that’s about to explode and your people here at this conference are the only ones that are gonna know about it, as we’re launching today with this conference, in terms of our outward facing profiles, the work that we’re not doing internally. So, first of all, big shout out to Coach Wayne. Is Coach Wayne in the house? You will see him in a second, part of organizing, a visionary, an educator, somebody I look up to, so, I just want to give credit. He helped put this whole thing together.
00:01:34:12 – 00:02:04:28
Principal Z: I am going to be talking about, you can find me at PrincipalZ.org, blah, blah, blah. I just want to look at this image. I’m talking about moving from here top down administration, heavy standardized industrial education to here. Incentives driven, right? Producing, not consuming, right? Not being trained to be a robot for a factory, but actually learning how to take advantage of things like Crypto, how to take advantage of this community, and how to take advantage of the power of decentralization.
00:02:05:03 – 00:02:28:18
Principal Z: Can you imagine if the next generation of young people knew how to use this technology, what they could do? And they need to do it because we’re leaving them with a lot of problems, right? So, we’re counting on the young people and they can. So, today I’ll share how Bitcoin, how not Bitcoin, but Blockchain is going to be the bridge that gets us from here to there. And if you know about that, there are some amazing opportunities to take advantage of this industry as it blows up.
00:02:30:18 – 00:03:07:16
Principal Z: Little housekeeping, this is a participatory event right here. I know it’s a big conference room, but you guys can participate. So, if you could scan the QR code or just go on a browser to Slido.com, it’ll ask you to put in a hashtag, just put in Dedeu, D-E-D-E-U. Please take a minute and do that now because I’m going to be asking you questions, taking polls and I want to see your results up here so that I know who you are as much as you get to know what I’m up to. This will come up a few more times when each time I ask a question or want to get feedback, so we can have a discussion. I will share, right?
00:03:07:23 – 00:03:23:02
Principal Z: Ooh, let me actually open up the first poll and let’s look at how this works. So, if you go there now, there are two tabs. One is Q&A, one tab is Q&A and the other tabs are the polls. No idea what I just hit. Let’s show the results.
00:03:23:05 – 00:03:46:02
Principal Z: So, the first question I just ask what your favorite coin is just to see that we’re working. Let’s see. Is anybody putting in their favorite coin like Luna or BTC? If you can just put in like three characters just to see that we’re here because I want to be interacting with you. We should be seeing results pop up here. Hold on. Here we go, there we go.
00:03:46:26 – 00:04:01:24
Principal Z: Uh oh, who’s going to win? BTC’s winning. So, the size of the square is the number of people that have put that in. And so, some Polkadots, some Waves. Okay, so, that’s how it works, real simple.
00:04:02:03 – 00:04:32:04
Principal Z: I want to be able to interact with you and get to know you and it’s a big room, but this is a really nice way for us to get to know each other. Now, the next question I asked is, let’s see if we have any. Hey, people with hearts in here today, look at this. I’d love to do well while doing good. What I’m going to present here today is an opportunity and actually more in my workshop tomorrow, which is a 90 minute workshop to go into a little more depth. It’s an opportunity to make $100,000 passive income because you’re one of the first early people that helped get this started.
00:04:32:06 – 00:04:59:07
Principal Z: Now, this isn’t magic here. It’s going to take work, but if you have one of the skills that our team right now needs, one of the open positions that we have, it’s your sweat equity that then you will get every time a high school student earns a credit, you will get a piece of that platform fee. And so, we’ll talk about that more. So, so interesting to see who we are. Okay, let’s see what the hell I’m talking about here. Let’s get back to this.
00:05:04:18 – 00:05:29:16
Principal Z: So, oh wait, so, let me just go over what I’m going to say here so you guys know, sorry. So, I’m talking about education. Sorry, I didn’t, I should have done it before. So, I’m talking about education, capital, right? And media. And although the title was Media, Capital and Public Education, I’m going backwards. I’m going with education and then we’ll cover media and capital and we’ll actually take a shortcut because if you tie media and capital together, you get NFTs. And I’ll tell you what that is and we’ll see how that works.
00:05:29:25 – 00:06:05:21
Principal Z: Okay, I didn’t have to go. So, now take a look at this. Y axis is percent changed since 1970. Down here are standardized test scores. From here, you should actually extend that line three times higher because two days ago the Biden administration just approved a lot of new federal spending, right? For education, plus the pandemic before that expanded funding, so, it’s gone through the roof right now. Literally, if this was a physical slide, we’d be breaking over that ceiling. And our test scores are not budging.
00:06:06:08 – 00:06:42:05
Principal Z: The U.S. spends two times more than some of our other countries if we compare per capita on education and we’re not even in the top 20 last year in education internationally. We’re having our lunch taken from us, right? As a nation because we’re still doing industrial education. The craziest part, sorry, the craziest part about this is that even if the standardized test scores were flying up high, that still wouldn’t mean anything because it just means we’d be the best robots, right? So, standardized thinking is the problem.
00:06:44:06 – 00:07:12:05
Principal Z: What do these people have in common? I didn’t even, there’s more Taylor Swift, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, I mean, there’s more people. This is the Montessori mafia. All of these people had project based education at some time in their formative years. The good news is there’s nothing to invent in education. I’m not going to tell you about some new style of education, there’s nothing new. We know how to do it, folks. The future is already here, right? It’s just not evenly distributed.
00:07:12:07 – 00:07:40:00
Principal Z: What William Gibson said in The Economist in 2003, the future of education. You can go to rich private schools and see it. Now, on top of that, there is some amazing data that just came out about project based learning. If you go to Edutopia.org and click on topics and go to project based learning, you can learn about some research that was recently done, double blind research on project based learning. And so, you can see that now not only do we know how to do it, but we’ve proven that it works. So, that’s one thing.
00:07:40:02 – 00:08:23:05
Principal Z: Right now, we know project based learning is what is relevant to digital economy. At the same time, 40 percent, 40 percent of us are working contingent jobs, right? Those jobs with the salary and a paycheck and a pension, those are gone, folks. Jobs are gone, but work is back. If you can get work done, you can get value. Worse than that, between 2005 and 2015, 94 percent of new jobs created were the more of these temporary jobs. So, this water level is going up fast, right? I’m a public employee, so it’s a little bit different, but even for me.
00:08:25:28 – 00:09:23:22
Principal Z: We have to be able to incentivize our schools to educate every child the way these people were educated, right? So, I’m just going to put up some of the things that we need our kids to be able to be and do that the industrial education is doing the opposite of. If you put a kid in school today in a public school, the average public school, no offense to all the hardworking people there because they don’t want to be slaves to the standardized tests, they would rather educate human beings and they do that in every classroom. Every adult working in schools works hard against the brutality of standardized testing, but that kills. We kill this stuff. Raise your hand, you know, ask any question and, you know, sit down and shut up. You need to show me that you can sit down and shut up, right? And then you get A’s. Do what you’re told, then you’re going to get to the real world and they’re going to say, “Okay, who’s going to tell me what to do?” Nobody, right?
00:09:23:24 – 00:10:03:25
Principal Z: For the first time in history, we can incentivize the good kind of education. And I mean, incentivize, I mean money, right? We can incentivize and decentralize, so just like Bitcoin took control of money and gave it to the people who held wallets, I’m talking about taking control of high school credits. That’s all I’m talking about and giving it to a community of educators who have proven themselves to be good at project based learning. So, we’re taking power from the government who, the government cheats, right? They want graduation rates to go up, so they print more credits just like money. They give it out faster and faster, just like money.
00:10:03:27 – 00:10:28:20
Principal Z: And the value of the credits now, if you get a transcript from an average public school, that kid might not know how to read, right? But everybody was incentivized to give them the credits. So, the value of the credit has gone to zero, but that’s actually very valuable data. If we can generate high quality educational data, it’s worth money and that’s where the money opportunity is. So control, learning back to students, that’s project based learning.
00:10:29:27 – 00:10:54:07
Principal Z: And if we can give the data to the educators on a Blockchain, if they can control the data, then we’re on to something, as long as they’re all committed to a project based learning. So, imagine if our education system in this country educated everybody like this. Just imagine it, right? What our kids could do. So, how? Check this out. This is where the minds get blown.
00:10:54:22 – 00:11:17:29
Principal Z: The high school transcript is a ledger of accounts, right? Just like Bitcoin. Any wallet, any Crypto wallet, how many Cardano do you have? How many Bitcoin? How many social studies credits do you have? On top of that, I’ve been doing this work for 20 years. I’ve made hundreds of videos in my school, podcasts. We’ve been making content because content is king.
00:11:18:01 – 00:11:29:25
Principal Z: Cash isn’t king, right? Content is king. And I knew that and so, I wanted my kids to make content. And they did and we built a $5,000 recording studio, all this crazy stuff. And now suddenly the NFT comes out and people understand what we’re talking about.
00:11:30:17 – 00:11:48:05
Principal Z: So, kids will produce podcasts or produce videos and upload them, right? And they’ll get an NFT that’s non-transferable. It’s a high school transcript, it’s just a wallet of credits. So, then you start, I’m a former software engineer, I worked at Netscape back in the day and I taught physics and I taught robotics. I’m a data guy.
00:11:49:04 – 00:12:16:25
Principal Z: So, you’ve heard of DeFi, decentralized finance, some of you. Everyone knows what DeFi, right? Nobody owns DeFi, right? Nobody runs DeFi, there’s no DeFi Foundation. Dedeu is the same way. It’s just a community of different projects. It’s an ecosystem, right? And there was the Bitcoin rabbit hole. This is the Dedeu wormhole. And if you go to Dedeu.info, it’ll explain why the professor is a worm, there’s a reason why he’s a worm. I invite you to check it out.
00:12:16:27 – 00:13:17:08
Principal Z: So, that’s the industry that we’re birthing here. So, let’s get some interaction. Time for a pop quiz. It’s a pop quiz, folks. You’re only going to have 45 seconds to do it, right? It’s a quiz. So, let me start it. Start quiz. Here we go. Forty five seconds, go. Whoever wins this, answers this correctly, I give a free book to. A lot of reading. I can’t read very well, I would get stressed out with this. It’s like those game shows, if you click the button. Four, three, two, one.
00:13:18:06 – 00:14:07:21
Principal Z: Okay, and let’s see what we’ve got on here. Okay, so number one there’s no central authority allowing parties to transact directly. Let’s get right to the point of who wins the book. And I should be able to show the right answer, machine consensus establishes a digitally shared truth. Is that the right answer? According to this test, but this is a standardized test, so, you know, what you’re going to do. Who won? Who is Thomas James Norman and Diana Castillo? Come up and get your free book. Oh no, Eric, sorry, Eric, I didn’t see you up there. All three of you, three books, if you want to get a free book coming up. Yay, right?
00:14:07:23 – 00:14:23:08
Principal Z: That was total B.S., what a rigged system. Totally unfair. You guys do not deserve these books, but you’re the winners, so, what are we going to do? Makes you angry, doesn’t it? It’s what our kids have to deal with all the time, four years, not four years.
00:14:23:13 – 00:14:36:07
Principal Z: What is it, you know, 12 years of their life and then a two hour exam? That’s how we’re scoring you folks. Oh your stomach hurts that day? I don’t care. Okay.
00:14:36:09 – 00:15:02:13
Principal Z: Low quality educational data, right? We’ve already talked about this. The teachers give the grades, the teachers print the credits for their own students. That’s a conflict of interest. Even for the teachers I love, but we don’t know, right? The kid gives them puppy eyes, I know teachers who are susceptible to puppy eyes. I know teachers are susceptible to doing work the last four days and having amnesia about the six weeks before that. Our credits are meaningless when we do that.
00:15:02:20 – 00:15:22:17
Principal Z: Standardized testing is our national, we need national data, folks. I’m a data guy. I’m not saying get rid of accountability, I’m saying make it good. Make it accountable to teaching project based work and incentivize. Right now, the administrators get bonuses when they print more credit and get that graduation rate up. The mayor wants it. Why wouldn’t you do it, right?
00:15:23:13 – 00:15:43:20
Principal Z: Imagine if they were incentivized to do good project based work. The best videos, the best podcasts, right? Mhmm, juicy. So, these are Fiat credits because the government just gets the say so. Let’s talk about gold standard credits. Here it is in three bullets, the whole thing. HTML Five App that’s in development, I’ll share it with you in a second.
00:15:44:21 – 00:16:04:14
Principal Z: Students upload a piece of content, three graders on the platform, evaluate it. They don’t know these kids, right? No connection between them. They’re hard to earn. And these valuers are paid $180 bucks an hour. That could be any one of us. But the opportunity for those of you here at this conference is actually to make more than that. But if you’re an educator, educators can make 180 bucks being part-time administrators on this platform.
00:16:05:23 – 00:16:43:18
Principal Z: All the data is project based data, which we will see is a good early indicator of success in a digital economy. Any student at any school can upload to this platform. So, if you didn’t go to the right elementary school so that you’re not in the right middle school, so you’re now not in the right high school and now at 11th grade, you decide to get serious about your life, too bad, buddy, too bad. You needed to do that in kindergarten, right? Hard data, just like Bitcoin, these credits are hard. Minimize trust.
00:16:43:21 – 00:17:19:12
Principal Z: At the beginning, very few people will earn them, but will be able to see the data about who’s doing it right and share the information. And teachers will be on board because I’m an educator, I’m an administrator. Administers will be on board, this is much easier as an administrator to manage these credits than what we do right now. So, a high school credit is just the high school transcript to that wallet of NFTs and I’ll talk about it more, but it’s an app, it’s decentralized, it’s ownerless, it’s open source, and it’s the company that’s donating the engineering time along with a bunch of students is if you go to Sumo.app, want to give them a big shout out and you’ll see their product and you’ll see why they’re doing this. It fits really well with what they’ve been doing for years.
00:17:20:08 – 00:17:38:09
Principal Z: Okay, that’s education. Let’s cross that off our list, because I like to cross things off lists. So, next, capital and media, I’m going to combine them and get to NT NFTs, right? Media, a video, a podcast. Media is just a digital file.
00:17:38:11 – 00:18:00:03
Principal Z: Kids upload a digital file and they end up minting something called academic capital. And then we’ll get to your questions. Remember, if you have questions, go on Slido right now, type your question in. You’ll see other people’s questions there now and you can upvote somebody else’s question, so that when we get to the end of this, we can jump right into questions and we don’t have to spend time thinking or waiting. If the question is there, write it down, put it in the system.
00:18:00:22 – 00:18:13:17
Principal Z: Okay, well, I fled to another universe. Look at that, wormhole. There was a wormhole, folks. We went to a different screen here. Here we go, we’re back.
00:18:14:14 – 00:18:52:00
Principal Z: So, here we are at a Crypto conference, and you all should be ashamed of yourselves if you cannot define what capital is. Let’s see if you can define capital. It’s multiple-choice don’t worry, those of you that grew up in industrial schools start sweating if I say just give me an open-ended answer. Oh, wait, it’s not open yet, sorry, I’m an idiot. After the quiz, try this. Here we go. We’ll do it live. Let’s see what people think.
00:19:00:19 – 00:19:22:12
Principal Z: I love multiple-choice. I think there’s more below it, maybe just that last one. Anybody, any votes? Is it not showing up? Is it close? Oh, here we go. Oh, moving around. Let’s see, where is it going to land? I’ll give you another 10 seconds. Let’s see what the crowd intelligence says.
00:19:25:29 – 00:20:07:07
Principal Z: Again, this is another B.S. question with B.S. answers, so don’t sweat too much. Okay, so assets that add to net worth, I like that. Okay, so, I wanted you to just wake up your brains and have you think about what is capital. I needed your brains to go there to access that part of your brain so that I could infiltrate with this information. So, my definition is something you can invest in. All those were right answers, by the way, right? They were all good definitions of capital, I just wanted you to see a few of them. So, something you can invest in. But specifically, let’s talk about what investing means. So, something you can commit to gain financial return.
00:20:07:17 – 00:20:35:08
Principal Z: Said in short language, if you get passive income from it, it’s capital, right? If you have an apartment that’s open and you committed to gaining return, that apartment is capital. So, then that gives you passive income. Now, let’s get to the juicy part. Capital has just changed from physical stuff that you own to digital stuff that you share. That’s just happened.
00:20:35:12 – 00:20:59:11
Principal Z: My book is all about that, it’s a really comprehensive summary of that change, what’s called inversion. So, owning to sharing, consuming to creating, top down to bottom up. If you buy my book, the Kindle or the print, I don’t make any money, this is all open source. You’ll see that there’s no, the price of it is whatever Amazon charges. You do not give me any money. But I go into it in a lot more depth.
00:21:00:13 – 00:21:15:14
Principal Z: Let me just skip over GDP for now, but let’s take one really simple example so I can show you the power of this inversion that’s happened in industry. Let’s go real specific here. Social media is a platform. Twitter, Facebook, right? Social media yields influencers.
00:21:17:08 – 00:21:40:01
Principal Z: If you, yeah, I’m right there, almost done. So, social media yields influencers, right? If you get a lot of followers, if you get over a million followers, you get paid $100,000 per post to advertise, $100,000 per post. So, I’m not talking about capital like floozie digital capital, I’m talking about cash money. And they accumulate this new form of capital, what we call social capital, right?
00:21:40:10 – 00:22:24:09
Principal Z: So, media generates capital, social media generates social capital. That’s it, that’s all you need to get to understand how this works. So, then academic capital, social media generates social capital, so, academic media is what’s going to generate the academic capital, right? Our young people become journalists, our young people make videos for each other, like Khan Academy, only students making videos for other students on Khan Academy, not Khan doing it with his, you know, with his buddies. So, social media is the platform, it’s the social capital, just as what is tech, what’s the platform where you get academic media, academic credits? Right? It’s the high school transcript and that’s what we’re talking about.
00:22:25:26 – 00:22:58:23
Principal Z: So, here’s the new high school transcript. It’s almost the same as an old one, but you can scan the QR code to watch the video or listen to the podcast. Here’s an interesting one, this student answered something posted by PBS. They didn’t get the credit by the, you know, three graders, but you can still watch the video that did not get the credit. So, if I’m a university, this is a really rich source of data about a student that I might consider accepting into my university. I could actually mine this data as a university to find certain students that meet certain criteria so that I can proactively recruit.
00:22:58:26 – 00:23:32:00
Principal Z: This data, when it’s gold standard data, when you know that any one of these credits means they did real work, it’s worth something. So, these are just NT NFTs and NFTs that are non-transferable, you can’t give credits to a buddy. It’s an app, right? That ends up at that transcript. And I’ll be giving a 90 minute session tomorrow on how you can actually make passive income, because there’s a platform fee, nine bucks a month for a student to be on this platform, you get a percentage of that based on how much you help us get to adoption.
00:23:32:08 – 00:24:05:26
Principal Z: So, if you have a skill that we need or, you know, of some way or, you know, university dean, you have some way to help us gain traction, you will make every time there’s a high school credit printed. If Miami invests in this, any time somebody gets a credit in any city in the world, Miami gets a piece of that, right? So, let’s just look at the question. Do I have time for two minutes of questions? Okay, so I have your questions. If you put in your email, let me open up a place to give me your emails and then I’ll answer your questions in email directly.
00:24:05:28 – 00:24:30:22
Principal Z: I would love to take your questions and I have them now. We’ll just open the poll now for feedback. And I would love your feedback, so, in the feedback poll, you should be able to give me, let me get the right one up here, sorry. Oh, that’s sorry. Okay, I need glasses, I’m challenged to read without glasses. Is this the right one?
00:24:31:12 – 00:24:44:21
Principal Z: Okay, I’m going to get off stage so they can take over. I’ll make sure that I got the right, there we go, feedback, you know. So, give me your information there, ask any questions. Thank you for your ears and your attention and your time. I appreciate every one of you here, open minded enough to discover this space. Thank you.
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