The K12 Online Conference is the forum for “The World’s Craziest Educational Videos Featuring ds 106”, which is an online storytelling community. Specifically, it’s a college course that offers no credits and is free to participate in online. It started as a grand idea – all participants procured their own website, domain and webposts and then all the links were syndicated into the ds 106 website. The advantages are that it is a visible community that is subscribed to via e-mail. There are no assignments per se; rather, topics/categories are chosen and people submit their own assignments based on that.
What I learned from viewing the ds 106 materials was an astounding concept – people can become emboldened and confident enough in a community of active learners to make mistakes while learning in public. The technical support and inspiration that the participants give each other in order to bring projects to completion are attributes that I will encourage in my classrooms, because collaborative learning is an opportunity for everyone to contribute and expand knowledge. Also, the idea of “create your own assignment” based on certain parameters would undoubtedly encourage greater participation from reluctant students.
Finally, the concept of “online anytime” delivery is user friendly – people with varied schedules and demands are able to participate at the time most convenient for them. All in all, ds 106 is another demonstration of creative approaches to learning which seem unnerving at first, but ultimately are recognized as legitimate facets of the lifelong educational process.