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Multimedia professional - teaching through CTE.

After seeing Jeanne’s

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After seeing Jeanne’s comments, I visited her referenced “MY HERO Project.” Wow, very inspiring, with a good selection of well crafted film, art and stories. In particular, I enjoyed the site’s videos produced by young students. The young hero, Jemma Brown video is a sweet story and it reflects quality story telling without being overproduced. Thank you for sharing the site, I’ll add it to my educational resources along with Edutopia.

Thanks again, Betty, for this universal topic of “A Hero’s Journey.” The fact you’re still getting comments several months after it was posted, suggest it’s a theme that has lasting value. Hopefully you’ll consider posting more topics related to heroes and education.

Some thoughts occurred to me while reflecting on the student’s “Me at the zoo” video, which you used to help illuminate the story’s theme. As you pointed out, the video shows a trend of narcissistic and thoughtless story telling, which is diluting our cultural narrative or the hero’s epic journey. Convergence of media technology allows almost anyone who desires to stream video content — 24/7. Futurist Marc Pensky describes students of today as “digital natives” — a distinction for the latest generation, which has grown up with technology as opposed to learning how to adapt to it. The “media standards” which were in place when today’s teachers developed and learned their technology skills were more clearly defined and appreciated.

Contributing to the current fall of the universal narrative is found within the field of journalism. In the past 10 to 15 years a negative trend has accelerated in an industry, which was once highly respected by people of all ages. It’s not an encouraging conversation with journalism teachers about their views on the sliding standards of print and TV news … cynical “gotcha journalism,” fact checking and corporate influence in news reporting is rarely questioned. The shameful, illegal shenanigans of Rupert Merdoch’s News Corporation in the UK are an example of how far the deck chairs have slid in the industry. Unfortunately, sensationalism and celebrity gossip has for the most part, clouded the vision for better understanding the world around us. And this myopic view has helped to distract our culture from seeing the true heroes, which are always near us and potentially within us all. Projection of misbehaving celebrities and sports personalities as idols worth imitating can influence an impressionable youth’s sense of values. There are a some celebrities, who live up to being heroes with their selfless generosity and by contributing needed resources to their communities. However, media attention usually reports on celebrities behaving badly, often glossing over the negative role models they play out in real life. Portraying an irresponsible lifestyle as means of getting attention has a negative impact on a young person’s perspective with how to get noticed. I’ve seen more than my fair share of “Me at the Zoo” from teaching video production in high schools. My first reaction to this type of video in class was… what am I doing wrong in my lesson plan or in explaining the assignment? After further conversations with students and talking it over with teachers, it appears part of the issue stems from the cultural trends mentioned above.

Counteracting the negative inertia caused from undesirable cultural trends is one of many challenges the hero within each teacher faces. For me, I can only share with students my understanding of what a hero is. Inspiration motivates a hero’s actions, which helps protect and guide others before satisfying their self-interest. Examples of these heroes are all around us, as in most men and women who wear a uniform in the Armed Forces and in law enforcement. Heroes are found day-to-day, in our neighborhoods as social workers or as teachers in our classrooms. A year ago, last January, was the 25 anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. After just 73 seconds into its flight, a catastrophic structural failure of an external tank resulted in death of Christa McAuliffe (the first selected member of the Teacher In Space Program) and six other hero crewmembers. These examples of heroes are those who deserve media attention, to positively influence our culture and our young students’ values. What motivates heroes is from the heart, not from the ego, which looks for superficial rewards of material fortune or illusive fame. Until our culture’s limited attention span can return to the universal inspirational values of the true hero, its narrative will continue sliding down with more “Me at the zoo.”

Co-founder and Director: The MY HERO Project

Hi Betty, re: The MY HERO

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Hi Betty,

re: The MY HERO Project

Read your excellent article about "The Hero's Journey" and wanted to share our resource with you and your readers.

MY HERO was launched in 1995 to provide a space in the media for people of all ages (especially children) to share and discover stories about those making a positive difference in the world.

The MY HERO Project is a not for profit that uses media and technology to celebrate the best of humanity and empower people of all ages to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world.

We have a large international archive of online hero stories, art and film celebrating heroes from all walks of life.

http://myhero.com/Films
http://myhero.com/Gallery
http://myhero.com/Stories
http://myhero.com/Audio

Teachers who have used MY HERO in the classroom share their lesson plans and resources in our Teacher's Room
http://myhero.com/Teachers

Although we still receive many hero stories about the celebrities du jour, we are impressed and inspired by how many students eagerly share their unsung community and family heroes with our international online community.

We find that students are guided by deep family connections, caring communities and teachers. They are inspired by individual stories of struggle, strength, kindness and selflessness. For those students who are still searching or adrift, we hope that we can offer them hope and inspire them by finding out how many different kinds of heroes there are in the world.

Hope you will look at MY HERO and consider sharing your essay with the many teachers who visit the web site.

Look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Meyers

Multimedia professional - teaching through CTE.

The allure of digital media

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The allure of digital media constantly available to our youth has become a modern-day version of the legendary Pied Piper. Without a proper lens of discretion the spectrum of Internet content can become mind numbing. Teachers, using computers within the k-12 classroom environment, know a percentage of their students will improperly use them for viewing negative content.
After seeing these distractions in digital media classrooms, I put together a series of photo/video essays using original content for inspiring students to create their own narrative stories. As a form of 'blended learning,' these essays involve: current events, science, history and travel. Leading by example, has proven over time a most successful teaching method. Please see my web-based, E-Learning site at: www.bigpictureone.wordpress.com

Once upon a time, when I was in school, the teachers who most inspired me were the best storytellers.

Life Skills Support Teacher

Unfortunately ...

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While capability and access have increased, overall form and content quality has not kept pace. Having taught video and film production at the university level for 10 years, I see lots of stuff on youtube that exhibits poor production fundamentals, especially with camera work and audio recording/mixing. The content will not be effective if the form is lacking.

Technology integration specialist for the Elk Grove USD (south Sacramento)

Great Hero Quotes!

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Thanks, Betty, for this inspiring piece. I hope it's OK to quote you widely, starting with "Indeed, the heroes of the 21st century will need different skills and abilities than those of yore..."

I think it's really important that students have opportunities to compare heroes and heroic deeds of the past to today's challenges, as you have done with, for instance, with your reference to "cyberbullying." Having multiple hero's journey models to draw from will help today's youth step up to "be the change" in their real-life communities.

Thank you for your post. I’m

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Thank you for your post. I’m working and playing with college students in a course called Good Stories: Teaching Narratives for Peace & Justice. We use Brian Boyd’s Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, & Fiction to ground our own narratives in our emergent capacity as humans to choose to cooperate. I do believe it is a hero’s journey to construct ourselves in playful and serious narratives that imagine ways of living together in better ways. That's what we do in the course. We draw upon archetypal models in oral tales & in written narratives (especially with Idries Shah’s World Tales), and build from these and our own hearts in making digital media productions. To support this I also curate a space on Scoop It that sources the resources coming out every day and just added your item (http://www.scoop.it/t/goodstories246/ ). I also occasionally add items related to this work in my blog (e.g., http://dochorsetales.blogspot.com/2011/01/making-good-stories.html ). Storytelling is not automatically good or effective; it needs careful nurturing. Thanks again for your support.

Entrepreneur

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Great post Betty – I am the founder of a new startup company addressing several issues you have so passionately identified. I can share with you that our focus is safe interaction for students sharing media. By creating relevant tools for collaboration and knowledge sharing, the focus elevates from one of individual expression to safe community involvement. Enabling students to join in the storytelling process, provide a more germane media perspective, and define themselves in new powerful ways ‘in the new realities of the 21st Century’. I look forward to sharing our progress with you and Edutopia in the near future.

Senior Lecturer in Higher Education

Yes - thanks for asking! I

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Yes - thanks for asking! I published a book on this topic (in fact, on narratives, imagination and education... long time ago) and couple of articles. I also had the chance to work in the past with the Imaginative Education Research Group and with the Center for Narrative Studies storywise.com. Starting from this experience I see how important is the discussion you open here and how your post is bringing substance in a discourse dominated by fads and simplistic statements.

Director of Programming and Innovation @Edutopia

Thanks

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Appreciate the feedback Stefan. Are you doing work in this area?

Senior Lecturer in Higher Education

Great post

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Thanks - this is the best blog I've read recently... and a step ahead from the dull and empty enthusiasm about "disruptive innovation (reduced to ICT)" is saving us and our schools/universities.

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