The site is designed to take users through the process of creating a story with a heroic theme based on the ideas of Joseph Campbell. It was created to guide the user through the process of creating a story line with a proper arc, etc. This site was created in 1998 and updated in 2002. The South Mountain Story Telling Institute, the originator of the project, apparently no longer exists, although Maricopa does have a story-telling project.
Type of Material:
Simulation. It claims to be "an environment to explore the classic mythical story structure and to create your own stories." The learning goal is to teach users to effectively create a story.
For historian use, it might be a way to encourage students to create a fictional story based on actual historic events or persons. Example might be a description of the experience of a soldier during the American revolution or Civil War.
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
The learner will be able to create an original story, with elements based on the theories of Joseph Campbell. Individuals or groups will use their creativity to fabricate a heroic journey with characters and plots of their own creation, with solid characterization and a complex event structure.
Target Student Population:
High school or lower level college.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The process used in the site is based heavily on fictional or mythological types of stories and would be useful for students who want to write an original story about a historic topic.
The actual site is old, and most of the links do not work. There are many sample stories listed as examples, but this reviewer found none that worked. They were either blocked as "private, no ready for showing" or broken. The references are outdated and only of marginal use for history.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Useful is a teacher wanted to have students write a work of fiction about a historic topic.
As nothing in the site refers to any actual historic material, its value is marginal. To use this effectively, a student would have to employ resources which are not available here.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site has an visually interesting and informative opening page and maneuvering around the site is easy. Depending the task at hand (learning about Campbell's steps,
Its structure complements well the two roughly equal functionalities - understanding Campbell's interpretive framework, and analyzing or writing myths using that framework. When analyzing or writing, users can easily refer back to the summaries, explanations and examples of the steps of the hero's journey.
Most of the material is outdated or broken.
Other Issues and Comments:
Not really suitable for use in a history course. If a student desired to write a fictional account of a historic event, the teacher would be better off advising the student individually and suggesting works of historic fiction for the student to review, such as Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels."
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