An “Average” Day with DS106

Jun 27, 2011 by

averaged composite of colors taken from 50 recent ds106 images on flickr.

For those that have been sending me tweets, e-mails, voicemails, and carrier pigeons trying to figure out what exactly ds106 is……I’m sorry. It really can’t be explained.

That’s not to say I haven’t tried! However, the sheer preponderance of ds106 means that describing a typical day of one’s participation involves explaining the use of no fewer than 5 pieces of desktop software, twitter, blogging, youtube,Β  streaming internet radio, and live TV broadcast via the internet. I’ve tried the very conservative approach with colleagues:

ds106 is a digital storytelling course, where we get to experience using a bunch of different tools like Photoshop, iMovie, and Storify to tell stories.

Honestly, that answer gets the most nods of understanding from people, but it makes me weep a bit inside every time I say it. So to those a bit more savvy when it comes to technology I can comfortably tell them:

ds106 is an exploration of story telling, media design, and the influence that creativity and design has over our lives and attitudes.

That’s a much more pleasing answer to convey, and it usually does a pretty decent job of expressing to those that are more experimental with technology that ds106 is more of a test-bed for media interaction and creation, not a primer. Still, it doesn’t get to the very core of ds106. At it’s heart, ds106 is an amalgam of ideas, emotions, connections, and community. Imagine if you were, to take a snapshot of all the wonderful moments in your life from the previous year, mash them together into one hazy, swirly image of contentment, and that’s actually what ds106 is all about. Whether it’s the active role playing that occurs heavily within the course, or the incredibly awesome tutorials for creating pretty things with computers, ds106 is all things to all people. It’s not just what you put into it, but the connections and familial feelings of fondness and fraternity that come with going just a bit too far down the rabbit hole with an amazing group of highly creative individuals.

ds106 is a way of life…..a lens with which we perceive the world around us, and while I would LOVE to explain it to you, I can’t; you have to experience it for yourself (although some of you most likely already have without even participating in the course). There’s nothing “average” or typical or regular about the way ds106 takes shape, it is what it is, each and every moment of the day.

8 Comments

  1. “ds106 is an amalgam of ideas, emotions, connections, and community” <– Yes, yes, yes, and YES!!

    And I love that the average photo kind of looks like an eye watching you. πŸ™‚

    • ds106 is always watching, always waiting….for you to make another animated gif!

      • meg

        I have been following posts about ds106. I am a fifth grade teacher who is very interested in digital storytelling. How do I sign-up for this class? Is the next time it is offered next summer?
        All virtual?

      • Hi Meg –

        DS106 is an open online course that you should consider joining at anytime. The course’s home base – http://ds106.us – is community of digital storytellers and ed tech folk that basically never stop contributing to the site whether a course is in session or not.

        I actually watched and participated via Twitter and ds106radio this past spring before “registering” this summer.

        I’m sure there will be future sections you can register for from the beginning, but I encourage you to feel free to participate now any way you find comfortable and/or interesting.

        – Michael

      • D’oh, Michael beat me to the reply, on my own blog nonetheless…that’s just how awesome ds106 is πŸ™‚

        It might be a bit overwhelming to try to dive in and catch up on the entire narrative, given the extreme role playing going on in this particular incarnation of the course, but I fully support Michael’s suggestion of visiting the site and see what catches your eye.

        It was last January when I started to explore the site, and clicked through the assignments page to see what I thought would be fun to complete. I started a few of them on my own, and just played with them, never posting. It wasn’t until this summer that I had the time to jump in with both feet.

        I’ll certainly be posting when the next course is starting up, because I want to be a part of it again πŸ™‚

  2. I too feel incapable of explaining #ds106 to anyone, but I’ll probably end up a regular recruiter! Love this post, Ben.

  3. Ds106 is definitely something that’s hard to explain to those that are not yet comfortable inhabiting many different spaces on the internet. Because it has an attitude, one that is chaotic yet encouraging.

    I’m about to post my “averaging flickr” pictures. It’s a lot of fun and surprising how beautiful the results are. Probably makes most abstract expressionists crazy!

  4. I’m sure you were inspired by the words, “The future is much like the present only longer..”.

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