Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Marc Prensky's keynote address

Marc Prensky's Keynote at the NYSCATE Technology Leadership Conference July 18, 2006
These are my notes from the address which are really more like bullet points of things that I really connected to. This is, of course, not the same as being there for others but you may find your own connections with some of these points.

Change is happening more rapidly now than even at the beginning of the 21st century.
Threatening to teachers...empowering to kids. hmmm...

IT power is doubling every year

Interconnected information

Solving problems with the tools we have (pre-21st century) - everything has tools, we learned to use them, help kids learn to use them

Inventing new tools to solve problems - 21st centruy +

When will this change end? There's no destination...

"most of us prefer to walk backwards into the future...." Charles Handy

"Without motivation there is no learning" James Paul Gee
"If a learner is motivated, there's no stopping him" Will Wright

Why educators are having problems
The world is changing
Our students are changing - they are not the ones we were trained to teach
Engagement is changing

In a year (?), our kids are exposed to:
5,000-10,000 hr video games
240,000 emails and IMS
10,000hrs on cell phone
20,000 hr tv
500,000 commercials
5,000 hr reading books

Kids are downloading:
2 billion songs per month
6 billion text messages per day
2 billion ring tones per year

Brains like ours alter profoundly to fit the technologies and practices that surround them. - Andy Clark

Digital Immigrants--->Digital Natives
conventional speed ---> twitch speed
step by step ---> random access
linear processing ---> parallel processing/multitasking
text first ---> graphics first (text backs up image)
work oriented ---> play oriented
stand alone ---> connected

"Students are not just using technology differently today, but are approaching their life and their daily activities differently because of technology." Net Day 2005(06)


Digital immigrants - we will never be in the same place as the kids are where technology is concerned, we leave a foot in the past.
printing out our emails
no instant messaging
not going to the internet first
thinking real life happens only off line
thinking teaching = learning ( not necessarily)
thinking learning has to be work

Learning feels like play when you have engagement.

Today's kids go online - they can ALWAYS find something to do online - they know what engagement feels like, want to feel engaged all the time.

But for lots of kids today, most education is boring even with technology - just because we give them technology doesn't mean they're not bored, we have to use technology in an engaging way. [this is an interesting statement ---we've long been thinking about the fact that using new technology to do old things in old ways doesn't make a difference]
"Going to school is powering down."

Engagement is more important than content for today's kids; even more important than technology
Content will change! Content won't help students continue to learn throughout their lives, but engagement will.

Outside of school, kids are empowered.

What people put into the Internet is more important than what they take out. - Tim Berners-Lee

Young learners are ...hands on, want things to be fun, love to share ("knowledge is power", sharing is power).

Not ADD, but rather EOE (engage me or enrage me)
It's not attention deficit - I'm just not listening!

Dec 2005 Educational Leadership article by Marc Prensky

Kids have to learn about the future on their own
School is - legacy stuff, irrelevant, pushed on them, boring
after school - future learning

Foster this message: we are all learners, we are all teachers
Learn how to teach using tools you can't fully master - tools will come fast and go fast
Coming too fast to master
Teachers need to know - how to teach using tools that are unfamiliar to them and that they can't fully master
So, don't waste your time learning to use new tools because the kids can do it.

As a teacher you need to understand the new technologies so you can teach.... [this was shown as a chart as follows]

Assign - design a wikipedia entry for...
Evaluate - communication, journalism, use of multimedia, creativity
Teach - search vs. research, fair use vs. plagiarism

Assign - make a podcast about...
Evaluate - communication, journalism, use of multimedia, creativity
Teach - oral vs. written communication

Assign - Desing a class using only IM
Evaluate - usefulness, breadth, depth, originality
Teach - informal vs. formal communication

Phone based cameras
Assign - take and photoshop a picture to best illustrate...
Evaluate - communication, originality, artistry, technique
Teach - pictures vs. words, truth vs manipulation, appropriate vs. inappropriate

Seven key things to take from complex game design:
engagement, gameplay, goals, decisions (give you feedback), leveling up (to get from one level to another, you have to practice), adaptivity (increasing levels of difficulty), iteration (what needs to be changed ?)

Teachers are used to
content first
linear stories
one thing at a time


Almost every student already has a powerful computer in their backpack - cell phones, pda's
What can you learn from a cell phone? article on innovateonline

We have to start evaluating kids with THEIR tools.

adopt new attitudes and behaviors - mutual respect, engagement first, valuing what students know and do, create important goals, let students use the technology

share your successes through blogs, wikis, etc - put it on the web

tech leader:
fight hard for the kids - 1:1 computing, email, IM, open Internet, cell phones, success sharing, kids do-teachers teach

continually ask yourself: would the kids be here if they didn't have to be?

No one says it's EASY - it will take a lot of effort, but that's why the kids will thank us when we succeed

Kid's relationships, the way they have relationships is changing

How do we take all the tools that we have to create a "whole"?
If you wanted to make one change in the tech in the schools, what would it be? [this question was posed to two students who were invited to be a part of this conference]
• allow IM with others at school
• without communication -it's frustrating to students
• giving students a common place to communicate (on the Internet)

Understanding how kids think
Cell phones disconnect as well as connect you - cell phones allow you to do other things at the same time

1 comment:

Michelle C. said...

Wow! There is so much to respond to.
This is what I took from your notes. The relationship between teacher and student is changing primarily because of the technology tools and there is a huge disconnect in education between what and how we're teaching and what kids need to know and be able to do.
Has there ever been a point in history where children are better at learning than adults? Or has it always been that way? Children know what they want to learn (motivation) and find it. Today, the tools by which they find what they want to know are much more sophisticated. Those tools are not yet visible in our schools especially in terms of instructional application. Will we ever be able to close that gap? Can education catch up, or be at the front of the learning curve, in order to serve our students? I am doubtful, honestly.

I reacted strongly to: teachers need not master the technology, use it in the classroom and they will learn it. As a classroom teacher, I needed to be told that. It's ok not to master it before you teach it - or teach with it. However, even with first graders this is true. I can not possibly master KidPix. I don't even want to! It has no practical application in my personal life. But, I can understand how it works and know what I want my students to be able to do with it and let them go.

Hmmmm....what are the implications on staff development in terms of technology? Is it enough now to present a tool and send teachers on their merry way to apply it. Honestly, I think so. As I think about everything I have worked on this summer, I realize that motivation is key. And learning tech tools is really very simple. I am not sure it could be any simpler!

What about traditional tools and staff development? There is this underlying tone that teachers feel that they don't get enough time to really learn things -not enough training. Perhaps, we really are getting enough and the rest is up to us. We're given the tools (Harcourt, Everyday Math, etc.) occasional inservicing- and off we go. Maybe that's all the human brain really needs. Is it possible that we don't have to MASTER everything we do - or anything? Or can we really ever master it. Just give me the framework and enough start up info - let me go try and check in with me periodically to give me some feedback. Hmmmm.

Oh, my head is spinning!