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Comments

Daniel Lafrentz

[10 points] So after going through pensky's slides i'm not sure i'm as inspired as i thought i would be after something like that. especially seeing how i want to go into the profession myself. i could be the exception and not the rule though. i really enjoy lectures because i get something out of them by listening to someone who understands a subject thoroughly. although that all depends on whether they really do understand the subject thoroughly. pensky's slide show seems to operate on the generalization that all students today wont stay focused for a lecture and get bored and tune out, which sadly might be completely true, but i sure hope not.

pensky says that we have to "invent new tools to deal with problems" and i think that his whole idea of having games is his invention of a new tool to deal with the problem of apathetic, unfocused students. i'm really torn on this gaming issue, because i feel like adapting to students who get bored in class is aquiescing to the fact that we cant defeat the damage television and video games have done to the youth. and then the idea that engagement is more important than content to me sort of translates into entertainment is more important than information. its a disconcerting thought.

i definitely agree with pensky when he says that "engagement = passion and motivation" but in a different way. i don't think that school necessarily needs to cater to the entertainment/learning needs of students but engage them just to think to voice an opinion. Lankford's 1B class was all about provoking thought without games to play. seminars where we become our subject and teach it to our peers dont need to be interactive do they? i think turning to games instead of finding ways for people to teach people should be more towards a last resort type of option than to become the next revolution in the teaching field. because if kinds learn through games, and all teachers do is moderate and ask questions about their progress, well then, they sort of stop becoming a teacher dont they and they become a learning game administrator.

the appeal of teaching to me is that i'm passionate about what i want to teach, and if i, not a game, can engage students, then i become the teacher that i want to be. if i, not a game, can get them to think, reflect, realize, and learn, then i truly could be a teacher. but if i sit back let them play away, and have them taught by a machine, what have i become? nothing.

i dont mean to sound staunchly opposed to pensky's idea. but i dont think it should be the next evolution in the teaching field. i think it cold successfully be integrated as a part of a cirricculum, but to rely on it exclusively takes too much away from the actual art of teaching. because after all, teaching isnt ONLY for the students. some teachers derive real pleasure and satisfaction from educating students, and if we employ games to almost inessence replace them, we deny them the joy they started teaching for to begin with.

and now its midnight. i'm out [SCOTT: Great job responding, Dan (as usual). As your current "learning games administrator" I'm genuinely impressed. It's encouraging that good lectures work as a learning method for you (me too), but I can also vouch for the fact that learning styles differ. I suppose if you replace the word "game" with "interaction" or "community" or "inquiry" you might be able to say virtually the same this without the same negative connotation? It's also true that "simulators" are standard ways to train, for example, airline pilots. And the "simulations" are crucial in training emergency workers. So maybe it's not quite so threatening if you tweak the terminology a bit.]

Andrew Tan

[10 points] Frankly, I feel that Pensky is on the opposite extreme of the gaming spectrum. There are those that think, gaming is ruining lives, kids don't go outside anymore, its rotting their brains and everyone's going to die. Now I see there is this extreme, which is that games are the biggest learning tool since chalk was discovered. Although many of the ideas presented in the slides is revolutionary and even at time profound, I'm pretty opposed to what is being presented here overall. First, I feel like the presentation is overly dramatic, and touts the value of games well beyond their worth. Yes, many games are educational, and many games teach a lot of stuff... But the things learned in these games are usually of an exciting nature to begin with such as wars, running a business, building an empire etc. I suppose it's also possible to create the custom games discussed here, and teach things like chemistry and algebra. I feel that these are at best, a supplement to learning. They should by no means be a subsitute. Further, Pensky's speech alienates a significant portion of the population. Many kids do NOT have cell phones, they do NOT have video game consoles, and they are NOT online 11 hours of the day. I feel that an electronic approach of this nature would exacerbate the rift between the well off families and the struggling families. Try to tell a single working-class mother of three that her kids can't pass 3rd grade because she can't afford to buy them a computer that is capable of plaing "Civilizations". Beyond learning, it's simply not a very healthy look at human life. I'm all for technology and the entertainment and learning it brings. I've learned more about the world by searching and following random links through wikipedia for hours, and I can search online about topics they don't teach in school but I'm interested about. For instance, did you know that two red pandas at the zoo have been able to stand up and walk around bipedal? These kind of things enrich my life, but I would hate to see them replace it. Pensky's presentation leaves me with an image of a 13 year old kid, who comes home, plays a learning computer game for his class homework, gets on a forum he and his friends started to caht a while, play video games, check his grades online, and then go to sleep. This is pretty much an accurate description of my younger brother, except he's doing his homework on paper. What pensky hit on, was his assessment of our growth. I like his take on "exponential growth" and agree that learning is produced much better with engagement. He's right, teachers need to involve themselves and the students more in active and progressive learning. Foothill is already taking this slow movement, with supplement sites like etudes and aplia. I think they would benefit from being more engaging, perhaps by offering these learning games. Even if they're cheesy, at least they're a creative and different way to learn. He also shortly discussed a point about "search vs. research". I think the rise in technology actually hurts this. How much easier is it to simply do a search on google and read about what happens when you pinch a hose then to actually go out and discover for yourself? This is a juvenile example, but you can see where I'm getting at. The availability of technology is advancing us rapidly as a species, but I feel that it's slowing our growth as individuals because we have the ability to just pick up where others left off. This topic is contraversial for me. On the one hand, I can clearly see the benefits of technology and games, and where our society is taking all of it. On the other, I look back and see that the people who invented all this great technology were probably not spending their entire lives in the virtual world. [SCOTT: I"m always impressed with your analysis and writing skills, Andrew. What an excellent rebuttal. I especially appreciate the economic differences you pointed out. Hmmmmm....Maybe we should make a "rebuttal" game for you?]

Toni Murphy

[10 points] Am I “enraged” or “engaged?” I would say my interest is peaked. I admit I’ve been a bit resistant to the whole technological and/or computer-based toy craze. Our household has never seen a Gameboy nor Nintendo. On a recent trip to Tahoe, our family traveled with another family. Their daughter rode with my daughter in our car, and both she and her mother were stunned by the fact that we did not have a portable DVD player for the car. (Prior to our trip my husband researched which portable DVD player would be a good buy, but in the end I felt it was copping out). I thought the girls could have a conversation, color, listen to music, play “I Spy” or other road trip games, look at books, or just sit with their private thoughts. And that is exactly what they did for 4 hours up and 4 hours back. They were engaged without the use of any high-tech toy or computer technology. (The little girl’s brother rode with his parents and watched “Power Rangers” on a portable DVD player the entire time. He’s 3 ½ , so I guess it worked out pretty well for them ;-)

My interest in games was indeed peaked by the slide presentation, mainly due to my experience in helping out in my daughter’s elementary level classroom. Some young children could certainly benefit from more engagement in their learning. Pensky’s presentation did appear a bit radical and extreme, but I took it to be intended as more of a wake-up call, rather than a single solution. I thought his presentation was designed to draw attention to the idea that using games in education could be beneficial to many children (if not all) at least on some level. That games could be one more tool in the education toolbox . . .

A couple of years ago, I read a book about how to increase a child’s Emotional IQ. That author stated (convincingly) that the interactional component of computer games is highly preferable to the passivity of watching television, and that this interactive component distinguishes the two experiences as distinct particularly in the outcome for a child’s learning.

One aspect of gaming I think gives credibility to the idea is how individual the learning experience is for a student. Teachers face many challenges, not the least of which is how to address the individual learning needs of 20 different people in a group setting. Perhaps games could assist teachers in this capacity . . . I also like the fact that games require players to make decisions. Can companies can do better at creating games that address basic curricula; games that focus on and enhance reading and writing skills? One slide stated “students want games NOT because they are games, but because they’re the most engaging intellectual thing they have.” Didn’t great teachers used to be one of most engaging intellectual “things” we as a society had????? Unfortunately standards-based curriculum requirements leave teachers with little time (and little recognition) for being creative in the classroom, or for finding unique ways to engage kids who don’t respond as favorably to traditional instruction . . . . .
Toni Murphy

JoyceChengYikTung

[10 points] His slides are really fantastic! It is colorful, it is interesting and inspiring! His main theme is “use games, TOOLS, to help students ENGAGE in learning.” He has given a lot of data showing the changing of learning environment. In the past, students only have books. Now, students have tools, all sort of technology that have potential for a fun and interesting learning environment. He also say that it is the engagement that teachers should get students obtain, rather than the content. It is because once students have engagement, we can’t even stop them from learning! I totally agree. Sometimes, when I was in class, I can’t lie that I didn’t go daydreaming, the quotations of the slides are definitely true. I can’t believe we can make so many text messages a day! So, here are a few of the quotations that fascinates me.
First, the idea of “digital immigrant accent”. It means that people thnk that real life happens only off-line. They don’t believe life without internet or tools can be less interesting than life with tools. At first, when I was 10, my father offered me a computer. The first reaction I had is: Why do I need it? I have no interest in learning a new tool that seems so complicated, so sophisticated, and so robotic! However, now everyday I went home I switch on my laptop! (especially when I am now in America without my family, computer is the only way to contact internationally.) I read newspapers of my home country, I talk to my parents with tools of cell phone. Technology keeps me from being home-sick!
Another quote is “fun is an act of mastering a problem mentally” I think that it is really true. When I was really interested in a subject and I had fun with it, I would start engaging in the class. Mentally I overcome a lot of problems like whether I can pass the subject. I feel more at ease because I know I’ll have fun and learn. It is worthwhile to put my best effort in trying to manage this subject! Your attitude changes, and then your behavior will change. You are more motivated!
Another quote is “effort for learning can feel like work, effort for learning can also feel like play when engaged” Just as I said, when you are really in to the learning process, you are engaged, and it feel like fun, interest, or passion!
Last but not least, the last quote that inspires me is “outside of formal learning, today's young learners are empowered”. Not till the slides has mentioned when I realize that the world is not so technological and advanced, and that we have so many tools than in the past. Our parents do not have computer, internet, ipod. They have walkman. Our world is moving in a fast pace. We keep on updating ourselves with the pace the world is going. It is very true. Yet, I think that not only professors should keep updated and make good use of the technology because it is going to be more advanced in near future, but also everyone is every field. The world is going technologically so advanced in such a fast pace that, we have to get our butt off the chair and get prepared ourselves. At least our presidents of the future would be able to be educated as advanced as we can update ourselves. Just like the slides show, our future children, students, will be like Einstein, a doctor of future advanced technology that we don’t know (we would die before we can see). The slides are really inspiring and eye-catchy.

Katja Broddesson

[10 points] After viewing Marc Prensky’s presentation I had a few ideas and thoughts. Being the mother of a twelve-year old “digital native” (Prensky, slide # 77), and the wife of one of the “digital pioneers” (to coin my own term), I feel it’s very important for me to understand all of this. As a family with two school-age children we prioritize learning whenever possible.

The gaming angle is interesting; gaming goes on every day in our household whether educational or not, and I really like Prensky’s ideas of how to incorporate gaming into learning. Some parents may not like the notion, but I do. Prensky’s summary of the design elements of game development is really interesting. I think these elements could just as easily be applied to education or parenting, especially the decision making aspect. Decision-making is so important to critical thinking, but kids are not exposed to that concept until the higher grades. Games can certainly supply this aspect of the “educational food chain.” In addition, I think the adaptability factor of games is one of the more attractive reasons to use games in education. It could eliminate some of the need to constantly simplify or cater to the lowest common denominator. Why not use these new tools or methods in teaching? If educators chose not to use trailblazing methods like game-based learning, what would that say about themselves as learners?

I especially appreciated Prensky’s statement that “there is no destination” (slide # 34) in learning; the journey is ongoing and evolving. Many a time have I stated a similar thought to my kids, when they have asked me why I am in school now as an adult, since they claim I should “be done by now.” Clearly, they are delusional.

Prensky made another point I can relate to, the label of “digital immigrant” (slide # 83). Without a doubt do I fall into that category! My son’s cyber/ tech/ digital abilities far outpace my own, and grow exponentially greater by the day. Like Prensky said: “tool switching is instantaneous” (slide # 32), and that is evident in my son and his friends. They effortlessly float between IM and regular cell phone use, to MP3 and e-mail. I compare it to being bilingual, but in a different dimension of sorts. I effortlessly switch between Swedish and English (and a fairly effortlessly to another couple of languages, too) and it always blows people away. Meanwhile they send IMs and use their cell phones (I do not own a cell phone) and make PowerPoint presentations without even blinking, which blows me away.

In addition to these points I want to mention Prensky’s idea of testing on cell phones. I like that idea but I think it might be hard to implement. While a lot of today’s kids would likely be comfortable with a cell phone testing environment, it seems it might be hard to control other aspects of the testing. Will the student have access to the Web? Where are they when the test is taking place? Can a bystander help them? These queries would have to be dealt with before this path could be further explored.

My one complaint regarding Prensky’s slide show is his use of many, to me, unfamiliar terms and words pertaining to the topic. My suggestion to remedy this would be for you, Dr. Scottie, to put a glossary on your course web site for students to refer to if and when needed.

Benedicte

[10 points] Mark Pensky's educational piece is very interesting. I do want to throw out there my observation that most of the gamesn seem to be geared toward mostly the young men of this student generation. The gaMes I see are war games, alien games, fantasy games, sexy Laura Croft going on a antiquity hunt, etc. They are the real popular ones,. Then there is Sim city and other "Sim games , Tycoon games etc. I see my daughter play those too. But she is not into Halo, like the boys.

I see, in the current school system, girls doing generally better in high-school, the percentage of dropouts are lower among girls and more girls than boy enroll in college.
I am not quite sure if this is because girls adapt easier or what but the fact is that boys in general are lagging behind in the school system. Awell, some food for thought.

In my own world, my sons, even though they are doing okay at school, they will find their enthusiasm and their learning in the games they play on the computer. Where their essays are done in about half an hour(it will take me days), their game will take much longer to master and the time spend will be comparable to, as Pensky says, a college class.

My sons have more than once tried to convince me of the educational properties of the games they would play for days on end, but I am old and sceptic about all this new stuff. However, the future will be geared toward their needs and wants and the tools they have grown up with. They are the natives and they will use them with a natural ease I may never develop. But as a beginner in TSL(Technology as a Second Language) at least I will be able to have the simple conversations and the basic use, even though poetry and technical manual writing will be a stretch. I do not have the interest or the engagement to play games for hours on end, but I will sign up for the e-portfolio class and learn new stuff, get all confused and slowly but surely figure it out. (Thank you for your patience, Scott. )

I do like the fact that learning can be so much nore fun and playful than it traditionally was. I remember how bored I sometimes was in some of the classes. Math on line is much more fun. Math in pictures can be so much more engaging than just the equations in a book. The overhaul of education as a no pain-no gain institution is wonderful.
Maybe even TSL will become more focused toward us old guys, so we can catch up. There sure is a market.

I forwarded it to my kids and one of my son's of course send me an "Told you so, but you wouldn't listen" back. I guess I just have to swallow that and keep going.

Robin Angell

[10 points] If found the fact that by 2040 technology will be one billion times more powerful than today really surprising. I know from math classes that exponential models grow really quickly, but one billions times more than today is a lot of technology. I wonder where March Prensky got the idea that technology usage is growing exponentially. I suppose he was looking at past rates of growth for technology. However, another one of the first things we learned about exponential growth is that just because a pattern starts out growing exponentially, does not mean it will continue growing in that way. I would really like to ask him about where he came up with the one billion times estimate though.

However, assuming that Marc Prensky’s research is correct it would really change our ways of life. I am not sure if having one billion times more technology in the year 2040 than now is really a good thing. After all, it seems like we are already spending a lot of our lives looking at screens of one kind or another. If even one hundred times more technology appears in the year 2040 it is possible even that will be too much!

I wonder what March Prensky meant by “Learning can’t be push. It has to be pull.” Pushing and pulling have sort of the same connotation in my mind. If you push someone to do something or pull someone to do something it’s basically the same thing. Either way you are manipulating someone to do what you want them to. I suppose that what Marc Prensky means is that people can only really learn if they want to and not because someone is forcing them. It reminds me of my third grade teacher who used to say that teachers couldn’t open up heads and pour knowledge into them. Students have to try. I guess what that means for students is that we have to put in effort and for teachers that means they have to make lesson plans that encourage us to want to put in effort.

I agree with Marc Prensky that engagement does equal motivation and passion. If all teachers could make their subjects engaging, so that all of their students were motivated and had passion for the subject then the world would be a much better place. It can’t be all that simple though. After all, not all students are motivated by the same things. Passion is not something you can mass-produce in a factory.

I find Marc Prensky’s interpretation of why teachers are struggling to be very interesting. The world is changing so the students inside it are changing, so the way to engage students is changing. I think that is really true. In a world of television and computers students expect (or at least like to be) continually entertained and engaged. Students everywhere are saying “Engage me or enrage me.”



Meera Parbhakar

[10 points] I’m sort of torn after watching the slideshow. I also feel sort of motion sick, but that is beside the point. At first I was really excited about Pensky’s idea, but I think that that was just because he himself seemed so excited about it (he uses a lot of exclamation points). I do think that incorporating technology into the curriculum could be extremely beneficial. As I discussed in one of my personal blogs, I think tools such as blogging could provide students with the opportunity to open up more than some of them might in the classroom. However, I also feel like some of the younger members of our society who have been brought up on television and internet games have a very, very short attention span. I do not think that this should be encouraged even more than it already is by making children play games in their free time.

I think that as old fashioned as it may sound, it is important to learn to do things that might not necessarily be fun and exhilarating. Not everything in life is fun and exhilarating and if people are not taught as children to be able to handle such situations, what will they do? Pensky is completely correct when he says that engagement= passion and motivation, but using games to spark passion within kids would mean making all passion that they may have completely extrinsic.

Furthermore, I can’t help but feel like being cooped up in your home playing games for homework instead of going out and experiencing the world as it really is, really can’t be a good thing. I suppose life can be simulated online, but only to a certain degree. You can’t succeed in life at anything if you cannot communicate and do not understand how people think.

Pensky is right in saying that teachers need to evolve in order to better suit the kids of this generation, but having students play games would definitely be taking away many of the most important elements of an education.

William Simiadi

[10 points] After going through Marc Pensky's presentation titled "Engage Me or Enrage Me" for the first time I’m a little bit confused with his main arguments. Then I began to skim through the slides for the second time and I think that I get what his main argument is.
I think that his main argument is that “computer games and video games are preparing your kids for 21st century success”. He also said that “IT power is doubling every year” and this suggests that in the 21st century we will depend much on IT to solve our problems. I agree with that. As we can see, technology has become part of our lives and it is obvious to me that in the near future technology will be extremely important to our life.
He also said that the only one who will survive is the students as they used to using technology and it is the elder jobs to prepare the students. He said “understanding that learning can’t be push , it has to be pull”. This kind of makes sense to me as to learn something you have to have passion and motivation. You can’t force someone to study right?! Well, technically you can, but the outcome will be different for someone who has passion and someone who is force to learn something.
There are some points made by Marc Pensky that I disagree. He said that “today’s kids go online” and are engaged with technology. I don’t think that is the case is all part of the world. There are some poor countries whose children do not even go to school. They are so poor that has not engaged to the amazing technology invented. So I don’ think that by having a discussion that is related to technology will benefit all students as not all students has access to technology.
Marc Pensky also noted that today’s students are in “engage me or enrage me” attitude. This is not entirely true as he is making a generalization about all students. It is true that some students are in that attitude but not all students are like that. I think that the main problem in Marc Pensky’s presentation is he is making too much generalization.
Now I want to comment on his main argument which is saying that games are an engaging educational systems. In my opinion, it is true that some games teach children something. Like “Age of Empire”, it teaches children some history. But games like “Sims City” does not really portrays how the real life works. As a matter of fact, none of the games do. I think that games at some extent is good for children as it teaches some important facts and it force children to think creatively, but I don’t think that the idea of games to be the next education tools is the best way to improve educational system for students. This is because not all the children have access to games or other advance technology and also games will never portrays real life situation.

Ronald Tan Kiem Seng

[10 points] I think Marc Pensky’s presentation is intriguing because he is talking about the different way teachers should approach education. For example, he mentions that games can be used for effective learning because “Games produce learning with engagement”. In my experience, I have actually felt that playing games help me to learn something. A few years ago, I played Final Fantasy 7. I got stuck several times when playing the game and that was when I started to use the internet to look for guides for the game. Doing that, it doesn’t only help me to beat the game but I learned a few things too. First, I learned to use search engine to search for information. It also helped me to learn English by reading the guides that were written in English (English wasn’t my first language and I was still learning beginner English at that time). I didn’t understand completely what was written on the guides since my mastery of English was still poor but I tried to follow whatever instructions I can understand and tried to figure out the rest. When I finally figured out the parts that I didn’t understand through trial and error when playing the game, I can deduce what the guide is actually trying to say and learn some new vocabulary. I didn’t realize that it helped me to learn English at that time; I just wanted to beat the game.

I think the engagement that the games can provide is useful for providing motivation because when we play games, we want to continue playing(engagement) because of the thought of “leveling up” or reaching the next stage and those provides motivation. Pensky says that, “Content won’t help students to continue to learn, but engagement will”. I definitely agree with this because I think engagement provides motivation and motivation is what keeps us going on almost everything we do. For example, studying something that is interesting will keep students engaged and it will motivate them to ask questions or maybe find out more information about the subject through own research and this will be beneficial to learning.

However, he seems to be placing to much emphasize on using technology for education. For example, he mentions that,” We can use cell phones for almost anything in education”. I’m sure that cell phones that powerful will cost quite a bit and so not everyone will have an easy access on it so it will discriminate those who are from the low-income groups. Furthermore, the use of too much technology will make us too dependent on it. And I think spending too much time learning using computers will be harmful too. School is not just about studying but it is also about interactions with other people. Face-to-face interactions will be irreplaceable with interactions using instant messaging, chatting, or email.

I agree that teachers need to adapt to the need to incorporate technology for education but it needs to be used moderately.

HOKIANU

[10 points] Pensky is right about that “technology will be 1 billion times more powerful than today.” The world is changing; almost everything from human works can be done by the computer; internet, cellphones, technology is improving as time goes by. People are inventing new tools, new equipments, and all kinds of programs to make works faster and easier. I agree that “students are not just using technology differently today, but are approaching their life and their daily activities differently because of the technology.” However, there are not all people who can afford to buy equipments like computers and the use of internet. And not all people who can afford them are using them. People prefer going out, not spending all the time at home, going online and playing games.

“Learning feels like play when you have engagement-motivation, passion.” It is true when you have the motivation and passion toward a subject, you do not feel bored about it. So I agree with Pensky’s theory that if we have to learn, we need to engage in the subject. How can we learn something without the passion in it? “Without motivation, there is no learning.” We can learn without motivation, but we do not truly learn and understand the subject; we do not enjoy when we learn if there is no motivation. Another thing is engagement is not equal to the invention of games. Pensky says that games are invented to students in the 21st century as a tool to teach them and to let students to learn. I do not quite agree with Pensky’s theory. First of all, games are not all we need in our lives. As a student, I do not play games; not even one game. So, do games teach me anything? Or what I’ve learned are from teachers and books? I do not agree with what Pensky says about games are the tools to teach us. I bet not every students like to play games. Besides, not every games are educational. Some games like war, building empire; these games sometimes can help students to think. However, sometimes these games are violent. What are the obstacles from students studying? Those are games. Parents always avoid their children playing games because most of the students spend more time on games rather on the books. It does not mean that engagement is more important then content and I think they weigh the same. It is because what we learn are from the content. Therefore, games cannot substitute the way of teaching, they can only sometimes be an entertainment and supplement.

If games are designed to teach students, why do need teachers? Teachers are the ones to teach us and to let us learn. I do not agree that “games product learning with engagement.” There are incidents that many students engage in games and neglect schoolworks. These are the bad effects of games. It may be true that students can get something educational when they play games, but they are not all students have to learn.

Andry Jong

[10 points] Looking at the first 10 slides of Marc Prensky's, I thought they were going to be the most boring slides I have ever seen in my life! I was wrong; the slides were actually engaged me instead of enraged me (using the terms that he used).
From time to time, in his slides, Prensky says that the problem of the 21st century is "change." I think it is more than true. Right now, everything changes every year: cell phones always have new models every year, with different features (more advance ones); cars, computers, etc. Humans are also changing; we are changing without realizing it. Our living style is so much different from the living style of the people in the 80's, or even 90's. We are far more dependent on technology than those people back then.
Prensky's idea of how "learning CAN’T BE PUSH/ It has to be PULL!" is especially interesting for me. I always remember my father used to say that learning is like fishing; if you go at the right place and at the right time, you can get something big, just by using something small. I think it supports Prensky's idea that if teachers can teach the students with the right method and can give motivation and passion for them, it is not going to be hard for them to teach any subjects to the students.
"much of our education is SO BORING..."
I cannot say how much I can relate to this idea of Prensky's. There are always times in my life where I can see, if it is not myself, somebody is falling asleep in the classrooms because the lessons are too boring. Regardless of what type of class it is (lecture or seminar), there are always people that dominate the talking in classes. Some people, such as myself, do not feel engaged in those classes. Hence, it is hard for people like me to get along with the lessons. Hence, engagement is a very important aspect in the classrooms.
I found almost all of Prensky's idea to be true, but form time to time, his idea only true if we apply those theories in the United States. It is true that people in the United States often use Instant Messenger (IM), and cell phone to communicate instead of having a face to face communication. However, there are countries where cell phones and internet connections are still not as good as it is in the United States. Hence, the "e-Life" theory that Prensky has is no longer relevant for everybody in the world.
It is very interesting how Prensky thinks that teachers should make education "fun" in order to engage the students. However, his theory of including video games and interent access (such as blogs) in classrooms is not really manageable right now for the whole world for the same reason above: not the whole world is ready for such advancement in technology yet.
I, for one, am a very big fan of video games and think that video games are effective media to learn. I would be very happy if classrooms start to change their system to be more like video games, or even include video games as part of their curriculum. However, I think the world is not ready for it yet. It will, but not yet.
-Loire-

valentino lin

[10 points] Marc Pensky’s power point slides are highly eye-catchy and informative. It truly reflects the way education is evolving these days. Also, the highlights throughout the slides emphasize the main points, catching the audience’s attention. At the same time, the use of basic colors provides clarity and reduces confusion when view the slides. I like the term learning that he uses. It connects him and me on our perspectives on how we view education; learning rather than studying.

Pensky stated that “for today’s students to learn, engagement is more important than content”. Students participate more in class these days. They question the theory and provide answers to professors’ questions. They do not just sit in class and absorb everything that the professors teach. They are thinking actively and seeking the engagement. Engagement is commonly experienced in the United States education system as compared to Asian countries. For instance when I was still in high school in Singapore, little emphasis is placed on engagement. Teaching professionals were traditional. They only talk in class, providing information to the students. However, this trend is changing. Participation is strongly encouraged. More group work and project are involved in the students academic. With more participation, I experienced an improvement in my academic results. This became obvious when I begun pursuing my education in the states, which education system were different from Singapore. The professors encouraged engagement by asking questions to the class or individual students, commend the students when they ask questions or answer correctly. The involvement from the professors crafted an atmosphere that encouraged participation.

The other quote that struck me was “if a learning is motivated, there’s no stopping him/her.” How much more true can this statement be? We all need motivation to perform tasks. We need motivation to learn. During my first quarter, one of the courses I took was Financial Accounting. As it was closely related to my business major, I could see the connection that I need to take this class seriously. At the same time, the professor displayed clarity and inflated humor in his teaching. These factors were my motivation. I enjoyed that class so much. I was surprised that I could remember everything that he taught so clearly when a fellow student seeked advice for some accounting homework a few weeks ago. That motivation enriched my learning to a higher level.

The next quote is “today’s younger learners are not the ones our systems (and teachers) were designed and trained to teach”. This fascinated me so much. It made me wonder how the education systems would be like in future if the education world is evolving so fast that teaching professional could not catch up with the way it is evolving. Will the gap stretch even further? If the gap widens, how will teachers and students connect to each other? I believe it would take serious commitment from both sides to reach a compromise. For instance, during the first day of class, the professor could ask what the students expect of him. Then tell what he expects out of the students. I believe this would create a connection between the professor and students.

For everything that we do, motivation is the leading factor that provides us with the energy to carry on with tasks. Pensky’s slides reflected the motivation that I had when I first came to Foothill. Through his slides, I recalled my motivation and re-energized myself, feeling once again refresh and motivated.

Michelle Grannum

[10 points] My immediate reaction after reading Marc Prensky’s presentation was to wonder which gaming company he works for, because this is terrific advertising! Maybe I am being too cynical but the gist of the whole presentation was to use video & computers to educate students. The idea is genius & gaming companies will profit if they can convince parents & teachers to embrace gaming as a teaching tool. There have been a lot of studies done and articles published about the negative effects of video games on people. While I don’t believe everything I hear or read, as “research studies” are usually sponsored by somebody with an agenda, I find it hard to believe that all those studies were completely wrong. I know too many people who spend hours and hours in front of the TV or computer playing games, not getting outdoors or doing any exercise. Obesity has become a very real problem in America and I think encouraging students to spend even more time sitting in front of a screen than they do now is not a good idea.

I am not saying that I completely disagree with Prensky that students can learn valuable skills from various games. He suggests various games for different skills and subjects, such as learning history by playing the game “civilization.” I do not believe that video games can replace all other more traditional teaching tools. As a student, I would not want the classroom dominated by video games. I enjoy lectures when the teacher is knowledgeable & passionate about a topic, especially when they are able to bring a humorous element into the classroom. I also really enjoy reading books for school and pleasure, and am sure that I am not the only one. I spend a good deal of time on the internet but I find that staring at the screen for long periods of time makes my eyes hurt.

I completely agree with Prensky when he says that “…learning can’t be push, it has to be pull.” This applies to all kinds of learning and teachers have been trying to think up ways to get students excited about school for a really long time, but I don’t think gaming is the only answer. It may be part of the solution to engaging some students.

The point Prensky makes about change being exponential is a valid one but I do think it is important to remember the change we have experienced over the past century. Think of the invention of the car and how that has evolved, or the industrial revolution. Even since our parents were young the internet was invented, which has really changed the way the world works. Change is inevitable and very real part of life and I think humanity has coped just fine until now. Prensky makes a really big deal about the exponential change which today’s youth needs to be prepared for but I don’t think the issue is as urgent as he makes it out to be.

Judy Chen

[10 points] I actually think this site has many pages where it was just NOTHING. Pensky wastes so many slides just by writing one phrase, or something not even important enough to make it so big to take up a whole page. I was kind of going through it just passing the pages up, and not really have to read each slide because there were barely any words on it. I don’t know why I don’t really like that. I rather him have a page filled with a decent amount of work I can read. I’m sure he’s trying to create some kind of excitement or something, but just doesn’t work for me. Towards the end, I was getting so irritated with his non-slides; I just wanted to read something of significance.

On the other hand, I don’t agree with him when he said that students “want games NOT because they are games, but because they’re the most engaging intellectual thing they have.” I believe most kids really do play games just to play them. Yes, they are appealing, but I highly doubt they’re the MOST engaging INTELLECTUAL thing they have. If so, if some kid plays a driving game, are they learning how to drive? If they play a shooting game, do they want to be a criminal? It’s all bogus. I believe the quote he got from the 10 year old Tyler, was just a point of view from one child. He really can’t base a general idea off just that kid. I think what Pensky means is the media will help kids familiarize themselves with the real world. It WILL help them grow and learn, but they don’t rely on just that. For example, I don’t play games at all, so does that mean I don’t have anything “engaging intellectual” thing going on in my life? Absolutely not right? I think he puts way too much emphasize on how much games interact with children’s lives, and I don’t believe games can do so much.

Pensky actually began his slides in “Engage me or Enrage me” with emphasis on what teachers should do; which is to “help students define problems.” (I do agree with that point). However, if that is true, I don’t think he should emphasize so much later on, on how much games will be the main influence to kids. If teachers keep on doing what they’re suppose to do, kids can easily learn through them instead of turning to games. It’s much better for kids to interact and learn from another person, rather than a computer or video game. Games aren’t responsive, and to me, can’t really teach a child anything to the extent a human can. When a child is growing and at a period of time where he sulks in a lot of information, they definitely shouldn’t be learning through games! His insights just seem contradicting to me. I don’t believe games will become the tool to kids’ success of the future. To me, he seems to blow the whole thing out of proportion.

Ping Tong Lo

[10 points] Pensky’s presentation is a masterpiece and is definitely an art work which tells the current educational methods and problems. People spent a lot of time evaluating which teaching method is preferable to students and which makes them learn best. Eventually, Pensky has made a convincing argument about games to help students to learn.
In the middle of the slides, Pensky has quoted James Paul Gee’s words, “Without motivation there is no learning”. According to Pensky’s words, motivation comes from engagement. It is very true that motivation comes from engagement and that motivation is almost the most important element to urge the students to learn. To be a student, I can definitely say that the subjects that I don’t like and do not engage in, I fail most of the time. James Paul Gee’s quote echoes with Will Wrights’ “If a learner is motivated, there is nothing to stop him or her.” This saying is extremely true to me. To be succeeding in any game or any exam, I need motivation. In my case, as soon as I have developed my penchant on economics and have motivated to read through many economists’ masterpieces and I know I am on the road to success.

Therefore, the problem that Pensky mentioned lies on how to bring motivation to the students and how to teach the students engagement. As long as they know how motivation and engagement works to lead them to success, the students are on the path if success and somehow even able to learn many things by themselves. Pensky claimed that the students themselves are already exposed to the teaching of engagement and motivation through the playing of computer games. Although the press and the publics have continually condemned how the computer games undermined the students’ learning attitude, Pensky strong believed that computer games can be the most effective tool to teach the students in this modern century.

Pensky quoted a high school students’ word, “I don’t want to study Rome in high school. Hell, I build Rome everyday in my online game.” This is a very good example to explain the possibility of how computer games could educate the students. I found this quote extremely intriguing. Students do not study Rome in school seriously, but they build Rome everyday in computer games. How ironic it is! This is the matter of engagement. School can not arouse students’ interest in the Rome history, but computer games can. Literally, we can say that the school curriculum is just too boring to attract students. Therefore, Pensky tried to urge teachers to make full use of the technology to make learning the best experience to their students.

Anyway, I highly appreciate Pensky’s perspective on education. His views are really intriguing and constructive. In different culture and century, people have different exposure on different newly invented stuffs, and they adapt it and have made full use of it to incorporate it into the education system. Nothing invented is more powerful than computer and internet to help people to learn, the database and interaction opportunities are too large that people can learn very well through the system. The problem is, how do we make use of it and to learn the best of out it.

Michelle Ho Pui Man

[10 points] Marc Pensky’s ideas and argument are very innovative and creative for me. As a student, people usually tell me that it is my responsibility to take good care of my study and that I need to be self-motivated towards learning. This is the first time that I got to know the idea that students are not passionate for learning because the education is too boring for them. Therefore, in his presentation, Pensky advocates changes in current education style to fit the learning style of current students who are very different from those in the past owing to the speedy advancement in technologies. The evolvement of internet has changed our life significantly. Our world has become a digital world. A lot of activities which used to be time-consuming can be done fast online now. Instead of send letters and fax, people can now communicate and chat with each other by using email or IM. They can read books, do shopping, and find any kinds of information by using the internet. People are now spending much more time on browsing websites than watching TV. Teachers need to understand and deal with this change. With such an enormous IT power, students of the 21st century need something different in order to succeed and thus education needs some changes modifications.

Instead of dissuading students from video games and chatting online, Pensky urges teachers to incorporate teaching into these favorite activities of the students. He points out that “Learning can’t be push. It has to be pull!” This means that teachers have to make students feel engaged in study because motivation and passion come with engagement. Engagement is more important than content because it is what propel the students to learn. If students are engaged in their study, they will be motivated and passionate about it. Pensky suggests that students are willing to devote so much time to playing games because it is something fun. He points out that students nowadays want to be engaged in what they are learning but our current is too boring for them. Young learners want things to be fun. Hence, teachers should try to incorporate learning into games which are something fun for current students. I was kind of surprised to see that there are so many games available for educational purposes. Games are captivating because they have the elements that get the players’ engagement. The process of going up the levels can give the players a sense of accomplishment. I can really understand why students cannot stop once they start playing a game because they would like to continue to go up the levels until they conquer the final stage. This clear goal makes them wants to continue playing the game. I am not that much a lover for video and computer games, but I have played the game “Tying of the dead” among the examples of games cited in the presentation. Typing became much more fun because the game filled me with excitement of escaping from the vampires. It is really much more interesting than just practising typing with a piece of article in front of you and typing out exactly the same stuff.
Therefore, education needs to be conducted in a different way in order to get students engaged in learning. It should be designed in a similar way as games and based on internet to adapt to the learning style current students.

I really agree to the quote that “content won’t help students continue to learn, but engagement will!” It is useless to have excellent content if the students don’t have the heart to learn it. I have always believed that one cannot learn unless he or she has the motivation and passion. I have experienced the power of engagement once when I was in high school. I got so involved in do an economic project that I devoted virtually all my time doing it, sacrificing all my leisure time which I would normally spent on playing around rather than having anything to so with school work. Once you don’t have the heart to learning, you won’t be able to learn something successfully no matter how hard the teacher or others push you. It’s really true that “Learning can’t be push. It has to be pull!”

Cassie D-A

[10 points] Just for an example of a digital native’s learning, I did enjoy reading Marc Prensky’s slides but I definitely would have enjoyed listening to him on say a podcast or watching a video of him at the same time as reading the slides.

Prensky talks (well I can imagine him talking with the slides) pretty early on in his slides about what pre-21st century learning is and what 21st century learning is and how both kinds of learning are very different. Before the 21st century people solved problems with the tools they already had. Now, in the 21st century, people are inventing new tools to solve problems! I have always wanted to invent new ways to solve the problems I have. Like I want to invent a NEW kind of ePortfolio instead of using any of the existing systems. And I want to find a new and better way to write my to do lists instead of using just a white board.

Another interesting idea that Prensky brings up is “the real keys to 21st century training.” The first key is: “understanding and dealing with change.” I do believe that teachers have to understand and deal with change. I think that this is not just a change in the student body as a whole now in the 21st century but this change can also be seen between individual students; learning needs to be personalized and “adapted to them [the students].” Teachers need to be aware that every student learns differently and not everyone will understand a concept if it is taught in only one way.

The second key is that teachers need to have the “understanding that learning can’t be push, it has to be pull. People have to WANT to do it.” I completely agree that the only way students can learn is if they have some kind of motivation and they really WANT to learn. Prensky also brings up that “learning feels like play when you have engagement [which] = motivation, passion.” Learning really does feel like play when I’m motivated.

I see eye to eye with most everything Prensky says in his presentation except that “for today’s students to learn, engagement is more important than content.” I think to get students to start learning and to get the energy and motivation to want to continue to learn, engagement in important. But to fulfill the requirements of a class, an assignment, or a project, there needs to be some content; the material can’t just be all cool audio clips and Flash games. Another major point Prensky brings up in his presentation that I don’t fully agree with is his whole part about games and how this is the next big thing in education. I think there should be more interactive parts of schooling and a great example is gaming. However, this is only one way of interaction and using technology. Prensky should have been clearer in his slides about gaming being only one way of many ways of bringing technology and engagement into classrooms.

I’m not sure, but I think Prensky might have coined the terms “digital immigrants” and “digital natives” and he brings the terms into his presentation very well. Prensky shows how teachers are digital immigrants and students are digital natives. Teachers are used to “presentations, linear stories, one thing at a time, one size fits all.” Students, on the other hand, “prefer gameplay, random access and branching options, multiple data streams, adapted to them.” Earlier, Prensky brings up the point that 50% of people in the world are under 25 years old and he then asks “[w]hat percentage of our teachers are under 25?” and “[w]hat percentage of the people in this room are under 25?” Prensky doesn’t even need to answer these two questions, we all know that not many teachers are under 25 and not many are digital natives. Teachers are having to change, adapt their skills, and learn many new things to try and keep up with what students know about technology. I know that Prensky wants to see more younger digital native teachers, but is that really going to happen? Because aren’t usually teachers older (well in high school) than their students? So then won’t teachers always be behind in knowing about the technology that their students are using?

In 8th grade I had a teacher who was around 23 years old. She taught (well I don’t know how much I learned) Spanish. My school was having a really hard time finding a good Spanish teacher so I guess they were just desperate for someone. The only thing I vividly remember from that class was that my teacher would always sit at her desk and IM her friends and check her Yahoo email. My point is that maybe we don’t want teachers to be using technology as much as students because then teachers AND students will be ignoring each other! No, I know I’m over-exaggerating since this was only one teacher and what I learned (well, what I didn’t learn) wasn’t because of the teacher’s age, but her nonexistent teaching skills.

After reading and really thinking about Prensky’s presentation, I think that he has some great ideas that could remarkably change how students learn and how many more students could be engaged and motivated. I believe that the only way to get all students motivated is to bring what they do outside of class INSIDE the classroom.

Avinash Nayak

[10 points] Tools that we will be using in a couple of years are going to be a GREAT advantage to us and are going to have a large impact in our lives. There will be many great advantages that we must make use of. It’s great to see how teachers can really teach us, the students, about technology. It’s true even today; we see it in classrooms and in our everyday lives. I’m talking Physics 4A this quarter and one of the requirements for the class is to get a “clicker” which sends frequencies to the professor’s computer and interprets it as our answer. I think it’s great that we can use technology like this in classrooms but we have to think about the cost of these equipments. I had to pay $30 for the clicker. I admit that it’s a bit too much (today), but as pensky informs us, we are going to be using a lot more powerful technology. It’s going to be great that we will be the ones using this. I think that to input technology even if it’s to a small level, the teachers will be introducing new things to students. I never believed before that we could collaborate and work with our professors but after pensky’s presentation I am convinced that students and teachers have to collaborate to learn in an effective way! This type of learning is what really teaches students. It’s sad to state the fact that we are addicted to television (one of the many reasons I don’t own a TV!) and video games. It’s true that we read a lot less because of these distractions but in today’s society you are not motivated to read books and learn from them. Why do so when the whole world is exposed to you on the internet!? Need to research? Wiki it! Need to read a book? Google Print it! Want to get people’s opinions on a subject? BLOG it! It’s getting clearer to me that books are NOT AS essential when compared to three or four years ago. It’s surprising to see that video games can really be an educational tool. I think that this would be a bad idea because students like me would be distracted and uninterested even if the teacher tried to make it “fun”! I agree that it WILL help if you are teaching English or Math to small kids (like Tyler, age 10) the fact remains that people will learn more if taught in more appealing ways. This not to say that, the only approach to learning effectively is by gaming, there are many other doors that teachers and students can open. The internet will definitely benefit the education system if used appropriately.

The presentation by pensky has really opened my eyes. It has taught me that people can learn in many ways that will eventually have a huge impact on our futures. It’s almost a fact that we will be using technology at our work places when we graduate so I think this is a great opportunity for both the students and teachers to experience the classroom in a different-but-same environment!

Stephanie Wijaya

[10 points] What strikes me most out of this presentation is the quote, “When you talk to teachers you definitely have to slow down a bit”. Sometimes, I do feel that some teachers are technologically behind us, and they have different mindsets from us. So even if we seem to be speaking the same language, we in fact do not.

I love the way Pesky puts it, “Engage or Enrage”. What the younger generation needs is a sense of engagement. We prefer to have many problems thrown at one time, instead of having to learn step by step. And video games actually require us to solve more than just one problem and make multi decisions at one time.

Although I think the idea of incorporating gaming methods into school subjects will assist our learning, I think Pensky might be too extreme in his presentation. I think I wouldn’t want to spend time thinking of how calculus would be like if transformed into a game. I mean the process of thinking about it is painstaking enough. I would rather go straight to learning it from the textbook.

However, I think the idea of history transformed into a computer game is great. We can learn much about history from games like Civilization. It engages the audience because history is in motion and we are involved in it. It’s different from us watching a documentary video about Hitler. The game requires us to make decision for the well-being of the people. It wants us to think. Since history is usually told plainly in textbooks, it doesn’t engage the students so much. So, I guess subjects like history and geography can be effectively made interesting to engage students when transformed into computer games because the concepts would remain longer in our minds when we can see them virtually. But as for math and science, practice is essential to familiarize ourselves with the concepts. We do need traditional way of studying like solving homework problems as well as laboratory activities to get the essence.

Although Pensky is partially correct in saying that games are not as bad as we thought they are, I think video games do have negative impacts on children. What about games that involve violence? Aren’t they teaching these children morally wrong mindsets of killing and shooting to solve conflicts? Moreover, video games are addictive. They take away the quality time that would otherwise be spent with their family and friends. And too much time spent on video games would in fact change one’s lifestyle. We often hear of gamers who do not even have time to clean up their rooms or cook, or even dispose their garbage because they can’t spend a single second away from their computer screens. And intuitively, we know that this is not the desired lifestyle for the children of tomorrow. What Pensky is suggesting is that we should encourage them to play more video games by having the education system suited into their kind of gamers’ lifestyle. I have to disagree with him on this one, because it is just morally wrong. It violates our space of humanity. We are human beings who create machines and we shouldn’t let technology intrude or even control our lives. Although technology may be advancing rapidly and education system has had to be modified to keep up with new breed of students, the traditional education system shouldn’t be replaced totally; Again because technology should simply serve as a catalyst to expanding our creativity - and not another Frankenstein’s creation.

Trea

[5 points. On target critique. His projections come from the famous "Moore's Law" which projects that computer memory storage capacity will double roughly every 18 months. So far -- and miraculously -- it has. But it's a geometric progression, so the numbers get really big really fast.] For me, Marc Prensky's Educause Learning Initiative presentation was a lot like bubble gum: At first, I really like it but after chewing it over for some time, it becomes stale.
If someone were to give me a piece of bubble gum while I was blindfolded, I'm sure my first reaction would be, "Wow! This stuff is exciting. What IS this? It's so sweet, it's incredible." Then, I think I would realize, "Oh, it's bubble gum. I've had this stuff before. It's pretty good in small doses but you couldn't eat it every day." Then eventually, "Oh my! It's become rather stale hasn't it and it's not very filling either. I'm still hungry." This was similar to my reaction to Prensky's 2006 presentation on Digital Game-Based Learning.
The bright, saturated colors were really appealing at first. I love saturated colors but they are always best in small doses, like a sugary treat is nice once in a while, but a person would soon tire of a diet consisting only of sugar. My eyes were pretty tired by the end of the presentation and I am sure my color theory teacher would have been quite sick by the over use of these bright colors against the black background.
I was also impressed at first by many of Prensky's arguments. They made so much sense intuitively. Of course, students should be engaged. Of course, we should use technology in the classroom. Of course, James Paul Gee is right. "Without motivation, there is no learning" (Prensky, slide 65).
However, after a closer reading, I wonder where DID he get that information about IT doubling every year (Prensky, slide 22) and why does he assume that rate will continue in the future? In slide 25, he asserts that "By the year 2040, techology will be 1 billion times more powerful than today" without the qualifier if this rate continues. Does he have a crystal ball which allows him to see the future exactly? He also mentions on slide 32 that Tool switching is instantaneous: Yahoo - Google, CD - MP3, Walkman - iPod, Email - IM. Do the folks at Yahoo know it's over for them? Is email now obsolete? Small errors like these tend to annoy me, like when bubble gum first starts to lose its sweetness.
Also, it seems to me to be the same song and dance about engaging students that is often used to play on teachers' insecurities. "If you only use X, your students will be magically engaged and on-task." Prensky has a product that he wants to sell to this market and that is how it is done. He gives us lots of catch phrases like "Today's Students are different" (slide 75) and glib statistics like 50% of today's population is under 25. However, he doesn't bother to give us concrete examples of why this product will engage the whole classroom, nor show any statistics on how students have benefited by using his products. I am worried that the infrastructure of most classrooms could not even support his product. Not many classrooms have more than one computer in them. What would the teacher do with the other students? Also, Prensky does not go into detail about exactly what learning objectives are attained by the use of his product, nor does he give us statistics to show how fast these objectives are met by a typical player. His presentation is rich with buzz words and ideas but low on substance and hard data. Like the gum, it's not very filling.

Mary Elaine Akers-Bell

[5 points. I wonder what kind of games -- online or in person -- you could play together as a creative writing club. Like the old one where some writes the first sentence of the story, then each person adds a sentence as it goes round the circle?]
Game based learning... interesting. A novel concept. And quite boring whenever I was forced to do it in the classroom, or even asked to try outside the classroom.
And for people with a mind set like that, Prensky fails, miserably.

I started out the whole slide show very cynically, for I have never been a gamer. (Could you tell?) When Prensky started with "How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids For 21st Century Success-- and How You Can Help!" I thought immediately, “does that mean, since I’m not a gamer, I won't have success?” He claims that the problem of our education is Exponential Change-- technology changing faster than it’s ever changed before. I'm skeptical. Every generation say's they're the worst, they're the last, they're changing the most. Hindsight being 50x50, I always wonder if we’ll look back and laugh at ourselves.

Perhaps I don’t have the grand vision of the future that other people do. I feel earthier than the grand flashing and neon designs that many people portray. Many of the ideas he puts on the line seem fairly ridiculous:

Like when Prensky said “email -> IM.” I still email, because I’ve IMed many people and found that there are certain levels of subtlety and formality that is missing in IM. Emails take more time, and have more content. You do not think about what you write in an IM as much, because it’s faster, and you don’t have as much time to sit back and make sure your argument is solid and well tied together, from beginning to end. I think there will always be the formality of a letter, even if it is an email, that won’t give way to IM—no matter what Prensky says.

Then he says: "Engagement is more important than content."
I hated that line. I don't like the whole sales-pitch that because we're more technological, school is boring. There were, and always will be, students who slack off. Those of us who enjoy education pay attention anyway, whether there is technology or not. Attention, at least for me, was always dependent on whether or not the CONTENT is good, and how it was delivered by the instructor—with a love for education, passion for the subject, and intense knowledge.

Engagement, he talks about. How will he engage me? Start teaching better?
No. He throws games at me.

The way he presented it sounded alienating. He seemed very repetitive, and even elementary, which does not lend me to go gently on him. Perhaps if he developed his idea in a more precise, 50-slide program, with some better editing techniques, I wouldn’t feel so harshly towards him. Currently, the whole thing reminded me of Orson Scott Card’s Ender's Game-- where they had a computer game the children logged in on their free time, and provided a mental/psychological test for the people monitoring them. Creepy, and rather as if the teachers would rather not spend time with the student. But, the idea I sense from behind his words could potentially be a good one.
Games can be used as a teaching aide, and for good teachers can be used widely. Once I got over my “I don’t like computer games” stint, he started talking about teachers collaborating, and I realized that he was aiming, in part, aiming it towards teachers who care, not teachers who are tired and can’t keep their student’s attention.

In the end, he ended on an idea I liked "[what is] missing?: Imagination!"
But, then again, I'm president of the Creative Writing Club. Anything that admits imagination makes me happy, and I was glad Pensky took a turn for the better.

Christine Ferry

[5 points. Strong critique. Although it is interesting that "simulator games" are a standard part of military and medical training, where life-and-death issues are at stake.]
After looking through the slides I would say I am enraged and not engaged by what Marc Pensky is suggesting. These slides are produced by a game designer so his view is very one sided and I don’t think being educated with video games is the way to go. Students “want to feel engaged all the time” Mr. Pensky tells us over and over again. I see it as just sitting in front of a video screen expecting to be entertained. Students expect everything to happen with a click of a mouse and when it doesn’t they lose interest. This is very sad.

“On the Internet you can play games, you can check your mail, you can talk to your friends, you can buy things, and you can look up things that you really like" says an high school student quoted by Marc Pensky. But sometimes we have to look up things, research or read things we may not really like. “Life” is going to be happening around us while according to Mr. Pensky if it’s not digital and engaging then students are just going to tune it out.

Learning isn’t always “fun”. Sometimes you need to learn the boring basics in order to reach a higher-level class in school. Rome wasn’t built in a day even if you can build it on a computer game in less than 24 hours. I don’t think we should be forcing students into instant gratification. It takes time to read a book, to learn and to build. We as a society have lost our patience when things don’t happen in a click.

Why can’t kids become engage in “make believe” games (without a computer), get lost in a book or be able to take a car ride without a movie being played. For the most part it’s unfortunately true. I see it everyday. Trying to get my daughter’s friends outside to play instead of sitting inside requires a lot of skill. Most don’t know how to play a game without the aid of something that needs batteries. I don’t think my house is a very popular destination because the computer is off limits for play dates.

I don’t’ fit into either of Marc Pensky’s groups. I am older than the “Digital Native” but younger and more tech savvy than a “Digital Immigrant”. Maybe that could be the reason I just don’t get it. Technology makes life easier in many ways, good and bad. I use it through out the day with email, schoolwork, Skype and IM. But by accepting what Pensky is saying in his slides, we will be turning our kids into glazed eyed zombies with an odd sense of entitlement. Skills take time to build. While our kids are sitting playing these games we could be teaching them the process of how to build them. While Technology has a large place in education, it is not the only way to learn.

Diana Wong

[5 points. Interesting that war games and simulations have so long been a part of military and flight and rescue response training--where life-and-death issues are involved.] I am somewhat engaged but also enraged by Pensky’s slideshow. I think that using games for educational purposes is impractical. Games are used for leisure, and you know that educational games are not going to be engaging. However, I like the idea of using technology and interactive tools to put a new spin on education. Nobody can replace the learning experience from a teacher, or a classroom, but technology can definitely fit in the picture. With laptops, we have more efficient ways of taking notes, researching information, and educating ourselves for this ever-changing technological world. Since the presentation was aimed towards people around my age, I think it had a twist of humor in it. His main argument is that “my daughter’s computer cookies know more about her than me.” Which isn’t exactly true but technology and all that relates to it is taking over our generation. His main argument is that kids are not being educated in an engaging way, and that it would be better to relate to them using their tools. He also humorously ties in teachers and how they are outdated to the learning environment. Pensky thinks that by doing educational gaming; students will be interested and will learn something.
To some degree I agree with his argument. “Sometimes when I talk to teachers I have to slow down a bit.” I don’t really have to do that at all. But there are always exceptions. Sometimes with really un-tech savvy teachers I have to explain to them the steps of emails and internet research, and that it is a valid form or educational development. Frankly, I don’t think the educational gaming will work. I have actually experienced this, sure they are fun when you are a kid, but as you grow older it just becomes stupid. You can’t actually learn anything from the game because I think that when you’re in the mindset of learning, you aren’t really paying attention to dates and facts. The example he had was some war game and how that taught kids about history. Sometimes I’ll pick up facts and bits of information because I play games, but that is if I invest hours and hours of my time into the game. Still this is not enough to compensate as a full education. The idea needs more developing but I like how he is open to technology and trying to be in sync with the younger generation. His argument is a bit weak and scattered, I couldn’t tell if he was being ridiculously sarcastic or if he was serious. I boiled it down to him being serious. I thought the quote “It’s not attention deficit- I’m just not listening” was hilarious. I can definitely relate to that, but I don’t feel like the majority of us play video games enough to feel like we can get learn something. To improve this idea, maybe at a younger age children should start adapting to technology and play educational games. When we get older, our education needs to be more serious and we should stick to traditional ideals, with new technology incorporated into them.

Cheryl Sundheim

[5 points. Interesting that you've been able to watch your son learning in this way online]
R U Engaged or Enraged, a Digital Native or Digital Immigrant

None of the above. I M unimpressed.

Before I read something, I usually like to know a little about the author. So I googled Marc Prensky before I viewed the slide show and found out he has graduate degrees from both Yale (teaching) and Harvard (MBA). So maybe my expectations were too high going in.
Some of his slides were hilarious, in particular: #7 “Don’t bother me mom, I’m learning” #26/#27 the “Our Lives” “Student Lives” graph, and #121 “It’s not attention deficit, I just not listening.” On slide #173, he suggests that students can play video games outside of class, and the teachers can use the in class time to reinforce what the students have learned from the game. If games are to be used, I think he has the idea backward! The teacher can use the class time to TEACH (using very engaging methods) and the students can play the games at home to reinforce or expand on what they learned in school.

One thing I do agree with Prensky on is that it is certainly important for students to be engaged. However, I do not agree with his statement on slide #104 “for today’s student to learn, engagement is more important that content.” And is today’s student really so different, as he claims? Each generation has new tools available to them, and becomes more advanced. I like how Louis Armstrong presents this thought in “What a Wonderful World” – “I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more, than I’ll never know.”

The fact I am not impressed with Prensky’s presentation and commentary does not mean I think there is no place for video and computer games in education. My sons have played games like “Sim City” and “Civilization” and learned things from them. The U.S. Army and Marines use video games as military training tools. I think they can be used as a tool to reinforce and support classroom teaching. Prensky says, “tool switching is instantaneous” (slide 32) with this generation, and I agree that it happens quickly.
.
If games can be used as a hook to get a student’s attention, that’s great. If they can reinforce already learned information or introduce new, that’s great too. But computer games can only give pre-programmed feedback which doesn’t comes close to the insight a teacher can provide. I think it’s clean that Prensky chose to utilize his MBA degree from Harvard over his teaching degree from Yale.

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