How Can Two Weeks Fly By So Fast?

I had worked on these assignments here and there throughout the past couple of weeks, particularly in the brainstorming phase, but did not have any idea of how much time it would take to make my ideas reality.

A lesson learned is that I will try to borrow a Mac for my final assignment. I think there are too many limitations in Movie Marker, such as not being able to have two layers of audio, as well as several design restrictions.

I plan on revisiting my blog posts for Week’s 6 and 7 this week and building out the content and adding in all references to media I used, but I did want to post my final products tonight.

Rough finale to the week, but looking forward to my final project!


Lions, and Wizards, and Sounds, O My!

It was a beautiful week in DC which ended with a beautiful Easter weekend.

In completing this week’s assignments, I began by revisiting my SoundCloud account that I had previously only used to listen to other people’s audio posts. I read a quote from Victor Hugo that a friend had shared earlier this week.

I then had some fun channeling an almost daily occurrence using Audacity to layer sounds and create a story.

This week I also put my husband to work to help me adding sound effects to a Charlie Chaplin classic using the Foley technique.

For my second audio assignment, I chose to  interview the Washington Wizards coach in anticipation of the first NBA playoff game. His responses were a bit, unusual to say the least. 🙂

Finally, I built out an earlier storified idea I had by starting to think of the shape of the story, and how I could incorporate the techniques we’ve been using into the final project.

It’s really encouraging to read my classmates posts and to know that they are having the same struggles as I am having in completing assignments. I think that they, like I, are learning with every post. The great thing about blogging is that we can learn from each other and pick up good ideas. For example, I didn’t realize that individual pictures assigned to SoundCloud files will appear when the file is embedding to WordPress.

Overall I am really enjoying the assignments. These are great techniques and tools that I can use in many aspects of  life. I’m looking forward to spending more time on my final project.

Stories Have Taken Over

As I’ve mentioned, stories have taken over my life, in a good way. I think as a consultant I always want to look for new approaches or streamlined ways of doing things, and storifying has officially been added to my tool belt!

This week I went hunting for designs that caught my eye. I found three very different examples of design that illustrated very different elements of design and were created for very different purposes. This opened my eyes to how much design is a part of our lives. In looking around my house for the Design Safari, I realized that I have designed much of what is around me, down to the organization of my cups and plates in the cupboard.

I then turned my attention to two design assignments. The first was a four icon summary of a movie. I decided to stick with a classic movie and experimented with the use of icons and color.

I also completed the Word assignment and put a word to life by communicating its essence without color or symbols but rather the text of the word itself. I created a lightning bolt, two words but one item, by breaking the word into shapes and re-sizing text. It took some trial and error, but I’m happy with the word I settled on.

This week I added to my final project options with an idea centered around the complicated process of college applications. At the start of the class I thought coming up with new ideas for our final project would get harder as the weeks went on, but as I learn more about various elements of storification, I am seeing more opportunities pop up.

Viewing and commenting on other blogs and assignment posts has been very interesting. As we are introduced to new design principles, I think we try to incorporate the new with something we’re familiar with (our house, past vacations, pets, etc.) to tie it all together. The incorporation of personal interests into the class assignments provide entertaining posts that are fun to read! I’ve had some very encouraging comments on my posts that have helped me open up to taking more risks in my commentary and designs.

One area I’d like to focus more on in the second half of the class is the sense of disruptive wonder. Not only observing design elements in every day life, but reinventing the design of things that have been the same for ages. I am excited to learn more as we dive into audio and video medias!

And It Finally Feels Like Spring

As we wrap up a week in which we enjoyed some beautiful spring DC weather, and anxiously await the cherry blossoms while dodging tourists, I reflect on quite a week in the ds106 world.

I took full advantage of the weather with a photo shoot on my deck as I experimented with various photography tips and techniques and realized that my deck garden had taken a beating in the rough winter months. My favorite tip was to take pictures of ugly things which gave me a new perspective when taking photos.

I then went on a Photo Safari in the Mason Arlington campus library as I tried to capture as many scavenger photos from the list as possible. I elicited some interesting looks as I took pictures from the floor and climbed on chairs, but I had a great time and definitely went out of my photography comfort zone.

When creating my Five Card Flickr Story I pulled together images taken by strangers and turned them into a story about a curious girl and her mother in a restaurant. This was a tough task as I feel like my mind was flushed with so many ideas I wasn’t sure where to start. I decided to see if I could find a cycle in the images and saw it in the plant to ocean to bay to faucet back to restaurant circle.

I learned some new photo editing techniques as I had some fun creating my Balloon and Rain images as visual assignments for the week. It was great looking through the assignments to see which of the techniques I wanted to focus on for the week. I struggled a bit with Pixlr, but definitely made some great learning progress through these assignments.

Finally, I continued my brainstorming for a final project as I dreamed of a garden to enjoy as the seasons change. In reading and seeing how Dorothea Lange documented her stories in her journal (the original blog) I pictured sharing this story though a series of captioned images that demonstrate the progress of the garden throughout the season.

I look forward to the next ds106 challenge!

Another Week

This week listened to a Radio Lab post. I was able to identify several audio methods and techniques such as sound effects, music, narrative, ambient sounds, and even recordings on the recording. 

I also explored a little girl’s adventure in doctoring her parents in an adorable story outlined in a Cheerios commercial. 

This was the first week of reviewing other students’ work on the blog. It was interesting to see how others designed and titled their blogs. I liked seeing other examples of stories and how, even though they were all different, had such obvious similarities such as main characters and challenges. In reading the blogs, I can see how hyperlinks and connections to other posts can help tie everything together and provide clarification on topics readers may not be familiar with.

I have received some great encouragement on the blog so far which has only helped me feel more comfortable in sharing my stories (pun intended) with the virtual world. I realize that there really is no wrong answer when sharing your experiences, only new ways/media by which you can do so. 

Finally, this week I explored the storifying of the use of Pinterest. There are a ton of ideas for stories of how Pinterest could be used to complement various life activities from planning a bridal shower to developing a school lesson, and pulling these into a stories could convince even the most skeptical that there is a place for Pinterest in their life. 

As I grow more comfortable in using the blog to write posts, I hope to gain some familiarity in incorporating more media directly onto my blog. I had some trouble with it this week but know that practice makes perfect! 

The Last Day of Winter

I have to admit, my journey in DS106 has been a bit intimidating. Having a background in digital media and a fairly comfortable presence online, I was not expecting to be quite so overwhelmed. I personally attribute this feeling to seeing things I’ve done already, or have been exposed to, in a whole new light. Hearing the structure behind some of the most heartwarming stories I’ve heard and watched is exciting, but it also is a bit like lifting the curtain off of Oz. On the other hand, it’s been able to demonstrate that anyone has the ability to create such effective stories through the use of their personal experiences and observations by appealing to their audience.

The process started when I created my blog April Showers May Flower inspired by spring and this season of optimism and new adventures. Although it is a work in progress, I have customized it to my liking by changing the theme, uploading some pictures, and updating the “About Me” section. I even added my first blog post!

I then used Vonnegut’s approach to the shape of stories, along with the 22 Pixar Rules and Story Spine format to explore the story of the 2006 George Mason men’s basketball team identifying the shape of their story as an underdog all the way to the Final Four.

This week I also providing some insight into what storytelling means to me. I spoke of my Grandfather, whom I always associate with storytelling. The movement to “digital” storytelling seems to me to be an obvious one. We live our lives, communicate, and even work completely online, why wouldn’t we tell our stories the same way we live? Ira Glass and Andrew Stanton reinforced my initial thoughts on storytelling describing it as a shared experience the author has with the audience. Stanton shared that the best thing you can do for your audience is create a sense of wonder derived from personal experiences.

Finally, I thought about what I could tackle as part of my final project for the course. What element of my life needed “storifying?” I immediately thought about a presentation I am putting together for my church on 4 different individuals and their decision to join our church. I will be exploring the idea in more detail and brainstorming some additional projects for consideration.

I am very excited for this course. I love the idea of exploring the latest and most interesting media for use in storytelling and in looking at some of the example projects, know I will have a lot of fun learning these techniques and implementing them in my own storytelling.