When I was little, I loved to create. From drawings (see beautiful creation below) to oral stories to painting with water on my grandparents’ front porch, my favorite thing in the world was to let my imagination run wild. As I’ve grown up, I’ve put myself in a position where I create less and less often. School has become a major focus in my life, and any creative energy I have is usually spent towards earning a good grade on a project. When I do have free time, I find myself wanting to enjoy it in a mindless way like watching television. Since I’m at a point in my life that requires so much of me mentally, it is difficult to get myself to create something just for fun. This frustrates me.
However, today I was introduced to an awesome online resource that has the potential to yank me out of my creative rut. ds106 is a website that provides daily creative “assignments” anyone can complete and then share using social media. The assignments come in a myriad of different forms, including: visual, audio, web, writing, animated gifs, design, video, mash-up, fanfiction, and even 3D print. Everything from creating your own Game of Thrones house (I’m super duper excited for this one) to transplanting a beloved character into a new world using only audio clips.
The best part? ds106 is actually a class… but it TOTALLY doesn’t feel like it! Started by professor Jim Groom of the University of Mary Washington back in December 2010, ds106 was actually founded on the idea of digital storytelling. People in the class and outside of it come together to create a vibrant online community dedicated to telling bits and pieces of their personal story through digital creations. While some people are participating for a grade (myself included) it is easy to say it reaches far beyond the classroom. Many of my past creative assignments for school have felt tedious, but this is like an outlet. For a short amount of time every day, myself and who knows how many others get to take a break from life and simply let our creative juices flow. How neat is that?
ds106 provides the means for me to feel like a kid again. I might be in my dorm room instead of outside the home of my grandparents forty miles away, but it’s like painting on the concrete porch by dipping my Grandpa’s old wood finishing brushes in an ice cream tub of water all over again. Only online, this time. 😀 I can’t wait to start creating with ds106 every day.