The current societal context in which Meridian Stories takes place has spawned a new and pervasive nomenclature around the mediated reality of youth, including ‘Digital Natives,’ ‘21st Century Skills,’ ‘Transmedia’ and even ‘Digital Storytelling’. However, the phrase that has captured the essence of the culture the best (in our opinion) has been put forward by Henry Jenkins (formally of MIT and currently at USC) who calls it a ‘Participatory Culture’. He defines that culture as follows:
A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices. A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another.
Meridian Stories is designed as a tool to help teachers educate inside of a Participatory Culture. This section is designed to provide the teacher with the basic rules governing participation in Meridian Stories, as well as offer some information about the educational rationale behind including Digital Storytelling in the classroom.