Radio!

I’m one of many people having a blast listening to and helping to program Radio ds106 (widget on the sidebar)… While at first glance it is something that seems superfluous and even gratuitous (“…a course with its own radio station?”) its provided a fun means for people to collaborate in a loose yet integrated way, connect in real time, and I suspect it will provide a fine platform for the synchronous elements of the course as it proceeds (live events are being planned).

I was going to post some suggestions for people who want to contribute to the stream, but it’s clear that people already get it. All I’d say is listen for a while before uploading, and keep the files reasonably short so as not to hog the vibe.

Huge, mad props to Station Manager Grant for making this happen, to our teacher for the vision, and to everyone who has added to the mix (especially those who’ve added their own original and/or remixed stuff). I’m genuinely shocked how compelling a listen #ds106 has been dishing out.

One observation. Earlier today Martin Weller tweeted:

If we thought to ask permission, none of us could do this… Which to me sums up what is truly great about #ds106. WE know we are learning and connecting… even if it is not so much breaking all the rules as ignoring them altogether. Take a peek at the posts… a lot people are getting a lot out of this experience already, and all of us are discovering talented and very groovy new peers. We’re trying new things, sharing what we are learning, having lots of laughs, and rocking it out.

I grew very tired of the rhetoric around edupunk a couple years ago… “Is edupunk about the Sex Pistols or The Clash?” “Can a middle-aged working professional be any kind of punk?” BLECHHH But this experience strikes me as edupunk in the very best sense… in the broader set of practices (such as steampunk or cyberpunk) articulated last year by Bruce Sterling:

The term “-punk” doesn’t mean that people are historical counterculture punks, musicians with razor-blades and torn clothing. It means that people are using modern social networks to route around established disciplines, so as to appropriate technical knowledge for their various street-level purposes. That practice is not old-fashioned. That practice is intensifying. It will go on no matter what names it has.

We’re three weeks in to a fascinating and very fun experiment, and it is never too late to join in

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13 thoughts on “Radio!

  1. That Bruce Sterling quote is beautiful, perfect, and you know I love how you have reclaimed EDUPUNk for us once again. A shame what happened to that, but now we can exemplify it and not talk about it. Much more fun.

  2. The magic of ds106 is that it isn’t reproducible. If any prof had sat down and said “there will be a radio station, where students will post stuff” it would have likely failed. 3 audio files added by the prof. Maybe a handful of “hello world” clips by students. And then dead air.

    ds106 isn’t a course anymore. That one of the participants fired up a radio station, and that the other participants jumped in – that’s something that Just Doesn’t Happen.

    Will ds106 be the same next semester? I don’t know. Will ds106 actually end? I don’t know (I hope not). Will it evolve into something else? Probably. But then, what will the relationship be between the organically adapting ds106 of the current cohort, when a new group of students sign up for the course?

  3. To quote one of my punk heros:

    “The bass has got some righteous karma and politics—you look good making other cats look good, and the more notes you play, the littler you get. It’s an eternal struggle for the right notes. Which I think should never be solved.”

    ~ Mike Watt

    That’s what I see us doing – looking for the right notes together.

  4. I really love the energy of the ds106 radio station. I love what D’Arcy said about the fact that it is not something that is contrived, but that just naturally happened. I’ve given assignments where I have my students create an episode of a proposed podcast, but it always ends after the one episode because it still is an assignment, and it seems that once it becomes an assignment we lost that ability to own it.

    Oh, I wish that I could create this energy in my class. I love that feeling that I am part of something that can never be recreated.

  5. It’s all about the experience of play. That’s not something that can be designed into a course. It’s something that happens organically, separately. I’ve never seen anything like it. Maybe #ds106 is more of a meta-course, or a context (or contexts), and the participants (and others) choose to play together and experiment and explore. I’m really blown away by it all. I’m simultaneously ecstatic that it’s happening, and depressed that it’d be nearly impossible to recreate this experience in other courses. It’s the people in ds106 that make it magic.

  6. It would be interesting to play the numbers game and see what the “play for fun” crowd output looks like vs the “pay for credit” group. I’d love to see if the spirit of the group erases those lines.

  7. Jeez, if ds106 has done nothing else, it’s given Brian his blogging mojo back, for which we should all be grateful.
    D’Arcy is quite right (when isn’t he dammit), this would be difficult to contrive, and arises as a product of Jim’s personality, and the hours we’ve all spent establishing a network. You couldn’t just start this from scratch and expect it to work.
    My tweet comment was meant to reflect that here was something i could see was really working, but at my institution I could never get the course approved. There are too many barriers. I’ve managed to do a lot of stuff outside of the institution, but courses are difficult. My general point was that isn’t it a shame that institutions would stifle something that is so obviously a fantastic innovation. This is how they make themselves redundant.

    1. not to burst Jim’s bubble, but the course itself has less to do with him anymore. it’s ours. that’s the magic of it. he set it up (and worked his ass off to get it started) – and then set it free. That’s an extremely difficult thing for a teacher to do, and he’s doing it wonderfully. It’s also an extremely difficult and rare thing for a group of students/participants to step up and take things on/over like they have in #ds106. Try that in an undergrad bio course. Try that in almost any other context. Lead balloon time. But Jim sprinkled his magic fairy dust over the course, and we (all) ran with it. Magic.

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