Last month while at the ECIS Technology Conference, I had the pleasure of listening to Marc Prensky’s keynote presentation. While his slides could use a bit of an update, I found his words inspiring and took notes about some of his key points and statements.
- Teachers need to make the digital classroom feel like the world.
- Trying to engage the kids with stuff we make or do for them is impossible.
- The most fundamental thing technology does for us is let people connect.
- There are no best practices anymore in any fast moving field like education. There are only good practices that we can share everyday. We have to experiment because we don’t know what works in this context. Video is the best sharing tool for this.
Right before leaving for the conference I had read his article, “Our Brains Extended”, in the March, 2013 issue of Educational Leadership. Many points from the article were highlighted in his keynote as well.
Prensky argues, “Reading continues to be important- no one argues against teaching or learning it- but today, reading is no longer the number one skill students need to take from school to succeed. Technology is.”
He continues on to say that many adults would not believe in this statement and that fact demonstrates how little adults understand the role of technology in our students’ lives.
His statement is a big one. And, I’m certain that many teachers and curriculum designers haven’t made the leap to think about the reality of his words and how it changes what we know and do.
Prensky also stipulates, “Technology has become foundational to both education and life. Educators should think of technology in the same way they’ve long viewed reading- as a key to thinking about and knowing about the world.”
He uses the article to propose true redefinition of curriculum, particularly at the elementary level. He focuses on three areas- Effective Thinking (creative and critical thinking), Effective Action (goal setting, planning, project management, and more), and Effective Relationships (emotional intelligence). The final area he calls Effective Accomplishment (what to do with what you’ve learned). You can read more details in the article, and I hope you will.
But, I’m intrigued. Are there schools already reaching toward a design like this? Are teachers and parents really ready to throw out the subject areas we’ve come to accept as core to education?
Perhaps there’s a Prensky school in the not-so-distant future.
I wouldn’t be surprised.
March 2013 | Volume 70 | Number 6
Technology-Rich Learning Pages 22-27