Has anyone ever heard of DS106?..No? That’s what I thought. Well apparently it is a massive online community dedicated to digital story telling.
I had just learned about ds106 this week. I had not gotten a real explanation to what ds106 was. I had gone to the website http://ds106.us/ and I was even more confused. The first thing I saw was a video made by a girl who was in ds106. What do I mean by “in?” Well it is an open online course for anyone to take, which took me some time to discover. Anyways, this girl made a video about some of the work she had done for a digital storytelling course she was taking in college. In this course she made a variety of digital art. At the end of the nine-minute video I just sat there and said, “Okay? So how does this link to the site?” I really was very confused about the whole thing.
I went to outside sources for a better explanation to what this actually was. It led me to a different video on the same site of people giving advice for taking this course. It was in this video that the concept started making sense. DS106 is an open online course for anyone to take whenever they want completely free of charge and they can stop whenever they want. The course provides assignments in which one must explore the digital world to find resources to complete the assignments. The course requires the use of many different forms of media and tools such as twitter, blogs, flickr, soundcloud, youtube, etc. Most everyone describes this course as a lot of work but it also being the best class they had ever taken. The course has a syllabus from a previous class and contains 12 units including an introductory unit or a “boot camp” for people who are just being introduced to ds106.
Looking further into the site, I found many different assignments. The assignments were organized by categories, such as audio assignments, visual assignments, design assignments, video assignments, etc. I did not know what I expected, but when I looked into one of these assignments I was very amused. I had looked into one titled “ May I take your order?” In this assignment, students were asked to create an audio of them getting their order taken at McDonalds. However, they were to be picky about their order and had to speak in an accent. The first assignment I clicked on I was instantly smiling and then laughing. Another assignment was a mashup assignment. In this assignment, student were to create a movie trailer by combining trailers from their favorite movie and some other movie to create a completely different movie trailer. For example, some students took their happy/funny movie and added the audio of a horror movie. I can imagine that all of the assignments are similar to these interesting and fun ones.
What I found most awesome about ds106 is that it forces you out of your comfort zone and you can discover all the possibilities of digital art and storytelling. I think the material in this course could be beneficial to all educators. It is a great way to get students to explore the digital world and how to use its resources. As I stated before, it also gets students out of their comfort zones and allows them to express themselves without restraint.