Something for myself, this week: Digital Storytelling 106

ds106 Introduction from Bryan Jackson on Vimeo.

It’s the end of another semester of TALONS and guitar teaching,ending – as they do – in the flourish of report cards, reference letters, applications for next year’s program, a school trip to Sun Peaks, and the recording phase of the finalists in the Write Gleneagle’s Anthem contest. It is an intense time for teachers and students alike, and poses with its challenges an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

Leave it to Jim Groom to exert himself, and his rambling circus of an “Massive Open Online Course,” Digital Storytelling 106 (affectionately, #ds106), upon such a week in January.

…it is time to push yourself beyond your creative comfort zone, time for us to wrestle honestly with the future of education through praxis and engagement and, more than anything else in my book, it’s time to make some damned art already. Let’s go!!!!

Bava Tuesdays

Indeed. Let’s go!!!

When Amber Strocel visited the Talons classroom last fall, she spoke about the power of social media to unite each of us with our “Best People,” our tribe, and after two years wandering the deserts of the Twittersphere, blogging, and the wilds of Facebook, I am getting closer to a unifying purpose in the integration of technology in my classroom, and my classroom with the pursuit of my life’s passion.

I am four years into this experiment in teaching, and have in place many aspects of my personal and professional life that allow (challenge?) my mind to wander to what else I might do with this developing understanding – of my role as a teacher, citizen, and member of the human race. Working with gifted students in a tech-infused classroom that covers modern English and history curriculum in the emergent terrain of the digital universe has not dampened the spirit forged by my years as a Creative Writing student in the deep south, who worked furiously in black ink and blank sheets of paper on imitation Kerouac, and Henry David Thoreau tomes, double-underlining the words, Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.

But this isn’t to say it isn’t more complicated, as the modern world beckons always at the door, television, phone, and computer screen. Jabiz puts it nicely:

I have never in my life been more “connected” than right now. I could riddle this post with a barrage of hyperlinks denoting the many pies into which my fingers are currently poked. I could send you, dear reader, on a scavenger hunt of content that I have created or am in the process of creating. Links to  posts, tweets, applications exalting the wonder of technology and connection, but as I sit here on my sofa with the nasally seductive voice of Colin Meloy crooning me into a state of comfortable obscurity, I’m left with one question- why do I feel so empty and alone? Isn’t this global connectivity supposed to alleviate my solitude? Shouldn’t my sharing bring me closer to you?

As I stated toward the end of a rather lengthy reply to his post, I think that:

the opportunity we do have, though, if we are driven to positively inhabit our shared space, and aid one another in realizing our best selves in the world, is revolutionary. So many people sharing their most intimate personal revelations – good and ill – is a powerful commodity, and we stand at a juncture where, in this moment, we are able to freely interact and communicate in myriad ways.

I’m happy to have stumbled in through the side door of this thing called #ds106 – it seemed to come along at just the right time.

Thanks Jabiz and Jim for the kick in the right direction.

Now to get going – on all of it!

3 thoughts on “Something for myself, this week: Digital Storytelling 106

  1. Hi, my name is Mandy, and I am an edu310 student at the University of South Alabama. I have been assigned to following your blog and will continue to leave comments throughout the semester. On February sixth I will post a summary on my blog about your current blogs and my comments on them. My URL is and my twitter account is @mandyelizabeth1.

    I found the discussion of the growing use of technology and social networks to be incredibly true. I can agree with the fact that although many are very “connected” per say it is still possible to feel a lack of personal connection. I admire your advanced use of technology and plan to use it in my future classroom as well.

  2. Hello Mr. Jackson,
    I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am enrolled in a class called EDM 310 and I have been assigned to comment on your blog. If you would like to check out my blog here is the URL:
    I like your metaphor where you compare your journey of learning more about technology to a long trip through a jungle or desert. I have just begun my journey of learning how to incorporate technology in my future classroom. Sometimes it does seem like a struggle to explore all of this unfamiliar technology, but I hope this will benefit my future students. I am inspired by the idea that you stated in your comment on Jabiz’s blog post that we are all a part of a great technological learning community. That seems to make it all worth it.

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