Meridian Stories takes the basic educational module – the classroom curricular unit – and amplifies its worth through the layering of six value-added centers:
- Collaboration and Competition – The value of teamwork and collaborative learning experiences is well documented. Less understood is the educational value of competition to spur students to perform to the best of their abilities. And yet some of the most respected educational programs in the country – Model UN, Odyssey of the Mind and Science Olympiad – rely on competition as the catalyst for high achievement. Competition, when crafted inside of a friendly spirit, can motivate kids to excel and this notion is an integral part of the engine that drives Meridian Stories.
- Transmediation – This refers to the re-interpretation of an idea, concept or story from one medium to another. This act of translating knowledge from text into digital media requires both substantive and creative understanding from the students, as well as increases their visual and digital literacy skills.
- Digital Communication – There are now two dominant literacies in education: print-based literacy and digital literacy. With each new day, digital media emerge as a stronger and more potent conveyor of information and knowledge. For students, the need to effectively communicate through digital media creation becomes more paramount. Meridian Stories challenges students to explore the vast array of visual, audio and print tools available in order to communicate ideas clearly and evocatively.
- Immersive Learning – This educational approach has many labels and many adherents. Two examples: ‘Challenge Based Learning Environments’ championed by Apple in Education and Project-Based Learning (PBL), championed by the Expeditionary Learning Schools systems. Meridian Stories, Apple and Expeditionary Schools all share the same belief: students connect more deeply with the content when learning in an immersive environment.
- Authentic Learning – This phrase generally refers to real-world learning situations. While many Meridian Stories Challenges actively correlate to the local community, they are not all contextualized in the real world. But they are all evaluated by the real world: media and education professionals, including producers, scientists, writers and teachers, providing students with feedback from beyond the classroom walls.
- Narrative Learning – Very few educational programs insist on looking at academic content through a narrative lens. And yet all educators know that stories are the best means of effectively communicating information and knowledge. Why? Because stories make meaning of our experience. Storytelling is not only a teacher’s tool: it is a skill that students must learn for themselves. That is why the theories of Narrative Learning shape every Meridian Stories activity.