Friday, January 15, 2010

Mr. Winkle Wakes and Harness Your Students Digital Smarts

Please watch these two videos and give us your feedback in a comment. You will find space for your comment just below the blog post. We would be especially grateful if you would respond to these questions:
1. To what extent do you accept the implicit and/or explicit arguments of these two movies?
2. Are there any implications that you can identify for the College of Education and/or the courses you teach?
3. If we were to attempt to meet the future technological needs of our students, what assistance would you need?
4. Any other comments you would like to make.

Thank you!

Times are given in minutes and seconds

Mr. Winkle Wakess (2:51) by Matthew Needleman

Harness Your Students Digital Smarts 4:49


  1. The first video paints the entire K-12 educational system with the same brush, claiming that its methods of instruction are woefully outdated and ineffective. While we know there are problems of this sort at many schools, there are also a number of schools which are working to integrate technology and learning. What the COE can do to facilitate change is to continue to train our students in emerging technology, making them as comfortable and fluent with it as possible. As citizens and taxpayers we need to advocate for the funding our schools must have to acquire technology and help form the opinion that technology is critical to learning, not an extra that can be cut when budgets are tight.

    The second video makes an important point for both COE faculty and current and future K-12 teachers - that it's okay not to know everything about every type of technology - and that it's equally important, desirable even, to let the student train the teacher in technologies with which they are more familiar. This promotes pride and leadership within the student, as well as learning in both the student and the teacher.

  2. The first video made the excellent argument that technology is no longer the "trend of the future" but is very much a part of our daily lives. Watching Mr. Winkle find a comfortable and familiar surrounding in the halls of our schools was humorous yet alarming. Fortunately, this is not the case for all classrooms in every school.

    Through my visits to local schools I have noticed a wide discrepency in the use of technology from one classroom to another. Some teachers minimally incorporate the use of a single computer while others infuse technology into their teaching and student learning throughout the day. The difference appears to be the motivation, knowledge, and comfort level of individual teachers.

    Teaching online courses has provided me with a deep appreciation for the role of technology in learning. The COE provides scheduled, group training through the OLL as well as individualized support as needed. At this time, I feel we are only limited by the time in which we have to explore new technologies. It is my experience that there is a two phase process in regard to incoporating technology into classes: 1) identifying and learning to use new programs, 2) determing how to use it to enhance student learning and incorporating it into courses.

  3. 1. I think these movies are right on target with what is happening in schools today. We have teachers who are going to fight change and dig their heels in because they desperately want to keep things the same. Rows of passive, bored students sit and listen to teachers lecturing all day. Of course, many of these teachers are doing what they feel is their part in infusing technology by reading straight from their PowerPoint slides. These teachers are just like Mr. Winkle--they are happy with things that stay the same.

    Yet, in other classrooms, teachers such as the one in the second video are empowering students to be active learners and understand technology. These students are fortunate to have teachers who are enthusiastic and excited about change and that want to students leave their school prepared for life. In this video, the teacher learned from the students and was very satisfied with not knowing everything and learning from her students. I believe this attitude is what will help us have the confidence to help all of our students become effective educators. We don’t have to know it all to expose our students to it.

    2. Since all of the classes I teach are online, I can certainly see many implications from these videos that I have to think about as I work to constantly improve my instruction. In order to prepare my students to be effective teachers, I need to expose them to technology that they can use in their classrooms—or in their future classrooms. I need to be aware of what is out there, though I certainly do not have to become an expert at all of it.

    3. Since I regularly attend the OLL workshops, I feel I have already received great assistance with technological needs. I plan to continue to attend these workshops and use the graduate students in the OLL to assist me with adding technology to my classes. I am always interested in learning of any types of technology that enhances my students’ achievement.

    4. I appreciate the work of this committee and look forward to learning more ways to add technology into my classes.

  4. I often feel like Mr. Winkle when I enter a school. As I've studied the development of U.S. schools and curriculum, it is evident that we stopped evolving about 100 years ago. The curriculum patterns and ways of teaching are very much the same. The second classroom was very exciting. It used to be that schools introduced students to technology, but now students "power down" when they enter schools. I agree with the teacher that we do not need to totally understand how to do something before we use it in our classrooms, but that is a hard concept to accept since we generally regard teachers as "experts."

    Absolutely there are implications for the COE and courses I teach! Most classrooms I visit have Smart Boards. It is essential that we are able to demonstrate technology such as this. In addition, blogs and wikis are things which could certainly be part of several of the courses I teach. I do not feel that I do the best job that I could with my online course. When I was in college, I took correspondence courses, and I almost feel like that is what I'm doing rather than really taking advantage of the online format. I tweak things each semester, but am still not satisfied.

    I need to take advantage of more professional development. OLL is always happy to help me or do to presentations for my students, but I need to have an intensive technological workshop that model several types of technology.I am often not available for the OLL workshops, but that is my fault. I am so glad that John's course is online, as I think I will really benefit from that. I absolutely feel that COE offers numerous opportunities for professional development! I'd like to see some online professional development.

    My laptop won't support Second Life, so I would need to come to the university to participate in the great sessions offered by Jack. It wasn't lack of interest, but just driving time and distance that kept me from participating as I would like to.

  5. Loosen up the cash and upgrade your laptop for SL! I have done it a few times and there is great potential for teaching and learning. There is a session on Thursdays from 6-7 that you can do from home. I did it last week and it was easy. You don't have to drive over here to do it. Will your home computer handle it or is your laptop your home computer? Valentine Day is coming up. Looks like a graphics card could be da giff.

  6. I just realized I can support it on my desktop at home. I'm usually too lazy to walk upstairs to use it, so I think I'll do that. I've done a couple of the sessions and they were great! You're right about VD-might pass on that suggestion!

  7. Leah...I also see the discrepancies in tech knowledge, abilities, and resources among preservice and inservice teachers. For me, in general, these videos illustrate that educators (at every level) should strive to have enough knowledge and experience to prepare our students to use the tools safely, effectively, and efficiently. So, how can we do this if we can't even turn some of the devices on? I also agree that we do have strong tech support in the COE and it is really a matter of devoting some time to taking advantage of the professional development offered. With that said, I also realize the challenge of finding a balance with the expectations of teaching, service, and research.