Mr. Winkle Goes to School: Movies for Professional Development

I’m excited to premiere a brand new short film here on my blog. It’s three minutes long and I created it in the hopes that it can be used to generate conversation about the use of educational technology and project based learning in schools.

It is based on a dark joke that has been around educational circles for some time, imagining Rip Van Winkle waking up one hundred years later and visiting a school of today to find not much has changed. I’ve heard the story repeated but wanted a visual representation to show to others.
I created the movie to use in professional development that I conduct and welcome you to do the same to encourage dialogue about the need for the modernization of schools, inclusion of technology, project based learning, and culturally relevant teaching. Education has not changed with the times as it should.

If you cannot see the movie above, youtube may be blocked by your school district. The movie is also on Teachertube and you can view it there as well.

On a personal and technical note, the movie was also an excuse for me to learn Apple’s Motion software and I thank Anthony and Miles who assisted me as part of my Apple One to One membership. I ended up completing 90% of the project in Final Cut with the remaining 10% in Motion and Photoshop. The longest part of the process was searching for and compiling images.

My youtube channel now includes links to other great professional development movies I use when I conduct trainings.  Take a look at my favorites. Enjoy!

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15 Responses to “Mr. Winkle Goes to School: Movies for Professional Development”

  1. Bob Heiny Says:

    Great step, Matthew. Thanks for making it available for others of us to use.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Great video and it helps to have your reflection here, too.
    I will be sharing at my blog (hope you don’t mind)

  3. Mathew Says:

    Thanks Bob and Kevin for your comments on the movie. You’re welcome to share it on your blog.

  4. Alec Couros Says:

    ...While you are here, check out Mr. Winkle Wakes, “an amusing, animated retelling of a popular educational story”. Thanks Matthew, this is a nice conversation starter…

  5. Steven Kimmi Says:

    Great video Mat. Reminds me of a recent faculty meeting when a teacehr loudly exclaimied, “Can nothing just stay the same from year to year!” I thought, can it? Are we in that type of business, where things can remain the same? Quite obviously, no…we get new students every year, teachers move around or leave. Not to mention, all the things we should do differently from year to year because we have seen the flaws. I guess some people can look out the window, at the real world, and not see the correlation between the world not getting any better and the fact that they have done the same thing year after year. Wow, that ended up being quite a downer. Sorry.

  6. Mathew Says:

    @Steven Thanks for your comment. I don’t find it to be a downer. I think it’s just a reality that some people like to reflect and change while others prefer to continue doing the same thing forever. I also think school districts sometimes exacerbate this by seemingly arbitrarily changing things that seem to be working.

    However, in terms of technology, I also prefer to refocus and rather than thinking of it as something new we need to do, thinking of it as something we can use to augment and engage students with our existing curriculums.

  7. Elona Hartjes Says:

    Today when I finally got around to reading my March Issue of Educational Leadership I was struck by the fact that your video dovetails nicely with Marc Prensky’s article- Turning on the lights. He says that “it’s their( students) after school education, not their school education, that’s preparing our kids for their 21st-century lives- and they know it.” I guess what we want, Mathew, is for educators to realize this and change things. Educators need to venture out of their comfort zone. Great video.

  8. Clay Burrell Says:

    …It’s nice to see high production and design values in another educator-created movie…

  9. Ken Pendergrass Says:


    Bravo! Adding another log to the fire for me with my teachers and professional development…

  10. Bill Farren Says:

    Nice job, Mathew. I think your vid will help start a lot of conversations. It’s amazing how video has the power to do that.
    How did you like using Motion? (I haven’t tried it yet.) How would you compare it to Flash, for example?

  11. Mathew Says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind words.

    @Bill, in regards to Motion vs. Flash. Motion is a much easier program to learn. It’s not necessarily obvious where everything is but once you know where to find things it’s very simple to enter settings. Flash isn’t as a intuitive. If given a choice, I would use flash only if I needed audience to interact with movie (for example, on mouse over x happens).

  12. Momindant Says:

    I agree that it’s the after-school activities that best prepare students to enter the real world, but when schools try to coopt this type of experience, usually by requiring community service or a senior project, they spoil the soup. It becomes another series of notebook checks, another meaningless power point, another checklist-laden activity to be endured.

    I think self-paced learning, using technology for instruction and teachers as coaches, is the answer for basic curriculum. The amount of actual classroom time needs to vary by subject, too, and we really need to look at our graduation requirements. We should also think about dropping our one-size-fits-all curriculum, because it doesn’t fit anyone well.

  13. Estrella Says:

    Congratulations on the video! I would like to ask for your permission to translate it into Spanish so that I can share it with the teachers of the region of Extremadura in Spain through a blog I am the webmaster of.

    Greetings from Spain

  14. Danny Beard Says:

    Great video Mathew. I’m really impressed with your video. It looks really professional and I can see how it would be a great presentation aid. I really need to get myself a Mac :). I know you said you got some help, but how hard was it for you to put this together on a scale from 1 to 10?

  15. Mathew Says:


    Thank you for your kind words.

    Nothing on the computer is hard, it’s just a question of how many hours a project takes to complete. I made this movie last year so I can’t remember exactly how long it took but I’d estimate about 6-10 hours of work. I know Final Cut Pro so it wasn’t hard for me but if you’re starting from scratch and have never done this before you need to allow some time to get over the learning curve.

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