Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Little Miss Muffet...

I am finally sitting down to write a reflective blog on Week 3:  What Mean Ye Digital Storytelling for DS106. In a recent comment, I described myself as being way behind -- and our Headless Cheerleader +Christine Hendricks  reminds us that "it really doesn't matter if you're "behind." I've heard people say there's no "behind" in ds106, because, of course, nothing is required! You can do what you can, when you can."

I enjoyed describing what Storytelling means to me in my blog Once Upon a Time.  Little Miss Muffet was one of my favorites, and my Dad always used to call me that.  It brings back many wonderful memories of my childhood.

In addition to the stories that make up our cultural literacy, fables, fairy tales, myths and legends, nursery rhymes and the Bible, +Sandy Brown Jensen reminds us of the Hero's Journey.

Kurt Vonnegut gives us the shapes of stories,
Image:'s infographic-style interpretation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Shape of Stories" theory.

and our High School English teachers taught us there are 7 types of stories summarized in Christopher Booker's, The Seven Basic Plots.

I tried the 5 card Flickr story exercise "Think Globally, Act Locally" which resulted in a rather bleak story about extinction.  +Sandy Brown Jensen commented that she learned this exercise by writing a sentence for each picture.  This exercise clearly indicates that the pictures alone should convey the story with the narrator able to add only a title and description.  The randomness of the pictures selected forces you to think outside the box, but it can also create a somewhat disjointed story which was clearly expressed in the comments by the viewers.  "I understood your visual progression up until the horse, then I lost the mental thread."

flickr photo by keepps

We were also encouraged to view stories created by the DS106 community.  I started out looking at inSPIRE, a community created collection of the best work of past DS106 students.  I was immediately taken by Silent Era's Back to the Future inspired by Ben Rimes, the Tech Savvy Educator, because of the author's comments.  This is the true spirit of DS106.  (It is interesting to note that Ben's original video went viral).

Many times, I see the awesomeness in other people’s work and think to myself, “There’s no possible way I can do that!,” and shy away from the assignment.  But for some reason, Ben’s jaw-dropping “Silent Era” assignment and the genuine and unselfish way he shared his process inspired me.  It gave me that needed push to improve upon what I had already done.  Not only was I inspired to do my own assignment better, but I am also inspired to try and inspire others in the same manner in the future.

As I checked out Ben's Blog, I was fortunate to find the perfect example of a Digital Story that was created by his wife "One Day in 60 Seconds."  There are lots of web sites out there that allow you to create different digital stories over time, but this is so poignant, crisp, and to the point -- all in the span of one minute.  It has a beginning, middle and a perfect ending.  I am inspired to create a similar type of story.

The importance of the daily create discipline is becoming more evident as the course progresses.  Our creativity is like a muscle that needs daily exercise.  I am struggling with being able to technically create the image in my mind, but each with each exercise, the muscle memory is taking over.  It was nice to be able to combine this week's work into a single blog, Creativity - A Daily Exercise.

One of the most important ideas that is conveyed in DS106 is the importance of documenting the process used to create your image.  I am not at the point that I am using any complex design, but looking at +Alan Levine's description of "On the Cover of a DS Book" for Anya Kamenetz's next book is a standard that I will strive for.

In many cases, I wait to view other people's imagery until I have at least the idea of what I would like to construct in order not to be influenced by other's work.  Once I have an idea, or even after it is posted, I will then look at what my colleagues have created.  I am amazed at the talent that is exhibited and am learning many tricks of the trade.

I also appreciated the comments this week for #talkingheadless106.   I tried to provide good feedback and appreciated the comments that I have received.  I think that because I am new to the group, it will take a while to be more comfortable in providing effective feedback.  Steve Wheeler talks about the importance of blogging and feedback in his blog - Blogging as Conversation.  The community of DS106 is constantly evolving, but it provides a safe environment for experimentation that encourages creativity and conversation.

Parting Shot: The important thing is not the camera but the eye. ~Alfred Eisenstaedt
Eisenstaedt reminds us that our films and cameras can only take photos of what we see through our creative vision. It also emphasizes the importance of training the eye to “see” a picture before clicking the shutter.

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