By Jemima Morrow and Ravi Ruparel | Published: 28th June 2021
Guardian Adventures is an incredible US based organisation that specialises in STEM education via the use of story-based adventures, founded by Meghan Gardner 22 years ago. Guardian Adventures aims to use stories from cultures all over the world in their adventures. Meghan soon realised that there is a lack of information online regarding cultural educators... We sat down to discuss her latest project, building a database whereby users can contact cultural educators from across the globe to make sure that culture is properly represented.
Can you give us a background to Guardian Adventures and your plans for cultural education?
In a nutshell, Guardian Adventures is both an online and offline organisation that uses story-based educational adventures to inspire lifelong learning. We use STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in our adventures, where individuals confront challenges and dictate outcomes as a result of their decisions. We create these educational programmes and consult for summer camps, schools and organisations.
We started to focus heavily on cultural education when we were researching stories from different cultures to integrate into our learning adventures. I love Joseph Campbell’s idea that all stories from around the world follow the same format and focus on the hero’s journey. We wanted to include stories from all different cultures but struggled to find resources online where we could find and contact cultural educators who would teach us how to appropriately explore their culture stories. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t already a database of cultural educators, so we decided to build one. We have just started but have had an incredible response from the education community. The database is in data collection at the moment and will become a free and openly searchable database in the near future.
What would you say is the main problem today with cultural education, or rather a lack of cultural education?
The problem with cultural education is that there isn’t enough of it! So many cultures and their stories are missing from our history books and school curriculums. We should be taught and should be teaching our children about much more than European history, and we need to stop different cultures from being siloed according to white history.
In recent years, there have been key movements such as Black Lives Matter that have hugely helped in pushing the agenda for cultural education. How do we change the future for our children? It is all based in education. Awareness and communication is key, and hopefully the world will be a better place the moment people realise we are not that wildly different from each other.
How do you see the role of technology in helping to advance cultural education?
Technology is so powerful because it allows people to build connections and gives people access to information. With the use of technology, we are able to connect with people who we would otherwise not have been able to reach. This is so important for cultural education because it means that people are able to connect and communicate with others who are very far away from them and have different cultures. It also brings people together and shows us that despite having different cultures, we are all one and the same, human beings with stories to tell and knowledge to share.
I predominantly use Clubhouse to connect with people who are passionate about cultural education, such as Ravi Ruparel from the Digital Education Awards! Technology has allowed us to connect, find a mutual understanding, and have this conversation from different countries in different time zones.
Through the use of technology, we are going to be able to host a free to use database that gives access to cultural educators and centres worldwide. This will be an amazing resource for so many people who want to learn about global cultures, such as authors, filmmakers, teachers and corporate organisations. We even hope to be able to store the CVs of individuals from different cultures on the site so that we can provide companies with a way to diversify their boards…. The reach is endless!
We are very excited to follow Meghan’s journey and watch her bring such a wonderful idea to life. The Digital Education Awards team is passionate about diversity, and we were delighted to be able to interview someone who is heading up the cause and working hard to provide resources that will allow so many people to educate themselves and others about different cultures. We can’t wait to follow up with Meghan in a year’s time and see the impact that her database has made!
You can learn more about the organisation and sign up to her database here: