When people find out that I’ve just completed a university class and have registered for another one next term, years after getting my Bachelor of Education degree, they often ask one of the following questions:
Are you getting your Masters? (No.)
Do you *have to* take this class? (No.)
Well then, *why would you* take a class?
The fact that I would invest my time, energy, and money into a course without there being a requirement from someone to do so is shocking to many people, but the truth is, I love learning. I love to be innovative and to try new things and to implement methods and ideas before they become mainstream. And, truth be told, I am hoping to get myself back into a classroom of my own, after being away from the profession for a few years. I have been substitute teaching for over a year and I am really shocked at how few people seem to be embracing and utilizing technology and digital learning in the classroom. I took ECMP355, Technology in the Classroom, to help me understand how digital learning can be utilized to create amazing, motivating learning experiences and environments and now I am excited to start implementing what I have learned. ECMP355 gave me the chance to be quite self-directed and I was enthusiastic and motivated to explore and participate. I love learning, and this was a great way for me to re-enter the formal education arena.
Self-directed learning and exploration is what struck me as being the ‘idea’ behind ds106, which is a free open online course called Digital Storytelling. I’ve heard ds106 thrown around in connection to its live-streaming station that is used to broadcast projects from this course and found that there was a keynote address about the ds106 on the K12 Online Conference 2011.
What strikes me is the sheer numbers of people who are choosing to become involved with ds106. The voluntary participation in the assignments for the course is amazing and the quality of work that is being produced, ‘just because’ is quite astounding!
Jim Groom, who presents the keynote in a light, entertaining fashion, suggests that ds106 might be a ‘cult’ or an ‘addiction’ and as someone who loves to learn, I can see why people get so caught up in it. It’s an amazing creative outlet in a supportive community of people who share and create together.
The theme of the K12 Online Conference 2011 is Purposeful Play, and you can see how people are playing together, sharing ideas, having fun and being engaged in the ds106 community. There is definitely something to be said for using this type of platform to learn. It becomes something that we enjoy doing, want to do more of, continue to do, and yes, perhaps get addicted to doing. And we learn from it and become part of a supportive community as we go.
How can it possibly be shocking to people to want to be involved in something as awesome as all that?