So, if you have not checked out ds106 I highly suggest it. Not sure what ds106 is? Well it’s not your temporary password if that’s what you’re thinking. Ds106 is the original name for a class offered at University of Mary Washington, the “ds” stands for digital storytelling, the title of the course. Jim Groom (as well as some others) opened the course to the entire web in a stroke of genius and completely changed everything. They allowed the students (and internet) to create the assignments that are open to anyone to complete anytime. There is no specific order, it’s essentially ala carte digital learning.
There’s more to the history and inner workings of ds106 and I would encourage you to dig through the website (especially the YouTube videos available) and find out more for yourself. Today you can jump into ds106 by getting involved with the daily create. You can find the daily create through e-mail or twitter (see above twitter feed). Essentially the daily create is a quick challenge for the day, done in a variety of mediums and ways that is somewhat open to your own interpretation for completing. After creating your version of the challenge, you can post it to your blog or twitter and it will appear on the daily create blog and under the hashtag ds106. From there you can collaborate or create discussions with other learners. Because the daily challenges are so varied there is a good chance you will be pushed out of your comfort zone which is great!
Photo Screenshot of ds106
While exploring the website I found a “Random” button (always exciting to me) and pushed it. I was given an assignment from March 31st, 2012. I’ve included a screen shot from my phone above of the assignment but my assignment is to sketch a place I’d rather be right now. My sketch is below, I made it in notes on my iPhone (which is new to me because I had never used notes before). I drew a picture of the beach in Jamaica, I traveled there two years ago for a family trip and fell in love with the country and the kind people who live there (and a little bit with the chicken too).
Photo by Whitney Stolen
I enjoyed completing this assignment it was fun, quick and easy. I found myself wondering how a project like this would be transferred to the elementary classroom. The school I work for has monthly themes that the whole school works on, last month was kindness. I think it would be great to allow the kids throughout the school to create assignments related to kindness that anyone in the school could complete. The idea of open “pick your adventure” learning is really great and I think it would benefit schools to implement versions of ds106, kids can surprise you with their creativity.