Monday, September 30, 2013

Digital Creativity: Harnessing the Collective Energy

"It is innate for human beings to create stories and to create art."  ~Jason Eskanazi

In Week 5 of DS106, we were challenged to create stories through our photographs. Using suggestions borrowed from David duChemin in his book Ten:  Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft,  we were asked to be more deliberate in taking photographs.  In an age where everyone takes pictures of everything ALL THE TIME, they are doing just that.  They are taking a picture to record an event, not a photograph -- a creation, a play on words,  light, or perspective.  Not since I took a photography course in college have I been so deliberate about taking photographs.  At the time I had a 35mm SLR that my father bought on a trip to Vietnam in 1965.  We developed our own film.  We captured ideas and translated them to images.

The first exercise was a PhotoBlitz.   The exercise challenges you to think quickly and creatively.  You take 11 pictures given certain key words in 15 minutes that evoke the given idea.  I chose Ho'okipa Beach on Maui's North Shore for the exercise.  Other students expressed feeling awkward taking photographs in public (who is this weirdo)?  Beach goers are more relaxed and I was free to roam.  I chose to create a Haiku Deck on Visual Literacy using my pictures.  Schools focus on Literacy, Digital Literacy, Numerical Literacy and Cultural Literacy.  Rarely do we see focus on the importance of Visual Literacy and how it can be used to draw connections across the curriculum.

We were then asked to select what we considered our five best pictures.  These were my favorites....


"And we find that people doing this week’s work come away noticing the world around them in more detail." ~Headless #ds106

My next photography exercise was not assigned.  We took a Road Trip to Hana and I decided to try out the suggestions that I learned during the week.  Follow the rule of thirds, change your perspective, get pickier, pay attention to the moment.  No longer was I just clicking, I was actually designing the picture.  Not too bad for an amateur with an iPhone.  I also employed the Fast Tricks for the iPhone to further enhance my skill set.

Sea ArchLava CliffsFollow the Path...The Jeep Goes Everywhere!Windmill Farm PerspectiveHamoa Beach
Hamoa Beach #2Haleakala National Park SignA Zen Moment on the Beach

Road Trips, a set on Flickr.

The final exercise I was able to complete was to "pimp up" my Flickr account.  That included creating a set of my best photos.  I decided that I would select the Blue Ribbon photo for each week of #ds106.  This way I can see the progression of my work (hopefully)!  As you can see above, I was able to embed a Flickr set into my blog and used FlickrSLiDR to embed the Blue Ribbon Photo of the Week in a Flickr Slideshow below.

Blue Ribbon of the Week

Created with flickrSLiDR

I spent a considerable amount of time looking at the work of fellow DS106ers, commenting on blogs, seeing incredibly creative images, methodology, and hard work that has been expended this week by the community.  I am energized by the collective energy that is evolving.  Each idea generated creates a flurry of activity, support and partnership.  Consider Rochelle Lockridge & Christine Hendrick's Audio Week in Review, or Ary Aranguiz's CollaboGiffing Project, Mariana Fuenes's determination to isolate the "eyes" in Ary's animated GIF and John Johnston's Photoblitz name a few.   

DS106 channels the collective energy into the creation of stories, sounds, and art that allow us to make make meaning of our experience.  In Is There Such a Thing as Digital Creativity by Julian Sefton, she suggests that the process of selection, manipulation and decision-making in meaning-making through comparison of editing across media...points to the way that digital creativity – or at least meaning-making in the digital era – brings together in the new ways processes that used to be separate and bound by academic convention.

DS106 showcases the power of digital creativity by harnessing the collective energy of the group.  In eLearning and Digital Cultures: A multitudinous open online course, Jeremy Knox (a co-facilitator of the course),  observes that where work was collected and displayed together, the observer begins to get a sense, not of the individual merit of a single piece, but of the collective energy and intensity of the multitude...a shift away from thinking about individuals to thinking about connections, flows, and relations that exceed us as human beings.

DS106 transforms digital creativity into an engaging (often intoxicating) social experience.  We move from passive participants to active content creators. In the sharing of our individual stories, we contribute to the collective energy of the group.   In his blog, Kevin Hodgson reminds us that  the activity of making shifts consumers away from mass-produced materials and therefore, provides an individualistic sense of creation; and that the social element of digital literacies has the potential to increase engagement and heighten the creative element of making something that will impact the world.

What DS106 exemplifies is the synergistic creativity of the group, the importance of collaborative storytelling,and the opportunity to hone the skills necessary for creating, communicating, collaborating and networking in a digital world.


  1. Loved all your pictures! I showed my husband to remind him of the Road to Hana Although he drove the entire time,( I could never) I didn't get carsick, but he did. He swore he would never do it again, but I know he will change his mind if we ever return, which your pictures made me feel like booking a flight! So beautiful and you did a great job as you said capturing the beauty! I love the title "the collective energy"'s like edcmooc again in a way. We feed of each others' creativity, and the pings here and there even while we're out and connect through the phone makes it intoxicating and addicting to check what's new! I did not see where/how to make a flickr slider. I will need to check that out. Thanks Cathleen for another lovely post and such great pictures of Hawaii!

    1. We actually drove the road to Hana from the other side. It was not nearly as bad as the way you drove and far less people so that we could really explore. I really believe that MOOCs have the capability of allowing us to harness the creative energy and be cocreators of our experiences. This to me is education and this is what we need to bring to our schools. Up until DS106, I have not really taken the time to explore the beauty of Maui through pictures. It has brought out the inner artist and how fun to share! Oops, there go those pings again!!