Excerpt from Lance Weiler's essay:
"... In some ways I’ve felt that my own work has been constructed for audiences that don’t yet exist. Often they are designed in fragments pulled together using a variety of technological and physical elements in order to build narrative experiences. It struck me recently that the rapid prototyping I have been merging with my storytelling is like making little bets. This revelation came while I was reading Peter Sims’s book titled, in fact, Little Bets. At the time I was preparing for a class I’m now teaching at Columbia University about storytelling in the 21st century. Sims explains how small discoveries can lead to big breakthroughs. By throwing caution to the wind, you can break the confines of perfection, risk aversion and excessive planning. In other words you can open yourself to discovery through experimentation.
This fall I’m jumping into deep water with an ambitious project that is under funded, short on time but big in heart. I’ve decided to experiment with a trilogy of participatory storytelling projects. The three works are experiential educational efforts that combine film, gaming, collaborative problem solving and creative writing. At the core of the trilogy is the desire to teach media literacy across generations while at the same time discovering what it takes to build a collective narrative.
Prototyping an experience that can work across languages, generations and devices is the goal of the first installment of the trilogy. Robot Heart Stories (robotheartstories.com) begins when a robot crash-lands in Montreal and must make her way to L.A. in order to find her spacecraft and return home. Two 5th-grade classrooms in underprivileged neighborhoods, one in Montreal (French speaking) and the other in L.A. (English speaking), use math, science, geography, creative writing and collaborative problem solving to help a robot make her way across North America...."