Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A salesman at my classroom door...

All of us have experienced the annoyance of a salesman at our door. That was the feeling I had after reading Adopt and Adapt by Marc Prensky. It felt like a marketing campaign set up by a businessman – not an educator. His article is not only diminishing to the great teachers out there, but it also only portrays a biased opinion. I just wonder; how often is Prensky in a classroom? How involved is he in curriculum design? From what I read at the end of the article he is a founder, CEO of a game company, speaker, writer, and consultant… is he a teacher?
I believe we have a responsibility as teachers to learn about new tools; but the way the Prensky’s blog makes it sound good quality education cannot be accomplished without technology. It’s not true.
And then… I happened to come across a blog (thanks to Chrissy) by Simon Siemen; where he questions Prensky’s article Digital Natives? Digital Immigrants? It was definitely a refreshing blog. All the questions and comments that Siemen makes are valid and needed. But there is one particular observation that I would like to point out from his comments; he says:

On page 2 of Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Marc talks about digital language and how us ‘immigrants’ have to learn ‘digital’ like a second language…. And a language learned later in life, scientists tell us, goes into a different part of the brain. Does it? What scientists? Is learning to work an ipod really the same as learning a second language? Perhaps Marc is taking his analogue a little too far?

Yes, he has.
The comment lacks knowledge about second language acquisition, about the components of learning a new language, about the importance of interaction and creating a comfortable environment for students to use the language…
Again…just wondering…how many languages does Marc Prensky speak?


  1. I'm glad the Prensky article is starting a dialogue. He is one of the most controversial figures in educational technology today, which is why we included him in our readings. It's interesting to see the reactions of our course participants and other educators to his writings.

    Personally, I feel there is some validity to some of his points, but certainly not all. It's good to have an honest and open discussion (and reflection) about what might relate to us as individuals and part of a school and what might not.

  2. Love the picture!

    Your points are right one. Prensky usually comes across as being way out there...but he does make us question and think, which is his job and his point. He's big time into learning through games.

    Is digital a new language? Is learning what LOL, BTW, POS, BFF, a new language that we as "digital immigrants" need to learn? Does learning to work a DVD player require a language? Or just a skill set that must be learned?

  3. Gaby,

    I share your scepticism on the role of technology in education. No doubt education can be just as assertive (or more!) in technology-free environments if we agree that GOOD education means providing skills for critical thinking, creativity, dialogical reasoning.

    Technology is therefore a tool, whether good or bad, depends on a series of questions: How much? When? What age group? How?

    Electronic devices and the cyberspace has some drawbacks when it works one-direction only. That is, the net feeds the children (we can't say that clicking is "interacting"). In that case, children's creativity is not enhanced... their brains are filled with information. Tons, perhaps too much and too fast for them to assimilate.

    Another thing is having children interview real people with a camera, seeing and discussing the material in a group, editing, and finally uploading the piece in youtube, and debating the result once again.(just to give an example of a non-passive use of technology)