There are a number of reasons that stories are important. Stories leave lasting impressions with people. They create something that a person can relate to. Rather than just listening to words and processing them, individuals are able to make connections to their everyday lives. This happens because often a good story pulls on people’s emotions or past memories. People interpret the context and according to Rohan Ayyar “…a compelling story with an emotional trigger alters our brain chemistry, making us more trusting, understanding of others, and open to ideas.” How do you know you are telling a good story? Presentation and knowing your audience is the first step in determining this.
As a new person to Twitter, Sound Cloud, Flickr, Kumu, Photo Splash, Audacity, the DS106 Community, as well as CU (just to name a few), sometimes just completing one assignment can feel like the most rewarding thing imaginable. For me personally, telling my story has been a challenge of learning not only multiple websites and how to use them but on a deeper level it was learning how to break down my own walls. I am not used to social media in any form and I would have to say even what looks like baby steps to other people was significant to me. The emotions of terror, frustration, and hopelessness actually was mirrored in my journey over the last few months when I moved to Denver.
There have been several assignments that I have completed that have explored my personal them of “Exploring a New City”. The four most notable DS106 assignment bank entrees I completed are as follows:
- I hope I found my pot of gold. The reason I chose this Visual Assignment was because it shows the progression of my journey. I started out very hesitant at trying any complicated application. For my first assignment I chose to emphasize a rainbow that I took a picture of the first time I visited Denver (before I moved here). The very basic completion of this was my first step in opening up to this whole world of “digital story telling.”
What is this picture?. This is the Video Assignment I completed for week 3. In this odd, perfectly timed video, I was on a bus going home from work. There was a flash flood and I was able to capture the moments of panic and eventual laughter of a group of people experience true public transportation.
3. Snow White visits the Mile High City. Week 5’s Mashup Assignment provided me a way to use different tools to create a remix of “Snow White meets Southpark.” I used various websites for pictures and different fonts to complete this assignment. I also learned how to edit pictures using Paint and snipping tools. The results although unusual, was a great learning experience for me.
4. Need plans for the weekend?. This was my week 7 Web Assignment. This was the culmination of weeks worth of frustrations and anxiety finally melting away. I have been slowly compiling a list of places I want to visit in Denver based on feedback from coworkers, friends, and strangers I meet around the city. This was the first time I was able to condense all my thoughts in to one project. I plan on actually using this map to explore this state. I even created a tutorial for how to create this map using Google maps for the DS106 website.
Stories are a way to turn information into meaning. A good story contains facts that drive the larger idea.
“Master storytellers want us drunk on emotion so we will lose track of rational considerations, relax our skepticism, and yield to their agenda” –George Bailey
There were four critiques I did that highlighted my theme of exploring a new city. The first two critiques were done using Jason Ohler’s assessment traits and for the second two I used Lankshear and Knobel’s literacy dimensions found in chapter four.
Colorado is thirsty for change. Was the first critique were I challenged myself to find out about a local issue that is occurring in Denver. This article talked about the battle in Colorado over a serious issue of “who owns the rain?” Ever since I completed this critique I have read the Denver news (on my phone) as I now realize the value in keeping up to date with local events, especially as a transplant into this state.
2. “Face-stalking” taking it too far. I chose to critique this article not necessarily because of my theme but rather because it had to do with social media. After reading chapter 3 in New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning, I was compelled to look deeper at the implications of Facebook. What I found terrified me, but as an educated individual I try to remind myself to see the big picture. If I accept the idea that someone could be watching me and I am able to move on from this, I have succeeded.
3. Examining a local comic con. I really enjoyed doing this critique, as it was more fun than actual work. I watched countless video’s on YouTube from various points of view from people who attended the local comic con that was held in Denver earlier this year. I was drawn in by the various costumes and accessories that people from all over Colorado. I unfortunately missed this years event, but I look forward to attending in 2016.
4. From Colorado? Watch this video!!. I was immediately drawn to this video I found on Vimeo’s website. This short clip was filmed in downtown Denver as well as Boulder. The purpose behind this video was to highlight a global issue. I found it inspiring to see a group of people trying to tackle a huge issue by just getting the word out and educating “the world.”
Motivating and inspiring stories help pave the way for engagement. By opening a person’s mind one can help stimulate the imagination. Creating real world stories and examples will help draw this creative process.
Three chapters in New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Lankshear and Knobel resonated with me when reviewing my focal theme.
- Creating your own world. The second chapter is one that I gained the most clarification on, as I read the book and listened to the class screen casts. Although when I posted this review of the chapter, I was not set on my focal theme, the mention of peoples D/discourses came into play. I was puzzled (at first) of what this all meant. As I went through this course it became more clear. My own interpretations of the book, this class, and my focal theme began from the questions that arose after reading this chapter.
2. Approach blogging with caution. This chapter in the book is when I went through my “suspicion” phase. The deeper dive into the sharing of our different Discourses, had me questioning who could be looking at my blog. The nervous idea’s that arose in my mind were only amplified as I critiqued an article referencing how Facebook now can identify people’s faces in a fraction of a second. Reflecting back on this review, I am happy to say I have overcome MOST of my fears of paranoia, which at first wasn’t easy.
3. What is a blank slate anyway?. Push and pull were the major emphasis in chapter 7. What stood out to me was the idea of a blank slate. I questioned what it meant to think about the needs of the audience viewing my blog. Throughout this class I have attempted to understand how I was being judged by the teacher but not necessarily by my peers. Looking back I wish I could have read this chapter sooner as it prompted me as a reader (or in my case a blogger) to think more of other people’s perceptions and not just my own.
“…Stories often teach important lessons about a given society’s culture, the land, and the ways in which members are expected to interact with each other and their environment. The passing on of these stories from generation to generation keeps the social order intact.” –Erin Hanson
Making connections to other individuals and sharing our own personal story is an important part of learning. It is our own unique experiences that help create these stories. By engaging with my peers, colleagues, friends and family I have over the course of 8 weeks increased my learning experience in this class. Below are just a few of the examples of the interactions I have had.
I received feedback from others who agreed with me even when what I was critiquing wasn’t necessarily well written.
Once and awhile I even had classmates that inspired me. I ended up critiquing the article Emily May sent me in a comment on my blog.
Often the inspiration led to bigger things. La Dawna Minnis made me think about creating something for younger people who would probably be traveling more. It was this week that I decided to start a list of places to visit in Denver. This is what led me to create my final Web Assignment.
There were times when others not in our class could relate to my feelings of frustration. They even offered help. Even this small amount of encouragement helped me realize I probably wasn’t the only one feeling hopeless.
I got help when I needed it
I even made it into the digital DS106 newspaper!! Guess I can’t put that on the fridge.
Overall this class has been an amazing experience. Throughout all my mistakes frustrations and confusion I made it out alive and well. The assignments pushed me to think outside the box, and I had a great time telling my story and reading others stories along the way. I can’t wait to explore more of this city (now that I might have a bit of free time). I don’t think I have ever felt so much relief after finishing a class. 🙂