Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blog post #10

PC Mac Pencil Mock

Does anyone remember the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" commercials? The commercials were basically an older gentleman playing the part of the PC and a younger person the playing part of the Mac. In each commercial the Mac always out performs the PC. So what is this cartoon trying to say? The cartoon is trying to say two different things. First that papermate pencils are poor quality therefor so are PCs. The second is hipster's priorities are not correct. If a ticonderoga (Mac) is the most expensive purchase in their life, then something is wrong.


Adventures in Pencil Integration

stack of pencils
Mr. John Spencer uses a large amount of satire to relay the importance of integrating technology into the classroom. His preferred method is to mock the integration of pencils into a pre-pencil classroom. The idea of this is purposely silly by today's point of view. How can classrooms possibly perform without pencils? How can classrooms perform without new technology? Two of his blogs that demonstrate this are "Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?" and "The Con Academy".

"Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?"

What is the purpose of playing games? Some people claim that games are fun. What is fun? Fun is the act enjoying an activity. What happens when the students start having fun while leaning? Could then learning be adapted to be a game? The easy answer for Mr. Tom's class is no. All learning in his school must be preparing students to pass the rote memorization tests. Mr. Tom argues that soldiers and doctors use games to learn, why can't his students? The students were engaged and learning, so this should have been a productive teaching method. The principal's rebuttal was these are students, not soldiers or doctors, and all efforts are to go toward passing the memorization tests. Mr. Tom concedes his argument and implements a new solution. He will create an algorithm factory and integrate it into the reading and writing projects, thus creating the factory game.

What are the two underlying points in this story? The first one is that learning should be able to be fun. If students are having fun while learning they will retain that knowledge. This will be important after they pass the memorization tests. The second point addresses these memorization tests and the "factory game". It is clear that today's system is designed to produce only one kind of student. The memorization test requirements ensure that this will happen. In the age we live in we need to create a variety of students. No longer can only one type of student be afforded.

"The Con Academy"

The Trojan horse was a free gift, so is the con academy. This view clearly defines Mr. Spencer's thoughts for this new method of teaching. He continues to say that this new method would be useful for those teachers that did not know how to teach and that this would be unhealthy for the students. The "con academy" is similar to a flipped classroom, the difference being that a real flipped classroom is more project based and allows for students to inquire about their studies. Mr. Spencer then tells us that "pencils" are better used for writing essays and solving problems. The students should be able to work together or independently, which would be hard to do with the "con" system. He also says that the role of the teacher will be replaced with this system, and that would be a disaster.


Don't teach your kids this, please

no computers allowed sign
Dr. McLeod is author of the blog "Dangerously Irrelevant". He is the producer of the "Did You Know" series. He is also the director of CASTLE, which is the center dedicated to the technological needs of school administrators. The post is about him telling everyone not to teach kid's about technology. He points out how the world has gotten this far without teaching these things, as well as the potential dangers associated with technology. He continues to say that we need to just rid our kids from this and go back to pencil and paper. Lastly he begs everyone to not expose kids to technology because he is doing that with his own kids, and they will have a competitive edge later on in their lives.

The point he making is that if we want our kids to have the same advantage that the kids have in countries like Japan, then we must begin to teach our kids these new basic fundamentals. It will be these new fundamentals that will propel everyone, not just students into the future.


  1. Hi Daniel,

    I think that your blog post is great! You have most of the points that I mentioned in my blog. Although I seen a couple of grammatical errors, your blog had great points! I think you explained the cartoon in a great way, because it really helped me better understand the picture. I also agree with your point about McLeod's blog. I agree that it is essential for students to learn the new fundamentals to better prepare them for the future. Keep up the good work!

  2. You are the first to infer that a hipster's priorities may not be correct if a Mac is going to the be most expensive thing they will ever purchase from the Papermate vs Ticonderoga cartoon. If that is the artist's point, I don't know, but it's always nice to read new, insightful opinions.