Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Episode 3: Return of the Nerdy

It just so happens that I'm at my 100th post and I need to finish my Nickelodeon/Tech Integration Post to complete my Trilogy. I wanted to share my first post before I finish off this epic adventure. Here it is below:

I've decided to create a blog. I'm a 30 year old English teacher that is currently working on my Masters Degree in educational technology. I spend tons of time helping other teachers in my building incorporating technology into their teaching and thought it would be nice to share these new concepts with the world out there. Also, I'm sure this blog can help me with my Masters Program.

If you have any thoughts or ideas you would like to share, please feel free to email me or post a comment. Let's see where this thing takes us. 

"Let's see where this thing takes us." Huh. After only 6 months, I can say it has taken me to places I have never imagined and it will be taking me to Denver in a couple of weeks. I want to thank all of you that read, comment, tweet, retweet, etc my blog and wacky ideas. I hope I've had a small impact on me because you all have had a huge impact on me.

Everything I Learned about Technology Integration I Learned from Watching 90's Nickelodeon Episode 3: Return of the Nerdy

Wild and Crazy Kids/Double Dare/Finders Keepers/Nick Arcade/Make the Grade

These games shows that were on Nick were some of my favorite. I know that there are some missing, but I will be saving those for later. The one thing about Nick is that is was clearly kid centered. The programming was designed for young kids. They did an amazing job capturing that audience and running with it. There is a generation of adults that can remember those shows fondly. Hell, some even spend months blogging about them with other teachers. (Nerd Alert!)

Many of us spend time reading blog after blog that talk about best practices and studies that show what can impact student achievement the most. The one thing that seems to be overlooked is the simplest fact. Make learning student centered. These shows have amazing followings because they were designed for kids to consume. Content needs to be designed for students to consume, not for teachers to teach. There is nothing worse than a teacher that will only teach the way that they learn. I see too many teachers that use that method in the classroom. It's flawed. Some will get it, but many will be left behind. These gameshows have burrowed a special spot in my brain because they were 30 minute activities that had a clear purpose in mind. If you think about, those shows were the ultimate lesson plan. Have a cool opener to hook everyone, hit them with the content in the middle, but make it interesting and wrap everything up with a culminating assessment at the end.

I think most of us have used Jeopardy in class for review and the kids love it. I'm not suggesting that every lesson be a game, but the fundamentals that make games work can be incorporated into every day lessons to hook the students. That is where technology comes in. The cool things about those games hows was that they were always showing something we had never seen before. With Double Dare, it was a gigantic nose that needed to be picked or a crazy physical challenge (Side Note: I had the home game and it was awesome!). Finders Keepers trained our perception on a very primitive IWB (Stretch). Nick Arcade was a master at combining video games and learning. Make the Grade made learning school content cool! These shows were great because they used some cutting edge tech to hook the audience to get them to pay attention to the content. Using a IWB or a Prezi to grab a students attention is not a gimmick, it's smart. Injecting small amounts of tech into your lessons might be the perfect way to imprint the content in a students brain like Nick did with us and their game shows.

Salute Your Shorts

I have been wrecking my brain for weeks on end to find a creative way to work Donkey Lips into a tech integration post. I realized earlier today that I had the answer;  Donkey Lips and Budnick are actually a good example of being a good teacher! I know you just thought, "Ok, TheNerdyTeacher has lost his freaking mind" but if you bare with me, I will make a hell of a point. (I hope.)

After digging around on the interwebs, I found some old episodes of Salute Your Shorts and caught up with some old friends from Camp Anawanna. I loved seeing all of the old characters be the same kids from years ago. The one character that really stuck out to me was Sponge. Sponge was the nerdy kid who brought his computer to camp. We all seemed to know that kid, or maybe you were that kid, and they seemed fine with who they were. Sponge was the same way. He stood up for himself when Donkey Lips and Budnick tried to give him a hard time and he owned his nerdiness. He really sets a great example for Tech friendly teachers everywhere.

Sponge was more than happy to help anyone with a problem and loved to use his vast knowledge of everything to solve the issue at hand. As teachers, we seem to be so reluctant to reach out and help other teachers with their problems. I was very reluctant to reach out and offer tech help to other teachers because I didn't want to be pushy, but I realize that I needed to because teachers are also terrible at asking for help.  We should take ownership of our Nerdy Powers and help those who want it and ask for it and those who need it but are afraid to ask. I get a few one liners from my teacher buddies when I send out my Tech Updates, but I have also received thanks and questions from people I have never met in my district. Heck, I'll even brag and let you know that the Superintendent sent me an email of appreciation. (Quick side bar: I can't stop from giggling whenever I hear the word Superintendent because I think of the time Ralph from The Simpson said, "Hi Super Nintendo Chalmers.") Stepping up and being the Sponge of your school is an ok thing and it should be encouraged in others. Don't be afraid to be the Sponge of your school. Everybody needs a Sponge.


The funny thing about Rugrats is that I did not really get into them until the re-run phase. I think I just aged out of them when they started to to air and was more concerned with whether or not Donna and David where ever going to get back together after he dated Val. The more I thought about Rugrats in a tech integration sense, the more the show made some sense to me.I was always frustrated that the parents had no idea what the kids were saying. I realize that its not that they did not hear the kids, it was that they did not understand what they were saying. I think that is where some teachers are in their classroom when students and other teachers talk tech. Tech integration will allow teachers to understand the environment around them and it can make them a better teacher in the long run.

Integrating technology into the classroom allows the teacher to hear what the kids are saying. Tech is the language that students are speaking and it is important for teachers to listen or they miss an opportunity to learn themselves. I have learned so much from my students since I started using more tech in my classroom. I have not taught my students to use Web2.0 Tools, but they became pros at using Prezi, Animoto, Glogster and others. I have asked them for help on occasion and they loved showing me how they created their work. The kids are dying to speak  and we just need to listen to them to learn more than we could have ever hoped.

Students want to be heard. Sometimes its through asking annoying questions over and over again. Sometimes it's by talking about their favorite show despite your lack of interest. Technology is something that the majority of kids want to talk about because tech allows students to make what they want out of it. For High School, kids are trying to find themselves and tech is one way that allows them to explore and express. Integrating tech into the classroom offers students the chance to tell the class who they are while presenting core content on any subject. The Rugrats, even an babies, wanted to be heard and wanted to express themselves. Their frustration was that the grown-up weren't listening to what they were saying. Well, we are the grown-ups now. Are you listening to the Rugrats in your classroom?

"All Good Things..." (Here is a Star Trek TNG nod)

My 100th post draws to a close and it has been a wild ride. I think I will be taking a break from Tech Integration Posts. They are starting to feel a bit forced and I'm not sure they have the same impact as they did a couple of months ago. Thanks to everyone for all of the support you have offered me over the past few months. It's cool to know that there are many like minded people out there that love the same nerdy things I do. I don't know when the next Tech Integration Post will appear, but when it does, it will blow your mind.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your 100th post and your contribution to learning and teaching across the globe.


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