Prensky Responses

Prensky 1.1

1. Discuss the apparent contradiction of the video “I Need My Teachers to Learn” and Prensky’s comments that “teachers do not need to learn to use it [technology] themselves.” How could you compare the ultimate goal of both approaches? Your opinion?

The video “I Need My Teacher to Learn” basically makes a comment that teachers need to be cognizant of the way their students learn- which is often quite different from the way the teachers learn.   According to the video, today’s students have grown up in a world where technology has been embedded into almost every part of their lives.  But, most teachers are stuck in a centuries old machination of note taking, book reading and paper writing.  Conversely, Prenzky proposes, “What teachers do need to know is just how technology can and could be used by students to enhance their own learning” (Prensky, 2010).  In other words, a teacher need NOT know how to use the same technology as their students.  I could not disagree more.   Teachers don’t need to be masters of the technology students use, but they should have a basic knowledge of how to use such technology.   Each year, it becomes more and more apparent that students are receptive to technology use in the classroom.  And, more and more teachers are incorporating various technologies into their lesson plans.  The students are receptive because they live their lives through social networking, youtube, Skype, and so on.  In my opinion, teachers need to play a bigger part in the tech based community that their students live in.  They should be available to Skype with students should they need to.  They should be creating plans that incorporate youtube and to a limited extent, social networking sites.  The “I Need My Teacher to Learn” is right, and the sooner my colleagues realize this, the sooner we’ll see improvements in student performance.  Why?  Because we’ll finally be speaking a language our students can understand.

2. Discuss one main point that Prensky poses in this week’s readings and provide links to and discussion about two or more articles, websites, videos, blogs, podcasts, etc. that contribute to this point.

Partnering is an important part of the complete 21st century learner. In fact, partnering plays a vitasl role in inquiry based learning.  The teacher becomes more of an auxiliary facilitator and the students work together, relying on each other as peers to reach established targets.  As a teacher, I like how partnering also keeps the teacher learning.  The student teacher relationship is a two way street, whereby information is exchanged and evaluated.

Amanda Ryan Fear proposes that students are afforded more choices when they are in a partnering situation rather than a teacher directed one.   By including the student in most of the processes of a lesson plan, she noticed remarkable improvement in task completion (Ryan-Fear, 2011).  In this paradigm, an older generation of teachers who are who struggle with technology could benefit from observing how students use technology on a daily basis and then they could see the importance of it in the classroom

Prensky is in line with this thinking and explains that students are actually very interested in taking an active role in their learning (Prensky, 2010).  Coupled with technology, a whole new world is open for both the student and the teacher Marilyn M. Lombardi argues the same points and dispels the myths that this type of learning is too expensive and not time efficient: “thanks to the emergence of a new set of technological tools, we can offer students a more authentic learning experience based on experimentation and action” (Lombardi, 2007). In this sense, partnering and guided inquiry work together to engage the student and make them an active participant in their own learning (Prensky, 2010).

3. Give one example of each component of C-Rea-T-E in Partnering and justify each example.

Cognitive Complexity

At Level 5 in cognitive complexity, students learn by integrating and specializing. Students produce questions and projects to analyze, evaluate, create and have an emphasis on global learning.  In this capacity, the student becomes the expert, thinker and sense maker, world changer, and self-teacher (Prensky, 2010).  Partnering enables this kind of learning by giving the student the autonomy to guide their own learning, make mistakes and make new decisions to create new standard.

Real World

In the real world component, students are using real objects, learning simulates the real-world, learning impacts the community, and learning has a positive impact on a global issue and collaboration with experts. Partnering benefits from real world experience in that it compels the student to think on their feet and work on a solution/answer in a global context. Students are to take what they learn and immediately use what they learn to do something or change something in the world (Prensky, 2010).

Technology Integration

In partnering, the student plays a more central role in being the self-starting learner.  In levels 4 and 5 of technology integration, the student’s work is integrated into the content.  This level demands that the student demonstrate a clear understanding (or mastering if you will) of technology content production. According to Pensky, digital technology can enable teachers and students to partner in this much more personal way.  With teacher assistance, the student becomes the self-starting learner.  But, the addition of technology alone does not guarantee success.  Rather, it is the partnering of the student and teacher within the framework of the use of technology that can make the difference (Prensky, 2010).

Engagement

At level 4 of engagement, students partner with teachers to achieve learning targets.  At level 5, students initiate their own inquiry.  This is usually accomplished through collaboration with other students and unit projects. Student centered inquiry calls for partnering to guarantee successful engagement (Prensky, 2010).

Lombardi, M. (2007). Authentic learning for the 21st century: An overview. Educause Learning Iniative, Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli3009.pdf

Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Ryan-Fear, A. (2011). Partnering with students yields engaging rewards.  Retrieved from http://www.tolerance.org/blog/partnering-students-yields-engaging-rewards.

Prensky 1.2

How do you prevent technology from taking over the curriculum essentials that you are trying to teach? What role do Prensky’s “verbs” and “nouns” pose in answering this question? Justify your answer.

I often see teachers use technology in the classroom if only to claim that they are compliant with recent recommendations for technology use. Quite often, this is just having students create a simple PowerPoint presentation with little or no explanation as to how to effectively convey the knowledge of producing an effective presentation. Dan Prensky calls PowerPoints and computers as nouns. Prensky was most people think of technology as nouns (Prensky, 2010).  Put simply, these are things that students work with in the classroom. This is erroneous.  Just looking at technology as nouns will short the student of a learning experience. Verbs, however, are doing words.  They indicate the practice that a student must endeavor to undertake in order to hone their technological skills. By DOING, students will have a better understanding of what is being taught. It is up to the teacher to provide the students with the content specific information they need to engage in doing (Prensky, 2010). Beginning with the verbs rather than the noun, the teacher frames the area of study more succinctly for the student.

For example, if I ask a student to, “Investigate the various platforms of the major political parties in the Election of 1860, the student will be driven to find the information and engage themselves in the learning process before creating something like a PowerPoint presentation. Conversely, if the student is told to create a PowerPoint or Prezi, they will be concentrating more on the cool effects they can use, font type, and background colors for the presentation rather than the more important content to be researched.

In Dan Pink’s talk about the science of motivation, he says, “There is a mismatch between what science knows and what education does.” How do his three points (at the end of his talk) agree with Prensky’s teacher and student roles in partnering?

Dan Pinks talk is much needed viewing for my school’s current administration.  Too much time is spent on mindless standardized tests and little spent on giving the student, let alone the teacher, reason to be motivated to learn. In the video, Dan Pink made three points about how “education” needs to be driven:
1. Autonomy- directing own lives (learning)
2. Mastery- wanting to get better at something that matters
3. Purpose- what we are doing is in service that is larger than ourselves.
When this is applied to partnering, the learning environment is much more eddfective. The role of the teacher in partnering is to be a coach, a guide, and an instructional expert. The role of the student is to be a researcher, a technology expert, a thinker, and a self-teacher. Partnering works with students directing their own learning but that learning is guided by the teacher, providing the autonomy that Dan Pink discussed. To reach the mastery level, the guiding and instructional expert parts are related to the student finding the work they are doing really matters. With the proper guidance, the student- the thinker, will have bought into what they are learning and expand their horizons so they are truly engaged in learning that matters. We struggle as teachers to plug into the “big world” perspective. This truly gives students purpose and fits right into Prensky’s idea of a world changer. Partnering allows the student to make these connections that their work and realize their ideas really do matter.

Describe how Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concepts on “flow” can be applied to Partnering for teachers and students?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow is that moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake. It is that moment when self fulfillment and self learning takes over from a teacher directed paradigm. I’m not sure this idea works in the current situation with most schools.  Teaching to the test has usurped all other learning modes.  It isn’t engaging learning either.  The student is not allowed to experience any sort of flow due to the teacher directed, time sensitive nature of today’s educational model. Student learning should be guided what they are passionate about instead of what the teacher tells them. This will allow students to achieve mastery and have purpose in not only their education but in their own lives. For students to enter into this flow, teachers have to offer appropriate guidance and be the questioner as the student researches. (Prensky, 2010).

Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives: Partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Prensky 1.3

1. Discuss two points on which Prensky and Tim Brown would agree. Give at least one additional resource and tie it into your discussion.

Prensky speaks extensively of our internal to-do list we all have.  The fact that this list gets in the way of our creativity is a problem that Tim Brown would agree with.  Brown explains that as we age, we lose our sense of creativity and freedom due to our fear of being judged by others.  As adults, we are constantly “self-editing” which is what Prensky agrees with considering his idea of our internal to-do list.  But, putting play into the classroom with something like the new Common Core Standards that are being adopted all over the country (and have already been adopted in Kentucky) is almost next to near impossible. The new CC standards are more concerned with standardized testing than student ingenuity. As George Ball says in his recent (and brilliant) article, “Common Core Standards are Curriculum Upsidedownia,” the very essence of learning, creativity, is removed in favor of rote learning and rigid testing.  He says that neither the teacher nor the student is ALLOWED to be creative within the common core framework.  So, not only does this fly in the face of Brown’s assertions, but also conflicts with Prensky as well.

2. What would Prensky say about the video, “ Asking higher level questions”? What is one suggestion that Prensky would give this teacher? How would you rate most of the questions using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy?

Prensky would be impressed with this teacher’s method of delegating responsibilities for the categories of question stems to various groups of students.  He would be most impressed with the fact that the teacher has moved beyond rote learning and engaged the students with higher level thinking by asking them to elaborate and evaluate on various aspects of the story they read.  Prensky would probably go the extra mile and suggest that the students pair up and rewrite a part of the story or ask the students to create their own story based on a similar framework of the one they read.  It empowers the student to take control of the proverbial “wheel” and be self-starters in their own creativity.

4. You are a new principal in a school where test scores and the county curriculum have been the primary focus for years. You are trying to initiate Prensky’s partnering process. How do you help teachers who feel that they must teach to the test and must tell students every fact in the stated curriculum so that students can memorize it for the test?

Using Prensky’s partnering method, teachers could remove themselves from being the center of the delivery of information to the students in rote learning.  Teachers could get students to partner and teach each other the information through creative ways.  Of course, the teacher would have to provide the framework for the entire endeavor, but allowing the students to create clever and effective ways to teach their fellow students the required material that they will encounter on a standardized test, can take some of the worry off the teacher and put more responsibility on the student, thus providing a more engaging experience for the student.

 

Ball, G. (2013).  Common core standards are ‘curriculum upsidedownia.’  Retrieved from http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Common-Core-standards-are-curriculum-4739732.php.

Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives: Partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Prensky Responses

  1. I like that you pointed out the importance of partnering and the teacher continuing to learn. I agree whole-heartedly. I believe we can learn from our students if we are open to it and we should always continue to learn so that we can remain relevant.

  2. I agree, teachers need to be technology educated in order to properly teach their students. This is the world they, and all of us, now live in and we must meet them where they learn. Many teachers are leery of technology, not because they refuse to learn, but because of lack of understanding how important this is to the generation of learners we have today. I have returned to teaching after being a stay at home mom for many years, and in the past 5 years of being back technology has changed drastically and I must keep up with the changing times in order to be the best teacher for my students.

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