Meridian Stories

Message From the Executive Director

I believe that Digital Storytelling is more than just a fun way to engage students in curriculum. It’s actually an issue of equity. Training youth to tell substantive digital stories allows them to purposefully participate in the global media platforms that shape the dialogue of their peers. It’s a continually emerging form of societal access that needs to be learned and practiced. YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter: that’s where their discourse is happening. They need the skills to participate in a meaningful way.

For educators and schools, it’s a seismic shift to educate toward this literacy.

For students, this pivot brings smiles and deeper engagement: they actuallywantto know how to do this well.

And that is what Meridian Stories is all about.

– Brett Pierce [email protected]

Under the Radar

Esports is a bit of a mystery to me. It says to me: more screen time for youth – not good. It also says: real sports happen between people in the same space and involve some sort of physical activity – fist pump! It doesn’t say: what a great idea, just what youth need.

AND YET, Esports is on the rise. And schools are paying attention. Inthis article from THE Journal, we are introduced to esports as an industry and then told stories of successful applications in schools.

But it’s this line that really caught my attention: “There are many skills that students can develop. They can design their team logo, or run the team’s social media accounts. Esports is a high-interest activity:it’s the Trojan horse that gets us past the barriers of learning.”

Getting past the ‘barriers of learning’. How much of teaching is figuring that part out? In my view: a whole lot. The ‘barriers of learning’ are constantly shifting, and digital storytelling and esports represent digital pathways through these paradoxically concrete ephemeral barriers that consistently pop up in our Internet of Things universe. And the result of tapping these digital pathways isn’t ‘less than’ or a ‘settling of standards’. No. The results can be vital, compelling and exacting in preparing youth for the world ahead of them. Equity.

In any case, check it out. It’s a great esports primer article to get your mind aswirl. And who doesn’t like a swirling mind?

Featured Meridian Digital Storytelling Project – Resurgent Russia: A Weather Forecast


There is a whole channel dedicated to forecasting the weather (The Weather Channel). There are a handful of channels dedicated to forecasting politics (Fox News, CNN and MSNBC). In this Challenge, we will take advantage of these synergies and ask students to produce a ‘weather’ forecast…about Russia and its political future. Imagine Anderson Cooper from CNN in front of a map of Russia, acting like a weatherman, but talking like a political scientist. Of course this doesn’t have to be about Russia. Insert…Venezuela, China, South Africa, or the UAE: this Challenge represents a really playful and energizing way to explore current political storms that are brewing.

For the full 12 page Curricular Challenge, Click HERE

Featured Meridian Resource – Introduction to Game Design

The creation of a simple game is a deeply satisfying experience. It involves problem-solving, brainstorming, creative trial and error, logic and joy: joy at having created an original and challenging game. One of the real beauties is that every age group understands how games work. So there isn’t necessarily any content here— math or vocabulary or physics—that the students need to know in order to design a game. Everyone can do it if they are given the basic tools: the component parts along with the fundamental building blocks of a game.

Check out this comprehensively eloquent resource here.

Featured Student Work – “Understanding”

This week’s featured Digital Storytelling Challenge returns us to the Young Adult Fiction category. This is the second of three entries that I hope you will take a moment to enjoy. Called ‘Understanding’ this 7th grade entry tracks a young man’s journey to get away from it all. The criteria for this Challenge: YA Fiction genre, two scenes. Go.