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October 11, 2007


Kim Pericles

Interesting post Derek - "... there does not yet appear to be any reflective writing or dialogue on the blogs yet."
This is a dilemma that I have experienced too - I tried to set questions for the kids to answer to help scaffold, but this wasn't too successful as I think the questions were a bit "closed". The kids just answered them in a sentence or two, they were just answering questions not reflecting :(

What I am beginning at the moment (its actually part of my literacy program) is looking at open ended questions, composing open ended questions and answering open-ended questions. Seems to be producing more in-depth answers - but not quite refelective yet.

Self reflecting is a skill most adult learners find difficult, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that our students find it hard as well.

But at least it shows that "....we can’t abdicate our responsibility to lead, guide and hone the skills of the digital learner just because they are good with technology..." . So I guess our place (somewhere) in the classroom - hopefully alongside our students - is still necessary :)

PS sorry for this "extended" comment :0


I'd love to hear more about your experience in developing learners ability to self-reflect on their blogs comes along....and yes, teachers are still needed! I couldn't agree more.

sharon mcquillan

Wish the transition from 'digital native' to 'inspired digital learner' for want of another term could 'just happen' but unfortunately this does not seem to be the case.
My own three children aged 6, 15 and 18 are all digital natives but the older two - even with me trying to 'guide them' towards using technology for learning are reluctant to 'spend time' on this. There are sooooo many other digital distractions at their fingertips which are to them at this point in their lives much more interesting and fun.
They have the technical knowledge and there appear to be no barriers as far as furthering their expertise in this area is concerned, but their usage???
It seems that still thousands of teachers are still struggling with the technology - (which makes me a bit angry if I'm 100% honest!) and kids are still struggling with desire to use technology for educational purpose and so therefore - yes we still and probably always will need each other!
We all just need to listen to each other more and teachers particularly need to be much more prepared to learn from and with their pupils and to use all forms of technology in classrooms to inspire and encourage today's young people.

Will this ever be the case ???

We need to shout louder!!


I saw Pensky yesterday at a conference at Western Carolina University and he was a total condescending jerk. His presentation wasn’t very good and his answers to forum questions were pat and useless. He was more of a politician than anything else. Also, he didn’t offer one new thing to an audience of over 2000 teachers taken from classrooms. He berated all of us for not using technology without acknowledging we were a rural area that had little access to technology.

As if we didn’t already know kids learn better with technology, and that kids love to work in groups, as if we aren’t already working with what we had….

Basically this guy had no idea what he was talking about. He whisked into town, got his big fat check, said lots of impractical and dumb things, and then left.


Hey Teach,
Sorry you had not so good an experience with Marc Prensky. I think that he makes a lot of very good points and we can't forgot that he has pushed the agenda for games based learning a great, great deal...more than anyone really. I do think that, as with all ideas I suppose, that questions need to be asked if people feel that things don't work for, or sit well with them. That's what I tried to do with my initial comments about the importance of teachers in the learning relationship. Was there nothing that you found of use or interest in his talk?


No, there wasn’t.

During the question and answer part of his presentation, a young lady pointed out some of the criticisms I outlined in my comments from yesterday and he dismissed her with “that’s your perspective, do you have a question.” He really didn’t care what anyone else thought.

I can also assure you that 70-80% of the 2000 people there felt just as I did, including a bus load of people from my school. He was the topic of the conversation on the 1 hour drive back through the Appalachians.

By the way, I enjoyed reading your post, and your blog is quite good.

What I am saying to you is that Pensky is kidding himself. Politicians at state and federal level aren’t going to give schools the money they need to do any of this stuff. It easier to just manipulate data and shape it to make any school look like a failure.

Thanks for the conversation.

Derek Robertson

Thanks Teach,
The drive through the Appalachinas sounds great by the way! Have you had a look at what we are trying to do in Scotland with Games based leanring? We're trying to make it happen in schools and there has been some interestinmg stuff up to now. One final thing, do you have a blog? I think I'd enjoy reading someone's 'forthright' opinions more often.

andy Black


I posted an email to a contact of mine during Marc's presentation saynig I wasnt happy with some of his argument and he came back with this article from Futurelab "The myth of the digital native" worth a read first published back in 2004 http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/publications_reports_articles/web_articles/Web_Article561


I have two blogs. One is professional and one is personal. The professional one is purely for classroom use and would not be of use for our discussion (nor would the personal one- but I am using it in this post).

I am intrigued by the use of technology and the use of computer games in the classroom, but such things are only a tool, and can be over or underused.

In the case of this fellow, what he was essentially saying was that teachers are outdated, and kids only need the technology and one another to learn. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me put it this way.

In his sneering presentation, he showed a Youtube video of two kids clowning around with a small camera in the back of a classroom while the teacher was going over advanced math. Now, the point he was trying to make, the point he was failing at making, was that teachers are out of touch and the kids were on top of the world. Obviously, the teacher was too engaged in what he was doing to catch the mischief makers. But what Pensky didn’t realize was that he had just revealed the truth: the kids SHOULD have technology in the classroom, but they should use it appropriately, which is why we need trained teachers who are given the tools by their local governments.

Pensky, I can assure you, is doing a great deal of damage to the cause he espouses. I’m telling you, I was in the crowd and know what was being said about him.


and Derek I would love to know more about your ideas in Scotland.

Leonard Low

Wow... this has been some powerful commentary. As a completely objective onlooker, I've read a huge amount of negative press for Prensky this week, after I posted my impressions of his keynote at the Handheld Learning 2007 conference (http://mlearning.edublogs.org/2007/10/29/handheld-learning-2007-keeping-up-with-change-marc-prensky/). I limited my remarks to Prensky's message being outdated; but from what others are saying, he is not only out of date, but completely out of touch.

The various comments on Prensky discredit him both personally and professionally. I will certainly have to read more widely on the (in)validity of the Digital Native concept, as well as his merit (or otherwise) as a conference guest or speaker...

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