The Big Myth

MEDEA 2008 Highly Commended

Showcase video of The Big Myth including interview with Fiona Passantino

The Big Myth is an interactive, community-building learning website and CD-ROM, presenting a collection of 25 creation myths from around the world using Flash animation, storytelling, sound and music. It is available in English and Dutch and designed for group learning for ages 7-14. The myths themselves are the central focus of the site, but the entire environment is made up of six sections, including a Teachers Guide, Discussion Forum, Write Your Own Creation Myth area and Library, making it a fully-integrated educational website that fits in with religious studies or world cultural program of the common international curriculum, as well as within ancient history or even remedial English or Dutch language classes.

Screenshot of the entry The Big Myth

Screenshot of the entry The Big Myth

What the judges said of this entry

“The entry is interesting, pedagogically well-thought through and provides a fertile ground for developing creative thinking within the target audience with the most beneficial section being the featured 'Write Your Own'. The judges thought that the good collection of educational and teaching materials and samples of lesson plans deserve a prominent highlight. Overall, The Big Myth is a good example and a coherent way to represent the amount of stories and elements from diverse cultures.”

About the creation of the project

Fiona Passantino

Fiona Passantino, director of The Big Myth

Fiona Passantino is the founder of Distant Train, based in the Netherlands, which begun in 1995. Fiona first published her ideas about using Flash animation for educational purposes in 1999 in the journal Intercultural Education. Later that year, Distant Train was awarded a three-year grant from the Dutch Ministry of Education and the European Union to develop a large scale Flash-based educational website for the study of world mythology which is still called The Big Myth. In 2001 the project was launched and since then she has published other articles and given over a dozen lectures at international conferences explaining her unique approach to online learning for children. Fiona has become a specialist in the development of online Flash-based animated educational resources for young people.

Fiona Passantino, director at Distant Train: “The Big Myth celebrates our diversity and the richness of our cultural backgrounds. It puts all cultures, from Maori creation to the stories of the Old Testament, the Zulu and Classical Greek tales all on the same level for honest comparative study. This tool allows students of minority backgrounds to become experts in their own field of study, and sets the stage for classroom discussion about the common values we share across the globe. This creates the atmosphere for learning mutual respect and even appreciation for the beauty and compelling traditions of other cultures, which are the building blocks for becoming better citizens on national and international levels.”

Project website

The Big Myth

Sponsors and organisers