Meridian Stories

Message From the Executive Director

National Geographic, one of most reputable educational organizations in the world, is moving into Digital Storytelling. I know this because I am lucky enough to be the Writer of these new curriculum-driven modules, each of which revolves around a medium: photography, video, graphics and audio.

I mention this because in my research around the module that focuses on photography, I reached back to Susan Sontag’s book, On Photography. Here is one passage that caught my eye:

The ultimate wisdom of the photographic image is to say: “There is the surface. Now think—or rather feel, intuit—what is beyond it, what the reality must be like if it looks this way.” Photographs, which cannot themselves explain anything, are inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy.

What a remarkable sequence of words: “inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy.” I suspect most teachers want their classrooms to be ‘inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy.’ Right?

We live in a visual culture. The ‘invitation’ is implicit in the medium. Let’s take full advantage.

Happy Thanksgiving.

– Brett Pierce

Under the Radar

I was fortunate to be presenting at the Northeast Regional Media Literacy Conference a few weeks ago in Providence, RI. There I ran across this Sleepy Hollow organization: RE:source at the Rockefeller Archive Center. An interesting resource to check out. However, this Under the Radar piece is focusing on the one project that they presented, entitled, The War of the Worlds, Fake News, and Media Literacy.

Of course! What better way into our current turmoil around fake news and media literacy than through one of the original, inadvertent progenitors: the 1938 radio broadcast of Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds. Leading with audio and storytelling, aliens and theatrics, this is a fully scaffolded resource for 4th – 8th grade classrooms. Check it out here.

Featured Meridian Digital Storytelling Project – Green Monsters


In this Meridian Stories Challenge, your team is charged with creating a video story that is designed to educate elementary school kids about climate change by looking at the renewable and non-renewable energy use and waste around them. And how will you do that? By identifying some of the bad energy goblins right there in town and transforming them into bad guys! And, conversely, identifying some of the combatants of climate change…and making them good guys!  It’s the oldest story format in the world, but it can leave a lasting impression on younger kids. And this is an impression we need to leave.

For the full, free 12 page Curricular Challenge, Click HERE

Featured Meridian Resource – Guide to Working in the Public Domain

Google, we need to remind ourselves, is not a provider of images, videos, and music for your personal use. They merely find the content for you: they are, after all, a search engine. To use that content is a different story. Read this Meridian Stories Resource, Guide to Working in the Public Domain  HERE to learn exactly what the Public Domain is and to discover links to all the valuable information that is available within that sphere.

Featured Student Work – “Vanquishers Vs. Carbon Man

This week’s featured Digital Storytelling Challenge showcases a response to the Green Monster Challenge above. These middle schoolers use the news format to deliver information, but watch for the extraordinary visual twist where they bring their ‘green monsters’ to life.

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