Marc Prensky (born March 15, 1946 in New York City) is an American writer and speaker on learning and education. He is best known as the inventor and popularizer of the terms "digital native" and "digital immigrant" which he described in a 2001 article in "On the Horizon".
Prensky holds degrees from Oberlin College (1966), Yale University (1968) and the Harvard Business School (1980). He is the author of Digital Game-Based Learning (McGraw-Hill 2001), Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning (Paragon House 2006), Teaching Digital Natives (Corwin Press 2010), From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (2012), BRAIN GAIN: Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom (2012), and over 60 essays on learning and education. Prensky is also a designer of learning games, and a well-known expert in the use of games in education.
Prensky began his career as a teacher in Harlem, New York, and has taught at all levels, from elementary to college. Additionally, he spent time on the corporate side as a corporate strategist and product development director with the Boston Consulting Group, as well as, a human resource and technology executive on Wall Street.
Focus and Research
Prensky's professional focus is on K-12 education reform, particularly by helping teachers change their pedagogy in ways that are more effective for 21st century students and by advocating for a change to a passion led, problem-solving-methodology-based curriculum. He is an advocate for the students in the educational process, and has initiated educator-student dialogs about the teaching process around the world.
Prensky offers a different perspective on the learning process, based on the premise that the children of today are experiencing life and education very differently than generations past. He states that he hopes to motivate children through their passion for technology through games, internet, and cell phones. He believes that through technology we can reach out to children and help them to enjoy learning.
Prensky has been a featured guest on FOX, PBS, NBC,BBC, MSNBC and several other international networks. He has been named a “guiding star of the new parenting movement” by Parental Intelligence Newsletter. Many educators look at Prensky's work as an innovative and futuristic way to teach our children.
Some writers have dismissed Prensky's views as simplistic, arguing that his terminology is open to challenge and that his claim that educators should simply alter their approach to suit young people who are 'digital natives' ignores essential elements of the nature of learning and good pedagogy. These writers argue that the teacher's role is not only to do what learners want, but also to monitor, correct and - most importantly - to challenge them as well, in which light Prensky's views on pedagogy are arguably too one-dimensional (see e.g. Bax 2011).
Others have challenged whether the designation of the 'digital native' has any real-world usefulness. Prensky currently believes that it is time to move past the decade old metaphor of “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” and to strive for a new goal: Digital Wisdom. (See Prensky’s latest books: 'From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom', and 'Brain Gain: Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom.')
Regarding what is “simplistic” and “good pedagogy” Prensky argues that the fields of education and pedagogy have today become needlessly and painfully over-complicated, ignoring our students’ (and our world’s) real needs, and that it is time to reassess what good and effective teaching means in a digital age and how to combine what is important from the past with the tools of the future. Prensky argues that despite recent influxes of technology into schools, not enough attention is being paid to the full implications of all the important recent changes in our educational environment and context. See, e.g. http://www.marcprensky.com/blog/archives/2011_06.html, Teaching the Right Stuff–Not Yesterday’s Stuff or Today’s, but Tomorrow’s (In Educational Technology, MayJune 2012) and Before Bringing in New Tools, You Must First Bring in New Thinking (Coming in Amplify, June 2012)
Marc Prenskys' books aim to challenge teachers and parents to develop a new, creative way to educate children.
- Digital Game-Based Learning (also in Japanese)
- Don't Bother Me Mom---I'm Learning (also in Japanese, Chinese and Italian)
- Teaching Digital Natives—Partnering for Real Learning (Also in Spanish
- From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning
- BRAIN GAIN: Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom
- Game Design Handbook (Chapter on Games and Learning)
- Playing Video Games in Schools (Opening Chapter)
- Computer Games and Instruction (Chapter on Research)
- Deconstructing Digital Natives (Chapter on Digital Wisdom)
- Fun, Play and Games: What Makes Games Engaging? -- Digital Game-Based Learning Chapter 5
- Digital Game-Based Learning Chapter 1: The Digital Game-Based Learning Revolution
- Digital Game-Based Learning Chapter 2: The Games Generations: How Learners Have Changed
- Digital Game-Based Learning Chapter 3: Why Education and Training Have NOT Changed
- True Believers: Digital Game-Based Learning in the Military-- Digital Game-Based Learning Chapter 10
- The Reformers Are Leaving Our Schools in the 20th Century (SNS Newsletter and On The Horizon, 2011)
- Simple Changes in Current Practices May Save Our Schools (ETC Online Journal, 2010)
- The iPad is coming! (Or is it?)Educational Technology, 2010
- What I Learned Recently In New York City Classrooms: How to keep all kids busily engaged at all times (2010)
- Blame Our Young? Or Use Their Passion!: We can do better than just laying the responsibility for solving our nation’s problems on the backs of our kids (2010)
- What a District CTO Should Know: More than just technology, he (or she) needs to know what’s going on (Educational Technology)
- The Longer View: Why YouTube Matters (On the Horizon, 2010)
- Technology Turns Disposable: Forget amortizing—buy new every year (Educational Techonology, 2010
- Education as Rocket Science: A new metaphor (Educational Technology, 2009)
- From Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom H. Sapiens Digital (Innovate, Feb-Mar 2009)
- Should a 4-year-old have an iPhone? hand held learning (Handheld Learning, 2009)
- Make Those YouTubes!: More Sharing = Faster Learning (Educational Technology, 2009)
- Let’s Be Digital Multipliers (Educational Technology, Jan - Feb 2009)
- The Role of Technology in teaching and the classroom (Educational Technology, 2008)
- Looking Back from the Future (Greentree Gazette, Nov 2008)
- New College Courses for the 21st Century (Greentree Gazette, Sept 2008)
- Using Cell Phones for Exams (Sydney Morning Herald, 2008)
- Who should take the SAT? Why not the educators (Green Tree Gazette, Aug 2008)
- Are you lecturing about nouns or facilitating learning with verbs? (Green Tree Gazette, July 2008)
- Young Minds, Fast Times: The Twenty-First-Century Digital Learner (Edutopia, June 2008)
- Turning On The Lights: Will we continue to trap our kids in the past? (Educational Technology, 2008)
- The True Twenty-first Century Literacy Is Programming (Edutopia, Feb 2008)
- Students as Designers and Creators of Educational Computer Games (Microsoft, 2007)
- To Educate, We Must Listen: Reflections From Travelling the World (2007)
- Changing Paradigms: from “being taught” to “learning on your own with guidance” (Educational Technology 2007)
- Who’s In Charge?: Who should set and control IT Policy in our schools? (Educational Technology , May-Jun 2007)
- Skills & Learning:How to Train Digital Natives (Financial Times, 2007)
- On Being Disrespected (Educational Leadership, 2007)
- The Prensky Challenge: Who will be the first to challenge, rather than blame our students? (2007)
- Listen to the Natives (Educational Leadership, Dec 2005 - Jan 2006)
- Adopt and Adapt : School Technology for the 21st Century (Edutopia, Dec 2005)
- Engage Me or Enrage Me: What Today's Learners Demand (Educause Review, Sept/Oct 2005)
- Mobile Phone Imagination: Using Devices Kids Love for Their Education (Vodafone Receiver, 2005)
- Search Vs. Research: Or, the Fear of The Wikipedia Overcome (2005)
- A New Business Model for 21st Century Educational Software: Education is a Public Service, Not a Place to Make a Buck(2005)
- If We Share, We're Halfway There: We need to post on the Web everything we do or create that works (Educational Techonology, 2005)
- In Educational Games COMPLEXITY MATTERS: Mini-Games are Trivial but "Complex" Games Are Not (Educational Techonology, 2005)
- The Emerging Online Life of the Digital Native: Don't try to educate kids without knowing about it.(2004) A work in progress - please email me comments and additions.
- What Can You Learn From A Cell Phone? - Almost Anything! - How to use the 1.5 billion computers already in our students' and trainees' pockets to increase learning, at home and around the world (INNOVATE, 2004)
- Beyond the Lemonade Stand: Economics and Business Lessons for a 10-year-old From a Computer Game (2004)
- The Seven Games of Highly Effective People: How Game Playing Helps You Succeed in School, Work and Life (Microsoft Games for Windows, 2004)
- How Kids Learn To Cooperate In Video Games: A Guide for Parents and Teachers (2004)
- Our Greatest Untapped Resource: Putting Unused Computer Cycles To Work For Education (On the Horizon, 2004)
- Capturing the Value of "Generation Tech" Employees (Strategy + Business, 2004)
- The Death of Command and Control?: The "Scribe-Tribe" and Bottom-up Transformation (Technology Alliance Partners, 2004)
- "Modding" - The Newest Authoring Tool (SRIC-BI report, 2003)
- Proposal for Educational Software Development Sites -- An Open Source Tool To Create The Learning Software We Need (2003)
- New Business Models for Learning: We need them badly...and we have to invent them (2003)
- Really Good News About Your Children's Video Games: They're the best learning tools we have (Jun, 2003)
- What Kids Learn That's POSITIVE From Playing Video Games: Quite a bit, as it turns out... (2002)
- Escape from Planet Jar-Gon. Or, What Video Games Have To Teach Academics About Teaching and Writing: A Review of James Paul Gee's "What Videogames Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy" (On The Horizon, Volume 11 No 3, 2003)
- "e-Nough!" "e-Learning" is a misnomer, it's mostly just "e-Teaching." For any teaching to reliably and consistently produce the results we want, we still have a lot to learn about learning. (On The Horizon, Volume 11 Number 1, March 2003)
- Twitch Speed--Reaching Younger Workers Who Think Differently (The Conference Board’s magazine, Across the Board, January 1998
- Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants: a New Way To Look At Ourselves and Our Kids (On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001)
- Do They REALLY Think Differently?: Neuroscience Says Yes (On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 6, December 2001)
- Digital Immigrant Remedial Vocabulary: How Many Do You Know? (Jun, 2003)
- Overcoming Educators' Digital Immigrant Accents: A Rebuttal to an Online Critic (The Technology Source Archives, May-Jun 2003)
- Why Games Engage Us: 12 Reasons (Digital Game-Based Learning, 2001)
- The Motivation of Gameplay: or, the REAL 21st Century Learning Revolution (On The Horizon, Volume 10 No 1., 2002)
- Types of Learning And Possible Game Styles: A Useful Chart (Digital Game-Based Learning, 2001)
- Not Only The Lonely: Implications of "Social" Online Activities for Higher Education (2001)
- But The Screen Is Too Small: No It Isn't. Why Cell Phones - Not Computers - Should Be The Future of Educational Technology (2003)
- Open Collaboration: A Better Way to Develop Educational Software (On The Horizon, Volume 10 No 3., 2002)
- The Intellectual Arcade: A Great Training Concept (2002)
- Video Games and the Attack on America (2001)
- Evolving Instruction: Seven Challenges (On The Horizon, Volume 10 No 2., 2002)
- Interactive Pretending: An Overview of Simulation (2004)
- Simulations : Are They Games? (2001)
- Why NOT Simulation? (2002)
- Has Growing Up Digital and Extensive Video Game Playing Affected Younger Military Personnel's Skill Sets?: A Paper Delivered at I/ITSEC (2003)
- DCSO: Incorporating Cyber-Gaming: A Paper Delivered at I/ITSEC (2002)
- A Field Game Developer Corps: Is It Time For The "GameBees"? (2002)
Foreign Language Essays
- From Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom H. Sapiens Digital (written in Spanish)
- UniTag: Salvare la Scuola in 2 Mosse la di Luca Landò (written in Italian
- Games and Simulation in Online Learning (with Gibson)
- Interview in l’Unita in Rome, Italy by Luca Landò
- Entrevista Revista Época Com Marc Prensky "ÉPOCA MAGAZINE"
- O Aluna Virou O Especialista: Para o consulto, a geraçã digital domina tão bem as tecnologias que aprende sozinha com elas. Entrevista Revista Época Com Marc Prensky "ÉPOCA MAGAZINE" (written in Portuguese
- The Rules Of Engagement - Prensky Interview on Sisimo.com
- SLIDE SHOW : Marc Prensky: "Give Us 21st Century Tools"- Talk delivered at the Dept of Education's NCLB eLearning Summit, July, 2004
- ONLINE DISCUSSION: What Can Education Learn from the Video Game Industry? -- Jim Gee, Chris Dede, Marc Prensky and a high school student
- Reasons To Let Your Kids Play Videogames: Prensky Interview on Fox News Live
- Marc Prensky: What Can Educators Learn from Computer Games About Engagement and Children?- Talk delivered at CoSN, Feb, 2004
- Marc Prensky Keynote Speech-- at August 2003 Distance Learning Conference, Madison WI
- Open Letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- There is one lasting impact that ONLY YOU can make
- Open Letter to the Obama Administration
- Visits to Doctors Who Are Not in, Ever By Michelle Slatalla
- Skills and Learning: How to Train Digital Natives in the "Financial Times"
- Michaels, Leonard (2010-06-22). The Essays of Leonard Michaels. Macmillan. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0-374-53226-0. Retrieved 30 April 2011. "Marc Prensky wrote a seminal article on the key differences between those folks who learned the Internet and all its facets as adults (Digital Immigrants) and those who grew up immersed in it and ..."
- Collier, Bob (2009-08). How I Parent. Parental Intelligence NEWSLETTER. pp. 1–34. Retrieved 7 July 2011. "[marc Prensky is a] guiding star of the new parenting movement…"
- Bax, S. 'Digital Education: beyond the wow factor' in Digital Education: Opportunities for Social Collaboration. Ed. Michael Thomas. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
- "'Technology and society: Is it really helpful to talk about a new generation of "digital natives" who have grown up with the internet?'". The Economist. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
- Sapiens, H. (2011). From Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom. Innovate Online. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- Prensky, Marc (2011). Should a 4 year-old have an iPhone?. Hand Held Learning. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
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