Is ds106 Awesome?

Photo CC LC_24


My first impression, when I saw that the ds stood for digital storytelling, was, “this might be cool! I like telling stories!”. As I researched it, I was a little dumbfounded. I started to get heart palpitations. I didn’t know if I could keep reading about it.

A course with no instructor? What will I do? Be creative? What if I mess up?

No Guru, No Method, No Teacher“?? What??

I wanted to know what other students had to say about this course. This frightened me even more! They said things like, “don’t wait until the last minute” and “this class is a lot of work”. As I continued to listen to their thoughts, the resounding conclusion was that all this work will be worth it in the end.

I really liked the video on the about page of the ds106 website. It brought up many and varied emotions for me. It looked fun, then hard, then exciting, then scary. I was all over the place.

I hung on to some words I found on the about page of the ds106 website, “you can join in whenever you like and leave whenever you need”.

One student said things like: (here’s) “how to survive this amazing, wonderful, challenging class”, (she describes it as) “a six credit class in a 3 credit package” (Yikes!!), “you will have to dedicate a lot of time and effort”,  “it will challenge you in ways that you never saw coming”, (you get to) “make your own experience” and (it will) “challenge you to get out of your comfort zone”.

Alan Levine has a video that is a great example of a “video mash up” and it was very entertaining (and short). It was creative and I began to think, “I bet I could do something like this. This might be fun”.

Student Giulia says it changed her life. What? How? It “prompted” her “to look at things in different ways”. She had a blog before this course. After this course, her blogs became more creative and she enjoyed doing them more. She calls it, “truly lifelong learning at its best”. This got me thinking because, I think that teachers should be lifelong learners and, I think I am one (a lifelong learner). I also have a goal, as a teacher, to instill the mindset of being a lifelong learner into my students. So…

As I was researching this awesome and innovative method, I was reminded of Sir Ken Robinson and Bud Hunt.

Robinson got me thinking about something. Do adults grow out of creativity. I think that I have. I don’t want that to happen to my students. I didn’t want that to happen to me but, it did. Now I get to start all over again and reach deep down for some courage and freedom from fear. I am afraid to make mistakes and I do not want my students to be afraid to make mistakes. He said that, “kids are not afraid to be wrong (adults are)” and “if you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original”.

Hunt said that, “students learn more and better and fuller and richer when they are making something to demonstrate their learning”. He defined play as “the search for freedom within constraints”. These are both ideas I want to develop in my students. How can I encourage them to develop these ideas if they are not developed in me?

Here is what I hope to gain from this “along the way, you might discover the parts of yourself that have gone to sleep or have never been awake” (Bud Hunt). INDEED!!

So the answer is yes. Yes ds106 IS awesome!!

References! Quick Links! More Info!

ds106 Website

aetherbunny2012 The Happy Student’s Guide to ds106

Alan Levine The ds106 Show

Giulia Forsythe How ds106 Changed My Life

Do Schools Kill Creativity – Sir Ken Robinson

Centering on Essential Lenses – Bud Hunt


2 thoughts on “Is ds106 Awesome?

  1. I would have never thought to read the reviews of other students in the DS106 course. I had no idea that it would be such an intense course and I admit I’m nervous now as well! I appreciate the resources that you offered to help ease us through the course!


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