Reflective Summary for ILT5340 Digital Storytelling: Week 1

*I am currently working my way through my fourth semester of the Information and Learning Technologies master’s program at University of Colorado, Denver.  This is the first post within a series of reflections that I’ve been assigned to write for a course titled Digital Storytelling.

Week 1

  • What have you learned about digital storytelling from participating in your assignments (your Daily Creates, your DS106 Activity Bank Assignments, response to Lankshear and Knobel readings, your self-selected storytelling readings, critique of digital stories, various responses to your CU Denver peers, and engagement with other online social networks)?  What have you learned about your focus topic?  What have you learned about yourself?

It’s only one week into the semester, but I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot more about digital storytelling than I thought I would!  I’d never really given much thought to the concept of digital storytelling, but when I did, I really only thought of it as being videos and audio narratives.  Researching what the Daily Creates were showed me that digital storytelling comes in so many incredible forms.  For example, this week I knocked on a pot, recorded the sound, and explained how the sound was beautiful to me because of my attachment to the pot and the delicious meals I’ve created in it (sounds strange but it goes with my theme).

I’ve looked into the DS106 Assignment Bank and I’m quite excited to work on my first assignment for next week.  There are just so many possibilities and I feel like my creative energies are ready to burst (in a good way)!  I critiqued a digital story in the form of a short film and enjoyed the entire process immensely.  I did feel somewhat under-qualified to be critiquing someone else’s work, but I always feel that way when asked to do such a thing.  The short film related to my theme in that it was essentially about food, and what that food meant to the narrator and how it affected his life.

Lankshear and Knobel New LiteraciesI also read Chapter 1 of Lankshear and Knobel’s “New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning.”  I wasn’t excited by this first chapter, but I wasn’t unimpressed either.  I did learn a lot about the history of literacy and how it has evolved through today.  But I became quite frustrated at times because of the lack of clarity around some of the statements in Chapter 1, as well as a few confusing sections (confusing to me at least).  I also rarely enjoy books written in such academic prose, much more preferring a laid back, conversational tone that makes me feel comfortable asking questions and inquiring for more.  My response to the chapter goes into more detail.

In an effort to participate in ecological learning, I have placed all of my work in blog posts on my website and I’ve tweeted the links to each post out to my fellow students (using #ILT5340), as well as to others in the digital storytelling community (using #ds106, #ds106dc, and #digitalstorytelling).  I’ve visited the blogs of the few fellow students who have listed their sites on the class’s link list and left comments with my thoughts on their fantastic work.

eLearn_Design Twitter feed

By accomplishing all of these tasks, I’ve learned that I’m actually really, very excited to utilize my creative energies and see what the rest of my class produces throughout the semester.  I’m quite terrified of the amount of work required for each week, as it doesn’t feel like this course was built for a full-time working wife and mother (of a toddler mind you), who is taking two courses at once.  But…one week at a time.  That’s all I can do right?  Keep going and keep doing the work and take things one week at a time.  I feel like at least once during every semester I have a sort of full-blown panic attack thinking that I can’t do all of this at once, but I always make it out alive.  And proud of myself for doing so.

  • What did you enjoy most?  What gave you trouble?

I enjoyed completing the Daily Create the most!  It was fun checking in every day and seeing what the assignments were and picking the one that interested me the most.  It was also a bit challenging tying the activity to my theme, but once I figured out my story, it all came together quite nicely.  Researching other digital stories to critique was very enjoyable as well.  I loved seeing all of the different types of stories out there and just how passionate people can be about digital storytelling!

The aspect that gave me trouble this week was lack of interaction from my classmates.  I felt alone in the “Twitter-sphere”, with engagement from only a handful of other students and not a single ‘tweet’ from our instructor.  The only person to comment on any of my blog posts was a professor from a different school in a different state, no one from my own class.  (I actually think it’s amazing that she read my post by clicking on a tweet!)  Right now it feels like half of the class is missing but I’m hoping that over the next few weeks, everyone comes out of the woodwork and starts to truly interact and engage with each other.  I know how intense the first week of the semester can be and I only have such sure footing right now because of the previous course I took that was so similar.

  • What would you do differently?  What new questions do you have after engaging in your assignments?

The only thing I would do differently is not move to a new city during the first week of the semester!  (Funny, but true!)  We moved an hour south on Tuesday, the first day of the course.  I was without internet for three full days and struggled to work on Canvas and check my emails using my cell phone.  I visited the local Starbucks quite often, so I managed.  But I definitely wouldn’t recommend making such a move with such terrible timing again in the future!

As for new questions I might have after engaging in my assignments…I have only one.  Am I doing all of this right?!  🙂

  • What are some of the larger issues surrounding your work, particularly as they relate to exploring your focal theme?

I honestly don’t know yet!  I think it’s too soon to tell something like this within the first week.  I’ll see how I feel next week and answer this one again.

  • How well do you feel you completed your assignment requirements?  On a 10-point scale, with 10 the highest possible grade, how many points do you believe have been earned based upon your weekly digital storytelling practices?  Briefly explain your self-assessment.

I feel that I completed my assignments quite well, thank you very much!  🙂  I’d give myself a ten for all of the work I completed, a ten for all of my effort, a ten for overcoming week 1’s stress, and a ten for overcoming my severe inability to make a decision (I went with my gut instinct, chose a passion of mine, and immediately picked a theme for my work within ten minutes!  Woot woot!).  Week 1 was most definitely a ten.