These are my notes from Marc Prensky’s NCCE 2008 opening keynote. My thoughts and comments are in ALL CAPS. I heard Marc share this presentation in 2006 at TCEA, and my notes from that preso remain online / available. NCCE is recording a video of Marc’s presentation which they will be posting later as a web video / downloadable podcast. Marc’s website is www.marcprensky.com.

Marc was a concert musician earlier in life!

response to NCCE 2008 program that had recipient’s first name spelled out with coffee beans

slide of Marc’s educational credentials
– the best thing I get to do now is interview kids all over the world now

what I do, is think about education from the point of view of the student
– I make R&D projects
– my latest book: “Don’t Bother Me Mom, I’m Learning”
– no one wanted to publish that book originally
– now it has been translated into 7 foreign languages

I was in Rome recently for the launch of the Italian version of my book

this morning I want to talk about “engage me or enrage me”
– how do we deal with today’s learners differently than we might have in the past

My biggest concern as an educator is:
– answer this question on a piece of paper NOW, and I will collect them
– write down 1 or 2 words

MY RESPONSE: THE LACK OF APPROPRIATE EDUCATIONAL VISION

I think it should be: “keeping up with change”
– kids have passion about the future
– 30 years from now, not that far
– our kids will either cry or laugh at the education we gave them in 2008

how many of you have sent an email in the past 24 hours
– “email is for old people” – a student
– that was a headline in The Chronicle of Higher Education
– elaborate email infrastructure put in by colleges

Did you have a good vacation
– image of parent dragging kid into the car, clutching his desktop computer

we need to understand the speed and magnitude of change that is here and the change that is coming, which is much greater

in 30 yars if technology ocntinues to double in power every year, our technology will be 1 billion times more powerful than todya

SO THIS IS THE SOURCE FOR THAT STATEMENT IN THE RECENT EDUTOPIA ARTICLE WHICH MARC WROTE!

what does that mean

1960s mainframe x 1B = today’s cell phone x 1 B = ???

we can do on today’s cell phone what people did with room-sized computers in the 1960s
– these are 1 billion time increases

today we are already working at the ATOMIC level
– every movie ever made, book ever written, will be placeable on a pinhead

my favorite quote in the world: “charles handy: walking backward into the future helps us keep looking at familiar things…”
– this leads to us getting creamed by the truck

2 things going on simultaneously
– most of us have not experienced much rapid change in the bulk of our lives
– we went to the moon, but we drive the same cars to go to the same jobs, etc…

the discontinuity is digital technology
– from now on, things are changing exponentially
– that is not just SO FAR OFF in the future
– our lives get different every day now
– you have probably changed the way you do banking, phoning, traveling, reading, buying and selling, obtaining info

THIS IS A GREAT POINT, THESE ARE CURRENT CHANGES, NOT JUST FUTURE CHANGES

for young people, ramp up these changes 10 fold

kids are approaching their lives differently

Net Day “Speak-Up Day” summary
– tomorrow.org
– they interview kids every year about technology preferences
– the emerging online life of the digital native

young people are figuring out new ways to do these things: communicating, sharing, buying and selling, exchanging, learning, meeting, gaming, coordinating, evaluating, collecting, creating, evolving, searching, analyzing, reporting, programming, socializing, growing up

Marc Prensky presenting at NCCE 2008

5 to 10 years we are not going to have cash or credit cars: we will wave our cell phones in front of devices

the single largest differentiator is the social network
– Jack Mckenzie

Equity?

we can be a big part of the solution to the digital divide

within the next 5 years, the WiMax people of the year have a new thing that educators will be able to build their own towers, manage their own

inkwell program building their own computers for education
– ruggedized computers for education

software coming out now that will be really good, and adapt to each student
– when these things appear, the changeover is instantaneous almost

remember when we used to not use keyword searching for the web
– speed of change is happening in our lives

Marc Prensky at NCCE 2008

Kids were born to the idea of rapid change
– the change that empowers the students is often threatening to educators and adults in general (those who came before these changes)

are you threatened by unfiltered student access to the internet?
– unfiltered access to test answers?
– to grade books? (that is hackable!)
– to your personal records (personnel records)

secrecy is one of the things that is going away with this new technology
– the very nature of education is changing

the font of knowledge is the internet, not the teacher (quotation from a principal in Australia)

now the future is really uncertain
– now we are going to have to invent new tools

remember when we couldn’t collect political contributions on the Internet?
– when we couldn’t auction things on the Internet? (now that is one of the biggest businesses in the world)

how many of you see your role in eduation helping students with skills for an unknown future

our kids are not “little us’s” anymore
– video of lots of small kids in a house talking on the cell phone

almost every student already has a powerful computer
– we are far along with 1:1, because a great percentage of your students has a powerful computer in their pocket: a cell phone

cell phones are
– powerful computers
– inexpensive
– more….

what is missing here is often our imagination

question for you: (ethical)
– suppose in the middle of the day, you got a call from your own son or daughter asking you a strange question: what is the capital of Sri Lanka?
– you know the answer, but suspect that your son or daughter is in the middle of a test

that is an interesting question because we are right in the middle
– we should want to help our kids to use their tools

we need to evaluate these rules and change them appropriately

i believe in open phone tests
– and we laugh….
– but we are going to take an open phone test NOW

1. Who is Craig Venter and why is he important?
2. What has he been collecting from around the world and why?
3. If you know the answers to 1 and 2, find out something about him that you didn’t know

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Venter

the teachers who give open phone tests can ask harder questions
– high school senior said after a presentation: most of our tests are already open phone tests, you guys just don’t know it….

let’s get with the program folks!
– we don’t have to ban this stuff
– we can use it appropriately
– you are going to see all sorts of tools

think about how you can integrate cell phones into your teaching

kids ask: how can we adapt?

What do kids like?

What do kids like?

I keynoted a conference recently titled “Educating Global Citizens”
– you can take this 2 ways, either we need to MAKE our kids global citizens or our kids are ALREADY global citizens

community?
– used to be those sitting at your table
– now your community is the world

how many of you see your job as connecting kids to the world?

some people are asking: When will this change END?
– it won’t

“You look at technology as a tool. We look at technology as a foundation – it’s totally integrated into what we do.” – a student

digital technology is considered a BIRTHRIGHT by kids at the start of the 21st century

– here’s a photo of my own kid, Sky, taken in 2005
– he’s surrounded by robots, books that read to him, his own music synthesizer
– everything he picks up is a digital device, and he tries to make phone calls with it

why are so many kids tuning out of today’s school
– simple answer: we are boring them to death
– kids say they have to POWER DOWN

we have to turn around and face this future
– let kids use their tools to learn

metaphor for today’s education
– kids used to grow up in the dark intellectually, until they went to school
– at school we started opening up the door, showing them the light, helping them learn about the world
– so in the past we were the people who showed kids the light

what happens today?
– kids grow up in the light:they are connected with their cell phones, computers, etc
– when they come to school, we make kids turn off all their connections to the LIGHT and essentially make them work again in the darkness

this is disturbing
– can we turn on the lights, please, for these kids?

“I’m bored all day because the teachers
“it’s not attention deficient, I’m just not listening”

road signs to prescription drugs

the idea that we can give kids a set of meaningful information that will last IS OVER
– the info changes too quickly
– so we need to teach skills that will be useful throughout life

my ideas
1- knowing the right thing to do: (behaving ethically, critial thinking, decision making, problem solving, etc…)
2- getting it done: goal setting, planning, etc.
3- doing it with others: communicating and collaborating, with individuals and groups, with machines (programming), and with a world audience

I AGREE WITH ALL THESE POINTS. CREATING AND COLLABORATING ARE THE KEYS

4. doing it creatively
5. doing it better and better

Who has read “the 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey
– your homework assignment: READ THIS!
– this has been on the best seller list for 10 years
– so we KNOW these habits
– for us to know these and NOT be teaching

“our kids should sue us for the education we give them” -Angus King

how do we do this in the era of “no child left alive”
– we have to find a way
– we have to just things out of the curriculum
– my approach: “curriculum deletion”

hopefully we can get up in arms with the next set of leaders in Washington
– lets make every politician take the SATs with no prep, and then reveal their scores
– it is mostly stuff we will forget and won’t need

Why else are our schools so bored in school?
– were not teaching them in the right way
– there is a new paradigm for learning

We’re in California, right
– no, we are in Washington
– I always fear I will be in Kansas
– we’re not in Kansas anymore

HEY I TAKE OFFENSE TO THIS! (IN A GOOD HEARTED BUT YET SERIOUS WAY.) THERE ARE GREAT THINGS HAPPENING IN KANSAS AND KANSAS SCHOOLS! CLEARLY MARC NEEDS TO GET OUT MORE AND VISIT SOME OF THE INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS WE HAVE IN KANSAS NOW!!!!! KANSAS HAS AROUND 30 DISTRICTS DOING 1:1 LEARNING PROJECTS NOW.

the new paradigm is kids teaching themselves, not all on their own but with the teacher’s guidance
– you don’t even need technology for that, but technology helps

for the first time, our schools have serious competition

many are bypassing the schools, and going to after school projects
– MacArthur Program looking at after school programs

question is: can we compete, can we turn on the lights?
– or is it only the DARK SIDE of schools keeping us alive?
– kids go to school to be safe while parents can work
– we don’t talk about that, but this is true

consider this: will a teacher REALLY be fired if student test scores don’t go up?
– probably not
– but if a teacher tells kids they can do whatever they want and roam

otherwise, school is PRISON

what if we don’t work on this…
– funny graphics of misspelled words, an algebra problem saying “find x”

want to see what school is really about? go to YouTube

what is the role of technology?
– some think technology is the answer to getting engagement

technology isn’t the answer
– we are going to have to change how we are teaching before we introduce the technology

lots of digital immigrants teach by
– delivering content

[insert photo}

the new paradigm demands technology
– until the teachers move to a new paradigm, the technology can get in the way

May 8, 2008 article: Seeing no progress for laptops, NYT article

1st: change how teachers teach

2nd: let the kids use the technology
– then let the student do what they do well: use technology, find content, create
– let teachers assess

it is important that teachers don’t waste their time learning to use these new tools
– they don’t need to create with technology, because the kids can do it

I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH THIS. I AGREE THAT TEACHERS DON’T HAVE TO KNOW ALL THE POINT AND CLICK PROCEDURES FOR EVERY PROGRAM, BUT IT IS ABSOLUTELY PIVOTAL THAT TEACHERS LEARN TO CREATE AND USE TECHNOLOGY TOOLS, FIRST FOR PERSONAL REASONS. WHY? BECAUSE WITHOUT THIS PERSONAL LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE, TEACHER WON’T BE ABLE TO GET THEIR HEADS AROUND THE POTENTIAL USES OF THESE TECHNOLOGIES AND BE ABLE TO FACILITATE LEARNING IN THE WAYS THEY NEED TO.

teachers need to know what the tools are about

how teachers should use new tools: assign, evaluate, teach

wikipedia:
– design a wikipedia article for

why does digital tech change so much from the past?
– because it is programmable

THE WORD HERE IS PROTEAN, IT IS VERSATILE IN TERMS OF FUNCTION

picture of a flashing alarm clock, “i can program that”

HE IS MISTAKENLY SAYING PROGRAMMING IS SETTING AN ALARM CLOCK. THAT IS WORKING WITH TECHNOLOGY, BUT NOT PROGRAMMING. I THINK THE DEFINITION MARC IS USING HERE FOR PROGRAMMING IS OVERLY BROAD.

when it comes to digital technology, we are hugely underestimate what our students can do
– who has seen Mabry Online’s videos?

Showing “Nothing But Nets” movie from Mabry Online
– help us change the world. help us save a life

SEEING THIS AGAIN MAKES ME RETHINK MY CURRENT PROFESSIONAL CAREER TRACK. I SEE MOVIES LIKE THIS, AND I WANT TO GO BACK INTO THE CLASSROOM AND FOCUS ON HELPING STUDENTS DO THIS. NOT TALKING ABOUT IT. DOING IT. NOT ENCOURAGING OTHERS TO DO IT. DOING IT. NOT SAYING “WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT IF WE….” DOING IT.

I THINK DR. TIM TYSON SHOULD BE OUR NEXT SECRETARY OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES. (REMEMBER EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS HERE ARE MY – WES FRYER’S – IDEAS, NOT THINGS MARC IS SHARING DURING THIS PRESO.)

MARK REFERENCES WHAT TIM TYSON HAS SAID ABOUT THESE MOVIES, BUT NEVER SAID TIM’S NAME. HE NEEDS TO ATTRIBUTE HIS SOURCE AND TELL PEOPLE TIM’S NAME!!!!!

We need to do it WITH students, not TO them
– we need class meetings, talk about the technologies the students think are useful, as opposed to what we think is useful

why don’t we do better?
– because we don’t ask
– are we afraid of our own kids? to ask them what is good for them? to ask for their opinions?
– not to let them run the whole ship, but to ask them: “Am I boring you?”
– if they say yes, that could be a great answer, if our next question is, “What could I do that wouldn’t bore you.”

The only way we will get to where we need to go is to listen to the kids, and let them help us change what we are doing

2 things kids around the world

– ‘we’re bored”
– “we’re not stupid. don’t treat us like we are.”

5 stages of teachers and the new paradigm (photos behind)
1- Hiding (picture of alligator at the door)
2- Panic (keyboard button: “oh sh**”)
3- Acceptance (laying beside some sort of dead sea animal)
4- Comfort (kid washing a python)
5- Power (zebra driving a motorcycle being chased by a lion)

remember this: your job and the role of technology in my view has 1 single purpose: to empower kids to learn
– so please, if you do one thing, always be teh ADVOCATE for the students (not for the grades, the parents, the tests)
– kids don’t have a good advocate, they need one

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  • Having your reactions to Marc’s presentation really help. I agree with all you have said. Tim Tyson for Secretary of Educations. YES! That teachers need to use and understand the tools before expecting students to use them, absolutely. Marc makes some great points in his presentation, but it’s nice to see a little pushback.

  • Hi Wes… I was there today too and I have to agree with your disagreement (say that 10 times fast)… I think teachers absolutely much adopt these tools. Teachers have voices as you suggest, and left to their own devices, students simply will lack direction in making meaning of all of this information. I was also not 100% on board with teachers simply as assessor: we can still be experts of our content, even if students can use their new power to gather content, we can still be a guiding force and expert. Great notes… thanks…

  • I’ll chime in with my frustration at Prensky’s comments about teachers not needing to know the technology, too. Of course we need to be aware of the tools and what they can do; the only way to really be aware is get our hands dirty and try them out, create something ourselves.
    This has the added benefit of promoting conversations between teachers and students about the acts of learning and creating, helping both groups see one another as learners.

  • I am with Jason…I too agree with your disagreement. (Nicely said, Jason!)

    We are living in transformative times, and Marc too often suggests that we (the teachers) can not pick up the “foreign language” of Web 2.0. Well, I consider myself an “older” digital native. Wes is a good model. We all can build excitement in our peers about using these tools to connect with our students and the larger world…or we can do as Marc suggests and not be involved.

  • Dave Falconetti

    Will someone shoot this one trick pony and put us out of our misery?

  • Hi,

    Many thanks for posting this round-up and your comments. The combination makes for great reading.

    While I agree with in pulling Marc up on “it is important that teachers don’t waste their time learning to use these new tools – they don’t need to create with technology, because the kids can do it”. However, I think your later point about programming may simply be one of semantics. I immediately thought not of an alarm clock but of that previous poster-boy for the generational split; the VCR. 20 years ago it was the ability to ‘programme’ the video that separated the MTV generation from the parents as ‘baby-boomers’.

    Similarly, it is the ability of the ‘Bebo-Boomers’, as Ewan McIntosh calls them, to interact, mould and in this context ‘programme’ the net that is separating them from those who don’t engage that I think Marc is referring to. In this instance programme would simply refer to WYSIWYG editors, uploading photos and videos etc. No one need know or care about the HTML, PHP, MySQL or Javascript that underpins the internet.

    Scott.

    P.S. Please excuse my archaic, British spelling of the word ‘programme’ 😉

  • Gosh, I could have written the same blog post four years ago, two years ago or last year, when I heard Prensky speak. But Scott, I think Marc is referring to programming in its Python, Ajax slightly scary coding sense. He sees this, rather than the exploitation of existing technology as the new language we must all learn. I think I’ve said the same about Chinese, but I don’t see myself mastering Mandarin any time soon. I’m with Wes on this one – it’s all good and well talking about stuff, but if you’re not doing it, changing it and adapting it with time, then it’s time for a new record (someone else) to be played…

  • Wes,
    The problem with “teachers have to learn it first” is that we never get to “and then…” Somehow we always get stuck in the first stage.

    Seems to me that means we should rethink that policy. Nobody is saying “don’t teach teachers about technology”. What I would like to see more of is teachers learning alongside students so that teachers can see students using, learning, and sharing technology. Teachers need to see this, otherwise they tend to decide that it’s too hard (for them AND their students).

  • Amen to Sylvia. I agree it would be a better world for the students if all the teachers were experts in all the technologies. Trouble is it’s just not going to happen. And the fear of needing to know all, prevents many teachers from even learning some. Far better, I think, to calm teachers’ fears by saying they only need to know what the technologies do, not how to use them, and by encouranging them to let the students use them. Once the technologies start getting used by students, and teachers accept them as valid learning techniques and uses of student time, then those teachers who have the interest, bandwidth, and skill will come along and use them along with the students (or just reuse what their students did.)

    As for the programming part, please see my article “The True Twenty-first Century Literacy Is Programming” in Feb 2008’s Edutopia (http://www.edutopia.org/programming)

  • If teachers don’t take the time to at least “play and explore” with the technology they will never integrate it into their curriculum. It’s just like listening to a lecture. It never really sinks in and makes sense until you think it over, debate it (like this forum) and re-synthesize it into your own understanding.

    My concern is if this keynote was originally given in 2006 – why are we continuing to still say “kids are different today” in the year 2008. We are educators. We know kids are different. Maybe this keynote would be more appropriate to an audience outside of educators. I am personally tired of hearing the message. I know my kids are different. Motivate me to change!

  • Colette: One of the important things to remember about edtech conferences like NCCE (I need this reminder too) is that many of the attendees are coming for the first time. So while Marc has been sharing this message for awhile, there are still LOTS of folks (including large numbers of the keynote audience, most likely) who have NOT heard the message yet. I think one of the biggest challenges for edtech conference presenters is speaking to both newbies as well as more experienced educators who have “been around the block” when it comes to conference themes and messages.

    Although I had heard Marc share a similar message in 2006 there were still some new things I picked up on, and some new ideas. He did a pretty good job with the “motivate to change” message.

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  • Only just got back to this post.

    Having now read the link that Marc submitted (ironically I had to read the source code of the page as it didn’t render at all in Camino on OS X) I take it all back. I write HTML (which as one of the commenters pointed out isn’t actually programming as it’s a MARKUP language), CSS and a certain amount of PHP every day and I wouldn’t even class myself as a programmer.

    I am perfectly happy to let OX S bubble away beneath me, quite content as it deals with my lumpen keystrokes and ill-advised swipes across the track-pad. I am in no way concerned with the Unix, Darwin or Cocoa that beat at it’s heart. The same is true of my mobile phone, my car, my LCD television, or my private jet (ok I made the last one up). I admit that there are some things I need to learn in order to engage with and utilize these tools but there is no pre-requisite to their use that means I need to know to create a car, phone, TV or private jet of my own.

    People do not, and should not, need to learn how to programme in this sense at all. The only thing that people need to learn to do with technology is be inquisitive. And the biggest barrier to that is fear.

  • Well, I think a great deal of valuable things can happen when people learn to program. Like many things, I’ll agree that programming isn’t for everyone. And I’m not going to argue that we should force it upon everyone for four years in high school. But I will make the argument that we should provide students with more opportunities than many have now in our public schools to learn programming, as well as robotics design. Will a majority of kids go one to work for NASA and design the next planetary landers? No. But will students find that sort of work engaging, and develop (potentially) a robust set of skills including troubleshooting, problem solving, and logical thinking? Yes.

    I agree with your point that people don’t have to learn how to program to use technology, and I am a supporter as well as user of those sorts of “bridge” technologies which empower creativity and collaboration without requiring a background in C++. I still think, however, we need to provide more opportunities for students to engage in programming. If the flat world offers anything to those who are connected, it is the ability to earn unlimited sums of money for their creative work in innovating or inventing new software applications. That is an opportunity the architects of 19th and 20th century schools didn’t even have on their radar screen. We should today, however.

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