cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

It’s been a jam full week of conference and post conference fun at Open Education 2012 – how much cooler could a conference be that has not only a night boat cruise but has a rocking jam session from participants?

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by mnlamberson

On the first day I had my 22.5 minutes to talk about the ds106 Assignment Bank and the Remix Machine we built for it earlier this year – the idea hopefully to share that its more than just using resources strung together but thinking of everything as something we can bend, spindle, fold, and mutilate creatively- that we actually remix our ideas.

The session was The Open Assignment Bank of ds106 and Remixing Thereof where you will find requisite slides and resource links.

ds106 is an open course in Digital Storytelling based at the University of Mary Washington. Central to the course is a collection of assignments created by participants (well over 300), each ranked by degree of difficulty. This year we added a remix generator, combining random assignments with a remix “card” detailing how to do it differently. Students are asked to use as starting material the work of other students from the original assignment. Experience these first hand at this session.

I am not tiring of talking about how fun and exciting it is to be teaching and growing ds106, and how little I cam caring these days that it is overshadowed by other over inflated fandango bovine acronym named crap.

Earlier in the week I had presented on the ds106 syndication structure for Wordcamp Vancouver so there was some overlap; I used a bit of that presentation (maybe 5 slides) to give the overview of how the flow of ds106 works.

The idea for the remix came from yet another one of the great ideas that came from Tom Woodward in that magical December 2010 period when we were “jamming” on the ideas fo the open course- it was Tom’s idea of Assignment Wild Cards that propelled me to make the Assignment remixer (and Tom offered some ideas as I was building it in March 2012)- see also my notes on the making of this site.

The idea is a nudge for people to work on the idea part of media creation- all too much I find many of our students are locked into the Assignment Mindset- what do I have to produce to get the grades/points? They focus on the product, creating the design poster or the audio story, when we want them to be able to write about their idea development, influences, the how and why of making digital art, not just the what.

So in doing the random remixer as we do– at the site you get dealt a random assignment from the big colection combined with a random “Card” that directs a variation on the original assignment. It’s not just the goal to do the thing, but to work on the hard part of how to even interpret the combination? This is the creative part, and it was something I tried to link over to the resonating theme from Gardner Campbell’s keynote, that double take when something unexpected/different happens in learning, the magic when students go beyond the assignment mindset.

Another key part of the remix is asking the students to use media from the examples that other students had created in response to the initial assignment- this does a few things, it enhances the remiz idea, but gives students the reason to look at (and maybe even comment) on the works of other students.

I could not have been more lucky in the session when I went to the random generator that the assignment that came up was the Patty Pioneers one because the image is Gardner’s hero Doug Engelbart with a hamburger inserted into his mouse hand. This ds106 assignment alone is one that at first begs the question, why should we be creating mashup photos of internet founders with fast food?

Simply put, this assignment involves editing a picture of any Computer Pioneer so that it looks like they are eating/about to eat/holding a burger or similar types of fast food.

For example, instead of using a hamburger as I did in the example photograph, you may wish to use a hot dog or french fries. Anything that you may find at a local fast food restaurant is acceptable. Drinks may be used as well, however, you must incorporate fast food within your picture.

It’s not about the thing they create, but how students learn about these important figures and draw a humorous connection- that is the leap of thinking I think Gardner was alluding to. But then when you lay a Media Bender card on it, the interesting think as I put it out was to ask the audience how to interpret it? Or say combined with Pretty in Pink?

Open Ed 2012

Actually this is not quite te implementation Tom had in mind- his one was to allow people to take an assignment, and draw a card, and then send that to someone else as a challenge (something I may still add as a feature).

The other idea I tossed out (I had hoped to actually have it done for the conference) is the feature to allow site users to take an assignment and contribute a re-interpretation of it in a discipline area – like how to do a Four Icon challenge that works as an assignment for Math or French? This came out of a question from Dean Shareski earlier this year – to me this is the kind of remix good teachers do all the time, they re-interpret existing material ideas for their discipline or student population.

Anyhow, I had a ton of fun in this session. Its wonderful to meet people who either already know of ds106, or to have someone who comes up and says, “The Daily Create is perfect for what I want to take on as a way to be more creative”

What I hoped to convey is the general idea that we can think very broadly with what remix could mean, much more than just content.

ds106- it ain’t no silly _-_-_-_!

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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


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