cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Dean Shareski has been running a wonderful example of learning by doing/sharing/reflecting in his personal learning project to learn how to play a guitar. There’s a lot of things I like about what he is doing:

  • As a teacher, he is doing the same project he is asking his students to do. I cannot say how powerful this is, it is the thing Jim Groom has done all along in his digital storytelling courses (even before ds106) and was something I always respected Barbara Ganley for doing when she was teaching writing at Middlebury College. This changes the entire student/teacher dynamic.
  • Learning is happening in public. Dean is showing the example of examining what he is doing by putting it out in public. Not the final project, but the process. This ought to happen all the time.
  • The network is providing People are responding to his posts with suggestions, resources. etc.
  • Narrate the process doing this in video makes you reflect to an audience, but more importantly yourself. As you progress, the videos should chart your progress (can someone say “assessment”?)

So I cannot just let him pass what eh put out as a challenge without picking one up myself. I’ve thought about it a while, and came up with wanting to learn how to play the harmonica I bought for my trip. I imagined having the time to sit around campfire and learn how to play, but the thing has hardly been out.

I am sitting in a hotel in Asheville, North Carolina and said, damnit Dean I gotta catch up. This is my first baseline, or Dean’s step 4 “Take a early baseline snapshot of your understand at the beginning and another one at the end. Compare and analyze.”

So help me out with some resources, videos for me to get started. I’ve seen a few, and they all involve someone who makes it look so easy a 2 year old should be able to be wailing the blues in 10 minutes.

I’m ready to learn.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. I think Bryan Jackson should give you lessons via #ds106radio or Youtube videos. Him recording lessons then you practicing the lessons and recording the practice. Just sayin’.

    1. Done.

      (That being said, you’ve got the right key to play with Emaj. Absolutely get yourself one of those Bob Dylan headracks – easy to feel your way around the blues scale.)

      “You get better at stuff by doing it, and making a commitment.” Rock on, buddy. Can’t wait for #NV12. Wailing away with harmonica through a mic is oisome.

      Stay tuned for the harmonica video.

  2. I almost decided to try the mouth organ instead but went with the guitar. Thanks for finding my project useful.
    I keep thinking if our job is to help people learn, we need to figure out better and better ways to show what that looks like. This is one small way.

    What I find interesting about that instrument is that it does seem so small and perhaps simple and yet can be used so creatively.

    Looking forward to your next video.

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