CIT 2008 // Day 3: Everything I needed to know I learn from the Simpsons

CIT2008 The Simpsons

Billie Bennett, Ph.D. and Steven Doellefeld, Ph.D. come from the Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership at the University at Albany. and they presented on how educators could infuse pop culture into their classroom. Here are excerpts from this morning:

Intellectual Praise
Stephen Hawkings: What did he think of “The Simpsons” TV show, which has had Hawking as an animated guest star? “It’s the best thing on American TV.

Books based on the Simpsons
The Gosphel According to The Simpsons (2001)

Media Studies and The Simpsons
Janathan Gray’s Watching with the Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality (2006)
Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture (2003)

Billie and Steven explain that across 19 season’s worth of Simpsons episodes, there are tons of references usable for various academic disciplines.

Science and The Simpsons
Eat my lab coat by Michael Gross, The Guardian 30 Oct 2003

What’s science ever done for us?
Paul Halpern on Intellectualism

The Simpsons in the Classroom
Used to teach concepts in psychology, sociology, political science, economics, literature
Good catalyst for discussion

Shows examples of Simpsons clips useful in different disciplines
Very well researched (they watched 19 seasons over and over again!) presentation!
Last slide features a meta-argument on stealing animation, that throughout history, cartoons rip one another off!

Questions & Answers
Someone asks where can she could find relevant Simpsons clips for her class. Billie and Steven suggest starting with The Simpsons Archive and googling your discipline and the Simpsons, as others have already used them for pedagogy. Another participant recommends having students find relevant clips for class.

Someone who teaches astronomy notes that our generation watched The Simpsons, while students are watching Family Guy, which is more risque. Steven recommends finding and using other TV shows as well.

WHat copyright issues d you have to deal with? Steven says that it’s nefarious. Teachers are doing it in the classroom for educational use, so it should be fine if you don’t overdo it. Someone I can’t verify, possibly an IP law professor, notes that even such use is limited to two years of course use, after which you should purchase rights to it.