Thursday, April 8, 2010

Everything I Needed to Know About Technology Integration I Learned From Watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off


As teachers, how many times have you called a student's name over and over again while taking attendance? I've caught myself and smirked a bit when I realized what I was doing. Sadly, many High School Students have not seen this movie and it is a shame. A wonderful movie with good clean humor for the whole family even if you think there is a messed up Fight Club thing going on. Check this link (Scroll to #4) out to see what I'm talking about. It makes you think the next time you watch it. 

I have put together another fun filled, quote filled, silly technology integration post. I hope that these are not getting too redundant. Many of the same themes keep appearing over and over in these posts. I've decided to do something a little different this time around.

I usually watch the movie, jot down some notes and then I put together the post in a couple of days. This time, I thought it would be neat to do that first part, then watch the movie as I type up the complete post. This will be a funny running blog post on tech integration and anything that I find weird or funny about the movie and the school system Ferris attends. I hope you do not mind this new approach, but I like to change things up. So now, I present to you....

Everything I  need to know about technology integration I learned from watching Ferris Buller's Day Off.

Ferris: Ladies and gentlemen, you are such a wonderful crowd, we'd like to play a little tune for you. It's one of my personal favorites and I'd like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn't think he's seen anything good today - Cameron Frye, this one's for you. 

Poor Cameron. He just cannot find anything good going on in his life. Some teachers are the same way about technology. They think that there is nothing good out there even though they are surrounded by amazing pieces of technology. They have access to the internet and they still claim there is nothing good out there. As teachers that love and support tech integration, we need to be Ferris to our Cameron teacher friends and show them the wonders of technology all around them. If we need to get up on a float and sing it loud and proud, then we will do it...maybe with a Voice Thread or Fotobabble. We need to drag them to the tech because they will not go to the tech themselves.

[Ferris is talking to the camera. I always found this weird when he did this, but thought it was cool when Zach Morris did it on Saved by the Bell. Little did I know that Shakespeare was using the aside like a mad men in many of his plays. Does this count as an aside?]

Ferris: Hey, Cameron. You realize if we played by the rules right now we'd be in gym?

Playing by the rules is something that we have to teach students because they need to know where the boundaries are in life. Once they get older and see the boundaries, hopefully they will have enough knowledge to know when it is ok to push those boundaries. Having said that, as a teacher in a building where some other teachers and admins are not as tech forward thinking as I would like, I find that what they know will not hurt them. I'm sure to follow all of the major tech guidelines, but they are a bit old and have left plenty of gray area. It is far easier to say sorry than it is to ask permission. Remember that when you want to have your kids use something fun and educational in class.  

[Ferris just changed his total absences from his computer at home. I remember thinking that was the coolest thing anyone could ever do with a computer. He would continue his hacking skills in War Games. Wait, I think that came first. Hmmmm. Anyway, he complained about not having a car. For most kids, a computer in the house is now standard. Times they are a changin'.]

Ferris: The question isn't "what are we going to do," the question is "what aren't we going to do?"   

There is no better way to express the wonders of tech exploration. Do not just stop at one tool and rest on that for the rest of your teaching career. Go out and try all of the different types of tech out there. There is no reason to try just one piece of tech. It's like Pringles, you can't just have one. Wait, maybe it's like Pokemon and you have to catch them all. Whichever one works best for you. Anyway. go out and look for the different parts of tech that are out there or at least ask some of your good PLN buddies to recommend some good sites or tools to use in the classroom. There are too many great things out there to ignore.

[Ferris just gave Cameron the ultimatum about coming to pick him up. He told him he could find a new best friend. There are some teachers that I know that are still rocking the overhead and I want to tell them the same thing if they do not start using the Smartboard or doc camera. Also, Cameron is wearing a Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings Jersey. I always thought that was cool since I am from Detroit. Now that I'm older though, he is kind of a jerk wearing a Wings jersey in Chicago. What the heck is that all about. No wonder he doesn't have a ton of friends. That would be like me wearing a Wings Jersey to Denver when I go to the ISTE Conference this Summer. Which I will be doing. ;-)]

Ben Stein (Econ Teacher) In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. "Voodoo" economics.

Don't be this guy! These classes are the worst. Is your class like this? Imagine what a Prezi could do for him and the students. The kids drooling in the back would be awake and engaged. I understand that this movie is set in the early 80's, but some teachers are still teaching this way. I'm not just talking about older teacher. There are young teachers that stand and lecture because that is how they were taught and it seemed to work on them. Try to infuse new tech into your classroom. Even a little bit can go a long way.

[I'm watching Cam make the phony phone call to Edward Rooney. I always thought that was really funny. The whole plan was crazy and ridiculous and was going to happen in my high school for sure. Now, parents just call the students in my class to let them know they can leave after 5th hour. Good times.]

Ferris: [describing Cameron's house] The place is like a museum. It's very beautiful and very cold, and you're not allowed to touch anything.  

Technology needs to be hands on for students. It's great that you are using Prezi to present the information to the students, but think about how much more they would learn if they were able to use the Prezi themselves and create a presentation for you. That is a very fancy SmartBoard in your class. Do you ever let the students give presentations with it? Why not? Let them have the fun you get to have while presenting and teaching. Technology should be shared with all of the students so they can learn and grow as well. Let them play and you might be surprised at what they can teach you.

[Ferris is picking up Sloane right now.  Rooney is super funny as he tries to let Sloane know he understands grief. They are kissing right now and if it were today, Rooney should have notified Child Protective services. Creep Show Kiss!]

Ben Stein: Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? 

Simone: Um, he's sick. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious. 

Here is the token Communication part of the post. There is a slightly different twist to this one though. We often forget that kids having been using the technology we want to use in class for years. It is ok to listen to the kids for some very important tips and information  about using tech in the classroom. You don't have to make it a big deal, but ask the kids what fun and interesting sites they have been using lately. You might be surprised to find they have been doing some outside learning that you would love to bring into class. Simone had some important information to share with Mr. Stein and he listened. The kids love passing along information to teachers. Let them partake in the sharing process that we all are a part of in this PLN.

[They are leaving the car in the garage right now. You have to be kidding me. Cameron is a little on edge, but he nailed it about not wanting to leave the car there. I'm parking that bad boy myself and I'm taking up three spaces. That doesn't make for a very good plot twist, but common sense should prevail sometimes.]

Grace: Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude. 

Look at all of the different types of students you could reach if you use more tech in your classroom. I think Grace put together a stellar list and I did not want to leave out Liquid Paper sniffing secretary from this post. 

[Watching the Mom get duped by the mannequin and the snore tape. I could never get mine to work that well. Stupid movie tech guys giving me false hope.]

Ferris: Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond. 

There are going to be some teachers and admins that are going to be like this and there is nothing you can do but keep showing them the wonderful success stories you are having in class with certain students. I had one teacher see the name of a student working on a Discussion Board question and was shocked they were doing work. They said that tech can motivate that student, then there is hope yet. It's important to keep trying because you might be able to get them to change their mind. On the other hand, Admins that can create diamonds from coal with their butts could be very valuable in these tough economic times.

[They are getting the table at the French place now. Did you know that they order and eat Pancreas? That is freaking gross. I love how that scam really worked. How does Ferris' Dad not look over at the table with the idiot in the Hockey Jersey? Moving on.]

Ferris: Cameron has never been in love - at least, nobody's ever been in love with him. If things don't change for him, he's gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she's gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won't respect him, 'cause you can't respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn't work. 

Don't fall in love with the first piece of tech you use in class. You need to try many different types before you settle on one. If you choose to early, that piece of tech might not work well and it will break your heart and you will never want to try tech again. (And that was your stretch connection of the post ladies and gentleman. I hope you enjoyed it.)

[after making a horrible noise with a clarinet] Ferris:Never had one lesson!

Please give your tech a complete run through before you take it for a spin in front of peers or students. You might think you have the hang of it, but it could turn out badly for everyone involved. Take the time to get a good feel for the tool. See what it can do and can't do. Make all of the mistakes you can and try to note the common mistakes so you can teach people what to do when they make them.  I'm not saying to avoid making mistakes in front of kids because I think they can learn from that as well. So much learning going on it is hard to contain it all.

[Ferris was on TV at the Cubs game. How many times have you ditched work to go to a sporting event and were afraid of getting caught on TV? Ya, I haven't done that either.]

Girl on Bus: Gummi bear? It's been in my pocket; they're real warm and soft. 

I love the end of the movie. It is so funny to watch Rooney have to take the Bus back to school and ride with the kids. When he is on the bus, a lovely young lady offers him a Gummi Bear.  I think this really shows all of us the importance of sharing with other people. It wasn't much, but she offered what had to a man who looked like he needed something nice. We should share technology the same way. Look around at the other classrooms and see if there is a teacher that might need a hand sprucing up a lesson plan or two. Don't be pushy, just offer some help and see where it takes you. Sometimes people are looking for help but are too afraid to ask. Keep an eye open and give a Gummi Bear to someone who needs it.

[The Parade Scene. First, I had no idea that Wayne Newton sung Danke Shoen. I would have bet my meager savings at the time that it was a woman that sang it. His voice really creeps me out. Also, have you seen him lately? He has spent too much time in desert. Yikes! I also love how the entire parade falls apart and they start signing and dancing around the float and all chaos breaks out. Everyone is happy and line dancing. It looked like the first Flash Mob. Something to look into. Rooney is about to break into the house. Can you imagine if you caught your Principal in your house. WTF? That would be so crazy. I love that Jean says that she has Herpes in an attempt to scare the "rapist" away. Sound strategy if you ask me.]

Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

I love this quote. It really sums up something that is really important for all teachers and people in education. We work so hard at creating lessons and ensuring that all of our kids are taken care of, that we often forget to stop and look around us. I only have 10 weeks of the school year left? When did that happen. I've been busy with regular school stuff, Union stuff because we don't have contract right now and this blog/twitter account.  I'm a firm believer in integrating more technology into the classroom. It's important for us to prepare kids using the tools they will encounter in their own lives. This connection is important to make, but let's not forget to stop once in a while on our journey of tech integration and look around. There are tons of great things out there you do not want to miss.

[Cameron just freaked out after seeing the mileage on the car. Did he expect 0 mileage to be earned on the car? The odometer was going to go up. They were driving the car. Did he really think that they were gong to drive the car backwards? I think he overreacts to the whole situation. If you believe in the Fight Club theory, this whole scene in the pool and hot tub fits in nicely there. He could be completely crazy and the entire trip was made up in his head after he trashed the car his father loves so much. Think about that one for a while.]

Ferris: You're still here? It's over. Go home. Go. 

The last lines of the movie that appear after the credits. This is the main reason why I stick around at the end of movies. It is a bit lame, but if you stick around, you might get one last laugh or teaser for a sequel. The connection I see to tech integration is that it is important for all of use to stick around and help people who need it and keep an eye out so we can spot the latest tech tool to help our kids learn. Keep working hard and helping others is key for users of technology in education. We have to keep spreading the good word and offering 1:1 PD if necessary to have as many teachers ready for the advances in technology that are still coming and the breed of child that will be in those desk that will not be captivated by Chalk Boards or Power Point.

[Hey look, it's Charlie Sheen. It's nice to know his life is now imitating his art. He really has come full circle. What? Too soon? Cameron just admitted to peeping on Sloane while she was changing and she is ok with it. Another example that she might not be real, or Ferris scored a really kinky girlfriend. Opps, there goes the car. It is always a painful scene to watch, but it had to be done. Cameron becomes a man in this scene. It had to happen eventually. The mad dash by Ferris to get home before the parents is always funny. He stops and talk to bathing beauties. Runs through the house and lets the family know dinner is ready and uses the conveniently placed trampoline to jump over the fence. If they remade the movie today, the trampoline would have all of that weird protection netting and bars all around it.  Have kids become more uncoordinated over the years? Seriously, I grew up in the Jart generation and I turned out relatively fine. We would throw the spikes in the air and run to avoid them. Yes we were dumb boys, but we developed cat like reflexes because of it. Anyway, kids need a little danger to learn some valuable lessons. Having said that, come back and see my thoughts on the subject when I have my first kid. I'm sure TheNerdyTeacher Jr. will be wrapped in bubble wrap at all times. Rolling credits and the end.]

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I clearly enjoyed writing it. It was a bit self indulgent, but I think there is one key point in there somewhere that someone might actually find helpful as they work to integrate more technology into the classroom. Feel free to leave a comment  and make a suggestion about the next movie I should write about. I'll put up another poll shortly and you will post a new topic in May. Also, I was thinking about collecting these and organizing the various quotes by category and putting them in an e-book after I get 12 or so post. What do you think?

- @TheNerdyTeacher


  1. You had way too much fun writing this post - I had a lot of fun reading it too.

    Keep up the blogging!


  2. Thanks for the smile and the interesting insight. You've definitely given me something to think about.

  3. Great movie and great post! I love the way you come up with your analogies, you are very clever and obviously put a heap of time into the post.

    I heard the wonderful Alan November speak on Wednesday and he used to teach in the school where Ferris was filmed.

  4. Very ebook worthy, I say do it! I am ready to get up on my float and dance and sing my heart out :)
    Doesn't get better than Ferris Bueller, one of my favorite movies of all time.

  5. Very ebook worthy, I say do it! I am ready to get up on my float and dance and sing my heart out :)
    Doesn't get better than Ferris Bueller, one of my favorite movies of all time.

  6. Great post - entertaining and educational. Hey, did you plan it that way? :-) Thanks!


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