Who said summer was downtime for learning? – ds106 #4Life

Ds106 touches individuals differently depending upon where in their life path they may be traveling. It has pulses and energy for all paths and directions and the beauty is that no one way is right. Even for an individual, it will change and morph and circle, or tangent over time and projects.

I found the midwest winter, the first year of retirement from daily job responsibilities, and the kizmet of starting ds106 at the same time a UMW class was in session brought a high level of activity for me. I loved it! As the UMW session finished up it was almost like going cold turkey. The twitter feed was almost non-existent and interactions dropped dramatically. The individuals I had seen grow over 14 weeks were now off to their other life needs. A few are still around and it is good to see them in a non-traditional student role as a community member.

every post deserves a random GIF! inserted. ūüôā

One of the safety nets¬†I had put in place for myself was joining the Google+ Community of open course participants. One of the¬†first open/headless courses seemed to bond and gather some #4life folks who are still active almost daily. Their energy and passion seems to keep others afloat and offer reality checks of how to make a lifestyle vs overwhelming expectations. There are some true ambassadors and shepherds of ds106 in this community who are totally giving. A¬†random comment or post every now and again keep the ds106 life breathing. In the community, I can see the acceptance of diversity and how the culture has embraced the Heckyl and Jeckyl tendencies of people who find a passion and go full speed ahead for a while, but then may also drop back and out of sight for a time. And why shouldn’t that be all right? It is life isn’t it? When re-entering it is almost as if one never left. And creativity and ideas are always embraced.

So summer brings a time for those with otherwise professional responsibilities and those who do ds106 to stay human, whole and creative, and maybe have made some extra time to create together in creative strands.

Traditional education institutions still see summer as down time. Funny how education systems still need to be reminded that learning is 24×7 and 365 and most learning doesn’t happen in a classroom. I can only imagine how K12 students and even post secondary might be different if we didn’t have the systems we have – but I digress – that is another deep topic for another conversation!

Summer means PLAYTIME in ds106! It really knows no calendar.
It is THE example of 24x7x365 anytime, anywhere learning in which the learner is responsible for learning and creating their customized path.

A summer 2015 focus is Prisoner106 Рa TV show as the topic for creating. This storyline has organized more as a group and is creating in the ds106 format and is listed as Summer 2015 Open DS106. It has brought together #4life and new to #ds106 artists. A great opportunity to stretch your own skills and creativity.

Another open group¬†is the working on the next in the series of the Bugeron Family and the Summer Trailer. This year the family is producing the bi-annual story telling festival with¬†the theme of Fairy Tales. Anyone who lives ds106 is invited to join the family and create. There is family history to catch up on with lots of open paths for creating your own character. It is a complex web of characters, storylines, and real people with many layers. At first it can be intimidating – but as you look closer you realize it is just full of opportunities for creations. After following #noir106 and it’s case files¬†(see the archive created by Maggie Stough), agencies and characters, I see a similarity in approach. More on this in a future post.

Then of course the option of following the headless course in your own context or taking on the suggested learning assignments. Always a good choice that seems to stand the test of time (so far) in filling the learning passion for the many who embark on the journey.

But yet then more!!! UMW has a few sections running thru the summer in which one can follow along with traditional students. These sections are fun for some of us more travelled people. The different look at life from a different station is a real boost for creativity and an opportunity to learn and to give.

And – yet more – a graduate course in CU Denver Learning with Digital Stories is using ds106 as their learning for this summer and have jumped in the deep end right off the mark. So another burst of creative minds inspired and challenged by for one’s own learning.

And – ds106radio!!! #ds106spell, RockyLou Radio, @cogdog vinyl spins, @dkernohan sessions – TUNE IN! It will get your juices flowing!


and of course we have @cogdog and @jimgroom, @mdvfunes, @johnjohnston, @rockylou, @talkytina – and so many others (no offense – so many I can’t list!) who continue to keep the ds106 life¬†running.

And this is only what I have stumbled upon – as you watch the Twitter tags – so many more flavors of ds106 to sample. Share what you find.

It is summer recess for education Рbut recess means PLAY TIME and CREATING. Go forth and make art! ds106 #4life


#ds106 Personalized Learning Plan Unit 6-7

Cow – 2014 by KOnarheim Acrylic

As an open course participant I design my own customized learning plan. Does this mean I create all the assignment requirements and criteria and go willy nilly into learning. NO! What it entails is me reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses and the guidance and framework of the course and community to decide what I need as a learner to advance. The open course (and even the facilitated course #noir106) offer guidance and successful building blocks as a framework for learning practices in new skills in alignment with a final standard or outcome.

My process;

  1. Self reflection and looking at earlier feedback and/or assessment data  on work completed. Self assessment of skills for suggested growth and development to identify needs or wants. I can do this independently or through question and inquiry of community members, facilitators or people who offer to mentor.
  2. Reviewing framework of Headless ds106 and #noir106 facilitated group assignments and goals. How do they align or begin to add a thread or shape to my own personal goals (in this instance – how do I develop skills for being able to use the boxes of photos and artifacts¬†(content) from family to create¬†digital stories of our history¬†as a family that someone might actually view and enjoy as well as not lose what makes us special – This goal is almost a tangent from a post by Alan Levine about old technology access – “It‚Äôs 2015. I‚Äôm Going to Make a HyperCard Stack.” How do we make sure others know how we got to the present to continue towards a future?
  3. Goal Setting – create my goals for a specified time. In this case Units 6-7 (and a week of spring break)
  4. Put into written form the customized path of tasks and learning practice to meet the goal(s) set.
  5. Use the ds106 Assignment Bank and #noir106 Wk 6-7 requirements for constructed guidance and ideas for learning and creations. (side note – in a K12 classroom this could be the lesson plan data base for students – everyone does not need to do water studies or biographies at the same time. My view of personalized learning as teachers helping students learn how to learn and become their own lesson planners using the resources and guidance of an expert. If K12 gets this right – think of all the adults who will naturally fall into being independent learners instead of UNlearning so much or doing things as they have always been done because they know nothing else. How creative would the be and what would the world look like? Maybe more caring and responsible? I can only hope that we might find out some day)
  6. Customize assignments to fit within my context Рsuch as РI will not create a noir radio bumper, but an intro and ending bumper related to my family member character for use in audio and future video. Another example: not a Noir poster, but a poster/logo for my family member for a specific time in life or in general that will become their visuals out all the stories created.
  7. Document,reflectby posting to this blog as my evidence of learning and process.
    1. Post iterations, task completions, reflections and the final outcomes. It is important for sharing and feedback to post the steps as well as stay on track in my customized path. Otherwise project creep will easily set in. Each learning practice is a piece of a greater whole at this point.
    2. it help others who create their own paths by example and ideas
    3. Sharing thru social networks (ie. Twitter) will give feedback and engagement to push my work farther and greater outcomes.
  8. Share final creations with others outside of “working network” for feedback or examples for others to use in their own learning. (could be as a model or as a what NOT to do. Doesn’t matter for my learning if others can use it in some way to advance on their own in their way. Either way the work makes a difference somehow to someone.)


I am still struggling with the template of my customized learning plan. Academically I know it needs certain sections so that this all holds together. Traditional templates have strong points and value, but also seem to constrain me and send me back to traditional system assumptions and criteria. I am also not far enough along to analyze what is working and what is not as effective. I am leaving open that the learning plan format or frame changes each unit at this point and will summarize and decide later within the ds106 structure what was most helpful and kept me tracked as an independent learner on the learning continuum.

While the #noir106 cohort is busy in group collaboration creating their radio shows and then taking a spring break, I will be busy creating my audio products and pulling them together for my character/family. My group collaboration will be in dropping in on the #noir`106 creations as fresh ears and eyes for critical friend feedback if asked (or not), while learning from the groups design, audio and storytelling techniques.

I have pondered most of my week away along with other life activities – time to get this down on paper and move forward!

 Learning Plan Unit 6-7 

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