Friday, August 21, 2009

The Reluctant Quester

The following came to me by way of good friend and fellow writer, Jenaia Moraine. She is well known in second life for her work on the Virtual World Story Project along with co-founder Marty Snowpaw. Jen explained in the note card she'd left for me that Marty is writing "a series of posts about what it was like to grow up in an education system that labeled him stupid, incorrigible, and even retarded."

An invitation from Marty was included and follows:


"Who are the learning disabled? How about me? Today, the term would be "learning differences," but back when I was going through school that more politically correct term hadn't yet been coined. I was more used to hearing words like, "stupid" or "moron" - sometimes "incorrigible", slow, and underachiever," with an occasional "retard" thrown in for good measure.

Today, with many years as a teacher and producer of children's educational programming under my belt, I'm revisiting and rethinking my childhood experiences. Using the Questing model we've developed at the Virtual World Story Project in Second Life I am utilizing stories and storytelling to exorcise old ghosts and help others celebrate the gift of their differences.

In virtual worlds, such as Second Life, online games, and social media those like myself have found our place at the table. It's a learning feast accomplished almost entirely without the help of institutions and educational professionals. Moreover, we are building communities based on diversity that welcome both, the able and disabled, the tall, fat, and skinny, and encourage intergenerational interaction. Nice.

You can read about my adventures as the Reluctant Quester, ably aided and abetted by my therapy dog Cice, at the Virtual Worlds Story Project's Blog . I hope you will share them with students who need encouragement and colleagues who need sensitizing to who we really are, the so called "Dumb and Dumber." Comment, contribute, tell us your story or your students' or your child's stories. Telling stories will make you and the people who hear them feel better. I do."

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