21st Century Teaching and Learning Series: A Professional Development System to Support All High School Reform Initiatives

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21st Century Teaching and Learning Series:

A Professional Development System to Support All High School Reform Initiatives



Our society is in the midst of an unprecedented explosion in all forms of technology and
information. This rapid growth in new tech
nologies or improvements to existing technology are
in turn fostering changes in education, the workforce, job skill demand, global competition, and
life
-
long learning. We are in a knowledge
-
driven economy that demands highly effective
workers in workplace
s in which working and learning are the same activity. This opportunity
encourages us to rethink much of what we do in schools, how we learn, and how we prepare
students for a world which is difficult for us to envision.

It is critical that we acknowledge
the need to improve academic achievement and to recognize
that changing demands within an increasingly technologically sophisticated economy and global
competition compel us to do so. By the time students leave high school, they should be prepared
for citi
zenship, work and post secondary education. We can no longer continue to prepare high
school students in the traditional core academic skills alone. Preparation for the 21st Century will
require not only the traditional academic content that we measure tod
ay but also new skills and
new knowledge. Today's graduates will need 21st Century skills such as critical thinking and
problem solving. Not only will they have to master rigorous academic core content, but they will
also need to master emerging content in

global awareness, civic literacy, and financial and
economic literacy. In order to communicate this knowledge, innovate and collaborate, students
must also be able to master technology.

Good teaching has always helped to develop life skills such as adapta
bility, self
-
direction, people
skills and accountability. Teaching in the 21st Century will require even more deliberate and
intentional instruction in these areas as teachers strive to offer meaningful and relevant
educational experiences for all students
.

Envision high school classrooms where subjects come alive as students take on the roles of
historians, scientists, mathematicians, and authors to investigate critical questions, weigh
different points of view in light of discoveries, form positions, and
present and defend their work
while collaborating with peers. Technology is integrated seamlessly in the learning process for
research, connecting with experts in the field, career exploration, collaborating with others, and
publishing completed works. The

teacher acts as a facilitator of learning leading students to
higher levels of thinking and creativity while releasing more responsibility to students by using
appropriate protocols for classroom management. Instruction is differentiated to meet the
indiv
idual needs of each student in the class.

In this environment, student engagement dramatically increases, attendance improves and
dropout rates decrease. As students feel more engaged and intellectually stimulated, they exhibit
more ownership for their lea
rning and perform higher academically.

2


In order for teachers to accomplish the transformation from instruction primarily delivered
through lecture and textbook to using multiple modalities in more authentic and dynamic
learning environments, they will need

a purposefully designed program of study with the
necessary implementation support system and accountability for change.

The 21st Century Teaching & Learning Series takes teachers through the pedagogical
transformation process in a program of study that b
uilds the instructional foundation for real
change in classroom practice and ensures the change is being implemented through action
research and classroom observations. The series begins with the first course that builds a
compelling case for change with t
he learners completing a thorough needs analysis and action
plan for accomplishing the change in conjunction with their principal, department, and study
group colleagues. The second through fifth courses are subject specific (i.e. there are versions for
ma
thematics, science, social studies, and language arts) and purposefully build the pedagogical
skills necessary for accomplishing lasting instructional change. They will lead to the creation of
dynamic, authentic classroom environments where students take o
n the roles of scientists,
historians, mathematicians, and writers. Teachers seamlessly incorporate inquiry, projects,
technology, and dynamic and flexible groupings into authentic teaching and learning.



The 21st Century Teaching & Learning Series Framew
ork:

Goal:

To build the capacity of Pennsylvania's high school teachers to better meet the needs of
today's students.

Series Tools



Provides strategies to integrate student use of technology.




Provides opportunities for the teacher to become a facilitator
of learning.




Provides performance
-
based assessment strategies.




Uses lesson planning tools to incorporate series content.




Incorporates student higher order thinking skills.

3





Provides opportunities for students to have authentic experiences through collab
oration
and interdisciplinary means.




Provides a principal observation tool for assessing series content implementation.




Provides strategies for communicating with stakeholders.



Program of Study

The
21st Century Teaching & Learning Series

takes teachers

through a pedagogical
transformation process in a program of study that builds the instructional foundation for real
change in classroom practice and ensures the change is being implemented through action
research and classroom observations.

This series i
s designed to be meaningful to both novice and experienced teachers and is
comprised of five courses. The courses will be available in a variety of versions including self
-
study and facilitated study groups; however, only the facilitated study group versio
ns of the
courses will be acceptable in order to fulfill the Classrooms for the Future requirement.

The series begins with the first course that builds a compelling case for change with the learners
completing a thorough needs analysis and action plan for
accomplishing the change in
conjunction with their principal, department, and study group colleagues. The second course
introduces skills for creating dynamic, authentic classroom environments where students take on
the roles of scientists, historians, mat
hematicians, and writers. The third through fifth courses
purposefully builds the pedagogical skills necessary for accomplishing lasting instructional
change including inquiry
-
based learning, project
-
based learning, and differentiated instruction
with a sp
ecial emphasis on continuing the dynamic and authentic classroom environment from
course two.

Course 1:


Teaching in the 21st Century


周e⁎ e搠景d⁃桡湧e

Course 2:


Teaching Authentic Mathematics in the 21st Century,
or

Teaching Authentic Science
in the 21st Century,
or

Teaching Authentic Social Studies in the 21st Century,
or

Teaching Authentic Language Arts in the 21st Century

4


Course 3:


Differentiated Instruction in the Mathematics Classroom,
or

Differentiated Instruction in the Social Stud
ies Classroom,
or

Differentiated Instruction in the Science Classroom,
or

Differentiated Instruction in the Language Arts Classroom

Course 4:


Authentic Inquiry
-
Based Learning in the Mathematics Classroom,
or

Authentic Inquiry
-
Based Learning in the So
cial Studies Classroom,
or

Authentic Inquiry
-
Based Learning in the Science Classroom,
or

Authentic Inquiry
-
Based Learning in the Language Arts Classroom

Course 5:


Authentic Project
-
Based Learning in the Mathematics Classroom,
or

Authentic Project
-
Bas
ed Learning in the Social Studies Classroom,
or

Authentic Project
-
Based Learning in the Science Classroom,
or

Authentic Project
-
Based Learning in the Language Arts Classroom



21st Century Teaching and Learning Series Goals

The goal of the series is to t
ransform high school instruction from the 20th Century to 21st
Century teaching and learning.

Change From

Description

Change To

Description

Teacher
Centered

Teachers spend time
disseminating
information to
students through
direct instruction

Student Cente
red

Teachers act as facilitators,
coaching students as they work
on authentic projects

Content
Coverage

Teachers cover
content through
direct instruction and
move at a pace to
ensure that all
material is presented,
whether it is learned
or not.

Learning a
nd
Doing

Teachers design projects to
address essential academic
standards.


Student performance
on projects demonstrates
proficiency or deficiency with
respect to standards.


Intervention is done for
students not meeting standards.

Memorizing
information

Teachers spend most
time involved in
direct instruction,
with assessment
Using
information

Teachers have students use
information to develop
authentic projects where
mastery of informati
on is
5


occurring as a test at
the end where recall
of information is
tested.

demonstrated in the way
information is used in the
project.

Lecturer

Teachers spend most
of their time involved
in “stand and
deliver”.


Knowledge
comes from the
teacher.

Facilitator

The teacher provides projects
that involve students doing
research

and assimilating the
knowledge themselves.


Teachers act as coaches and
provide support as need by
students.


They take on the role
of project manager.

Whole Group
Configuration

All students receive
the same instruction.


One size fits all.

Flexible
Grou
ping
Configuration
Based on
Individual
Student Needs

Teachers group students based
on needs.


Instruction seldom is
to the whole group.


Rather,
instruction occurs with
individuals, pairs, or small
groups as needed.

Single
Instructional
and Learning
Modal
ity



Multiple
Instructional and
Learning
Modalities to
Include All
Students



Memorization
and Recall

Tests are the primary
means of assessment
and focus on recall
and lower level
thinking.

Higher Order
Thinking Skills

Teachers assign projects to the
cla
ss that requires higher order
thinking (synthesis, analysis,
application, and evaluation).

Single
Discipline

The class is
conducted in an
isolated manner
without connections
to other classes or
subjects.

Interdisciplinary

Teachers have students
complete p
rojects that are
designed to use information and
skills that cut across other
subject areas.


Some projects
and assignments may be done
collaboratively between two or
more classes (e.g., history,
science, and language arts


a
6


study of what really might ha
ve
happened at the Little Big
Horn)

Isolated

Students are
encouraged to work
individually

Collaborative

Teachers allow students to
work collaboratively on
projects and network with
others in the class, as well as
experts outside of school.

Quiz and Test
Assessments

Students are assessed
through tests only.

Performance
-
Based
Assessments

Teachers utilize projects as well
as other products and
performances as assessments to
determine student achievement
and needs.


Assessments are
tailored to the talents/nee
ds of
the students.

Textbook
Dependent

The teacher may
follow the textbook
chapter by chapter,
page by page.


The
text book is the major
source of
information.

Multiple Sources
of Information
Including
Technology

Teachers use the textbook as
just another
resource, which is
used in conjunction with the
internet, journals, interviews of
experts, etc.

Technology as
a luxury

The teacher is the
main user of
technology, primarily
as a means of
presenting
information.

Technology fully
integrated into the
classro
om

Teachers have students
regularly use technology to find
information,
network/communicate with
each other and experts, and to
produce and present their
projects, assignments, and
performances.

Teachers
teaching to the
one learning
style

Teachers teach t
o one
learning style
(nearly) all the time
(e.g., always talking
only, or always
giving notes on the
board only).


Teachers also expect
Teacher
s
addressing the
learning styles of
all learners

Teachers use different means of
presenting information.
Methods are based on the
preferences of individual
students or groups.


Students
are able to convey information
to the teacher via their projects/
perf
ormances/ assignments in a
7


student submissions
to always be the
same most or all of
the time (e.g., all
work is submitted in
written form).

variety of modalities, based on
their preferences (written,
spoken, music, acted out, etc.).

Learning
content

The focus is on
covering content

Learner
-
Directed
Learning

Through projects, teachers have
students learn how to ask t
he
right questions, do an
appropriate investigation, get
answers, and use the
information so they can
continue to learn all their lives.

Learning
isolated skills
and factoids

Facts and skills are
learned out of context
and for their own
sakes.

Using a var
iety of
types of
information to
complete
authentic projects

Teachers devise projects that
help students learn information
and skills through using them in
situations similar to the way
they would in real life.

Acting purely
as a student

Students are invol
ved
in strictly academic
endeavors (e.g., note
taking, listening to
lectures).

Students acting as
a worker in the
discipline

Teachers set up student
assignments, projects, and
performances to allow students
to operate the way a person
would working in the
field in
the real world (as a scientist,
writer, mathematician, etc).

Teaching in
isolation

Closing the door and
working alone with
no contact or help
from outside the
classroom

Teaching in
collaboration

Teachers take part in co
-

and
team teaching, as wel
l as
working collaboratively with
department members to
improve learning for students

Teaching in
such a way as
to disengage
students.

Students become
bored because school
is not engaging and
they feel they have to
power down.

Engaging the 21st
Century st
udent

Teachers consider utilize the
unique characteristics of the
21st Century brain and the
habits of the 21st Century
digital native to provide
engaging and effective
instruction.

8


Teaching
content

Teachers focus on
subject matter alone.

Teaching to
prep
are students
for the 21st
Century
workplace.

Teachers incorporate elements
of the 21st Century workplace
into the classroom to prepare
the student with 21st Century
workplace experiences and
skills.


Teachers alone
educate the
student


Teachers have the
p
rimary
responsibility for
educating the student
and focus most if not
all of the load


Shared
responsibility for
educating the
student


Teachers communicate with all
stakeholders (administrators,
school board members, parents,
students) and enlist the help

and
inputs of all to effectively
educate students.

“Sit and get”
professional
development

Teachers take part
and accept passive
and ineffective
professional
development

21st Century
professional
development and
learning
communities

Teachers take an activ
e part in
planning and participating in
professional development that
regularly utilize learning
communities to improve
student learning and
achievement.

Teacher looks
for one answer
for students

Teachers pose low
-
level questions that
require recall
answe
rs.


Emphasis
placed on correct
answer.

Teacher looks for
multiple answers
from students.

Teachers pose questions that
require high level thinking with
multiple solutions.


Emphasis
placed on the types of
questions.

Teachers
reflect on
student results.

Te
achers analyze
assessment scores for
the sake of progress
reporting progress.

Students reflect
on student results
with teachers.

Teachers with students analyze
assessment scores for the
purpose of identifying
strengthens and weakness to
prescribe instructi
on and
academic supports.

© 2007 Learning Sciences International.

All Rights Reserved.



9






Rubric for Sync Point Discussions



Performance Levels

Advanced


Proficient


Emerging


Novice


Frequency
of Postings

Responds to the
initial posting by
facilit
ator and posts
multiple replies to
other group
members’ postings

Responds to the
topic posted by
facilitator and posts
1 reply to other
group members’
postings

Responds to the topic
posted by facilitator or
posts multiple replies to
other group members’
po
stings

No postings

Timeliness
of Postings

Response to initial
posting and multiple
replies to other
members’ postings
are done within
specified time period

Response to initial
posting and reply to
other member’s
postings are done
within specified
time per
iod

Response to initial
posting or reply to other
member’s postings are
done within specified
time period

Postings are
not done
during
specified
time periods

Content of
Postings

Responses are
insightful,
demonstrate a strong
understanding of
course concep
ts and
definite application
to practice

Responses
demonstrate a clear
understanding of
course concepts and
some application to
practice

Responses relate to
course concepts, but no
elaboration. Evidence
of possible
misunderstandings

Responses
are not
relate
d to
course
concepts or
no posting

© 2007 Learning Sciences International.

All Rights Reserved.




10


Teaching in the 21st Century


The Need for Change

Unit 1 Activity Time Breakdown


Course Objectives

As a result of this course, you will be able to:

1.

identi
fy the needs and preferences of the 21st century learners

2.

recognize the gap that exists between current instructional practices and the skill set
needed by students for success in the 21st century workplace

3.

understand the role collegial collaboration plays

in establishing a 21st century classroom

4.

establish more effective communication among stakeholders

*For each activity/experience the relevant objectives are identified in the third column of the
chart.

Unit 1: Introduction

Title

Estimated Time

Objective
s
Identified

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Unit Time Total

70 minutes

All versions

© Copyright 2007 Learning Sciences International.

All Rights Reserved.







11


Rubric for Unit #2 Essay Question

Score point

67 Points

(Advanced)

57 Points

(Proficient)

45 Points

(Emerg
ing)

34 Points

(Novice)

Summary and
rationale behind
the need for
change in the
21st Century

Summarizes all of
the major reasons
change is
necessary and
provides many
pieces of authentic
and appropriate
evidence from their
personal
experience.

Summarizes
most
of the major
reasons change is
necessary and
provides a few
pieces of authentic
and appropriate
evidence from
their personal
experience.

Summarizes some
of the major
reasons change is
necessary and
provides very few
pieces of authentic
and appropriate

evidence from
their personal
experience.

Summarizes
some of the
major reasons
change is
necessary and
provides no
authentic and
appropriate
evidence from
their personal
experience.

Examples of how
technology is
used in
instruction to
promote higher
level

thinking

Provides numerous
highly relevant
examples of how
technology is
currently or could
potentially be used
in their classroom
to promote higher
order thinking
skills.

Provides relevant
examples of how
technology is
currently or could
potentially be u
sed
in their classroom
to promote higher
order thinking
skills.

Provides few
examples of how
technology is
currently or
potentially could
be used in their
classroom and
minimal support
for how this use
promotes higher
order thinking
skills.

Provides few
ex
amples of how
technology is
currently or
potentially could
be used in their
classroom and no
support for how
this use promotes
higher order
thinking skills.

Description of the
disconnect
between
classroom use of
technology and
student use in
their persona
l
lives

Explains the
disconnect that
exists between
current classroom
use of technology
and student use in
their personal lives
citing numerous
examples and in
depth descriptions.

Explains the
disconnect that
exists between
current classroom
use of techno
logy
and student use in
their personal lives
citing adequate
examples and in
depth descriptions.

Explains the
disconnect that
exists between
current classroom
use of technology
and student use in
their personal lives
citing adequate
examples.

Explains the
disconnect that
exists between
current classroom
use of technology
and student use in
their personal
lives citing
minimal
examples.

Conventions

Excellent evidence
of correct spelling,
grammar,
mechanics, usage,
and sentence
formation


No
more than 2 err
ors

Adequate evidence
of correct spelling,
grammar,
mechanics, usage,
and sentence
formation


No
more than 5 errors

Some evidence of
correct spelling,
grammar,
mechanics, usage,
and sentence
formation


No
more than 10
Limited evidence
of correct
s
pelling,
grammar,
mechanics,
usage, and
sentence
12


errors

formation


More than 10
errors

Note: This will be used as a holistic rubric. Therefore, the facilitator will look for the score column
which seems to be a best match to the learner's performance. Total poi
nts for the activity are
indicated at the top of each column.

© Copyright 2007 Learning Sciences International

All Rights Reserved.




Teaching in the 21st Century


The Need for Change

Unit 2 Activity Time Breakdown



Course Objectives

As a result of thi
s course, you will be able to:

1.

Identify the needs and preferences of the 21st Century learners

2.

Recognize the gap that exists between current instructional practices and the skill set
needed by students for success in the 21st Century workplace

3.

Understand t
he role collegial collaboration plays in establishing a 21st Century classroom

4.

Establish more effective communication among stakeholders

*For each activity/experience the relevant objectives are identified in the third column of the
chart.

Unit 2:


Ration
ale for 21st Century Change

Section 2.1:


The 21st Century Student

Topic 2.1.1:


How Do 21st Century Students Communicate?

Title

Estimated Time

Objectives
Identified

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13


View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes

2

Read article titled
The Interconnected Nature of the 21st
Century World

15 minutes

1,2

Complete Course Activity

Personal Use of Technology

20 minutes

1,2

Complete J
ob
-
embedded Activity

Student Focus Group
Protocol

20 minutes

1,2,4

Complete Job
-
embedded Activity

Student Use of
Technology

60 minutes

1,2,4

Complete Prediscussion Activity

Technology
Reflection

10 minutes

1,2,3

Participate in Discussion Activity

Techno
logy
Reflection

20 minutes

1,2,3

Topic 2.1.2: How Do 21st Century Students Think Differently?

View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes

1,2

Read article titled
Do They Really Think Differently?

15 minutes

1,2

Complete Prediscussion Activity

Student Thinking
Pa
tterns

10 minutes

2,3

Participate in Discussion Activity

Student Thinking
Patterns

20 minutes

2,3

Topic 2.1.3: Why Are 21st Century Students Disengaged?

View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes

1,2

Read article titled
Engage Me or Enrage Me

15 minutes

1,2

Re
ad article titled
Engaged Students, Engaged Adults

15 minutes

1,2

Complete Prediscussion Activity

Student Engagement

15 minutes

1,2,3,4

Participate in Discussion Activity

Student Engagement

20 minutes

1,2,3,4

Section 2.2:


The 21st Century Workplace

To
pic 2.2.1:


How Is the 21st Century Workplace Different Than the 20th Century
Workplace?

View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes

2

Read article titled
Technology, Workplace, and
Education: What is the Link?

15 minutes

2

Complete Course Activity

Classroom Orga
nization

20 minutes

1,2

Topic 2.2.2:


What Are the 21st Century Skills Needed by Students?

View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes

1,2

14


Read article titled
21st Century Workplace: Skills for
Success

15 minutes

1,2

Complete Job
-
embedded Activity

21st Century S
kills

90 minutes

1,2,3,4

Participate in Sync Point Discussion (excluding Self
-
study Version)

75 minutes

1,2,3,4

Unit 2 Multiple Choice Questions (excluding Self
-
study
Version)

20 minutes

1,2,3,4

Unit 2 Essay Question (excluding Self
-
study Version)

60 mi
nutes

1,2,3,4

Unit 2 Time Totals

Self
-
study Version

7 hours & 15 minutes

Blended Study Group Version

9 hours & 50 minutes

Non
-
blended Graduate Version

9 hours & 50 minutes

Blended Graduate Version

9 hours & 50 minutes

© Copyright 2007 Learning Scienc
es International.

All Rights Reserved.













15


Rationale for 21st Century Change K
-
L
-
D Chart

Teacher

_____________________
Date

_____________
District
____________________

What I Already
Know (K)

What I
Learned (L)

What I Will
Do (D)

What is your curre
nt
knowledge
(K)

of this
topic?


Consider:



college courses



professional reading



peer conversations





List key points or phrases
below.

What new or extended
learning
(L)

have you gained
from this module?

What knowledge, strategies,
and/or practices have y
ou
experienced or extended
with this content?



List key words or phrases
below.

How will what you learned impact
what you do
(D)

in your classroom?

Think about your instructional
practices and reflect on how they may
be changed or revised based on data
co
llection and interpretation, course
content knowledge, and research
-
based practices that were present in
this course.

List key points and phrases below.





Learning into Doing





Data Collection and Analysis











Based on a document developed and
written by the CAIU Writing Team:

A. Morton, C. Eisenhart, M. Bigelow, P. Conahan, M.K. Justice (2004)

© Copyright 2007 Learning Sciences International

All Rights Reserved.

16


Rationale for 21st Century Change K
-
L
-
D Chart

Teacher

_____________________
Date

__
___________
District
____________________

What I Already
Know (K)

What I
Learned (L)

What I Will
Do (D)

What is your current
knowledge
(K)

of this
topic?


Consider:



college courses



professional reading



peer conversations





List key points or phrases
belo
w.

What new or extended
learning
(L)

have you gained
from this module?

What knowledge, strategies,
and/or practices have you
experienced or extended
with this content?



List key words or phrases
below.

How will what you learned impact
what you do
(D)

in y
our classroom?

Think about your instructional
practices and reflect on how they may
be changed or revised based on data
collection and interpretation, course
content knowledge, and research
-
based practices that were present in
this course.

List key points
and phrases below.





Learning into Doing





Data Collection and Analysis











Based on a document developed and written by the CAIU Writing Team:

A. Morton, C. Eisenhart, M. Bigelow, P. Conahan, M.K. Justice (2004)

© Copyright 2007 Learning Scien
ces International

All Rights Reserved.

17


Rationale for 21st Century Change K
-
L
-
D Chart

Teacher

_____________________
Date

_____________
District
____________________

What I Already
Know (K)

What I
Learned (L)

What I Will
Do (D)

What is your current
knowledge

(K)

of this
topic?


Consider:



college courses



professional reading



peer conversations





List key points or phrases
below.

What new or extended
learning
(L)

have you gained
from this module?

What knowledge, strategies,
and/or practices have you
experienc
ed or extended
with this content?



List key words or phrases
below.

How will what you learned impact
what you do
(D)

in your classroom?

Think about your instructional
practices and reflect on how they may
be changed or revised based on data
collection and

interpretation, course
content knowledge, and research
-
based practices that were present in
this course.

List key points and phrases below.





Learning into Doing





Data Collection and Analysis











Based on a document developed and written by t
he CAIU Writing Team:

A. Morton, C. Eisenhart, M. Bigelow, P. Conahan, M.K. Justice (2004)

© Copyright 2007 Learning Sciences International

All Rights Reserved.

18



Planning Guide: An Explanation of the K
-
L
-
D Chart

K
-
L
-
D

is a graphic organizer that will help
personalize your learning, as well as facilitate taking
notes, expanding teacher leadership skills, and organizing data for your culminating project.

K
-
L
-
D

is an adaptation of the K
-
W
-
L graphic organizer (What I KNOW, What I WANT to
know, What I LEARNED),
commonly used to help students organize their learning.

The first section of the
K
-
L
-
D is
KNOW



"What do I currently know prior to the start of each
unit or course about this topic?" Activating prior knowledge provides a context for further
learning. Thi
s prior knowledge may come from college courses, professional reading,
professional development sessions, or classroom experience.

The center section of the K
-
L
-
D is
LEARN



"What have I learned from the online sessions,
from reading the text pieces, and f
rom completing the other course activities?" This section may
be completed while reading the text sections or after completing them.

The third section of the K
-
L
-
D

is
DO



"What will I do (differently, better, more systematically)
in my classroom, now that

I have experienced this learning?" Think about your instructional
practices and reflect on how they may be changed or revised based on data collection and
interpretation, course content knowledge, and research
-
based practices that were present in this
cou
rse.

Prompts will guide you when it is appropriate to complete the
K
,
L
, or
D

sections.

Keep the
K
-
L
-
Ds

near your computer as you work. Save and organize them for reference during
your culminating project.

For your benefit, three copies of each K
-
L
-
D cha
rt are provided should you need additional space
for note
-
taking.

© Copyright 2007 Learning Sciences International.

All Rights Reserved.


The Interconnected Nature of the 21st Century World


Digital natives, digital immigrants

My son, Noah, is what some wo
uld call a “digital native,” one who has never known a world
without instant communication. While the 20
-
year
-
old university student may appear to inhabit a
bedroom in my house, he actually spends much of his time in another galaxy

out there, in the
19


digita
l universe of gaming sites, web
-
conferencing, text messages, BitTorrent, and social
networking sites like Facebook.

His father, Travis, on the other hand, is a “digital immigrant,” one who is still coming to terms
with how to check his cell phone’s voice m
ail and view a digital video on YouTube.

This generational divide has been evident for a while, but only now are we beginning to realize
that today’s technology is changing the way people absorb information and the way our students
think and learn. Some re
searchers believe that this constant interaction with digital media is
causing today’s students to begin to think and process information in ways very different from
the pre
-
Internet generation. Current research proposes that, “Different kinds of experienc
es lead
to different brain structures” (Prensky, 2001). Students who have immersed themselves in using
digital tools such as video games, e
-
mail, instant message, and television have physically
different brains as a result of the digital stimulation. Socia
l science suggests that the environment
and culture in which people are raised influences the way they catalog and process information.
This can be clearly seen when examining thinking skills enhanced by repeated exposure to
computer games and other virtua
l media, as thought patterns are less linear and more divergent in
style (Prensky, 2001). Today’s student also is better at multitasking and responds faster to
expected and unexpected stimuli.

Marc Prensky (2001) first coined the term digital native to ref
er to today’s students. “They are
native speakers of technology,” Prensky says, “fluent in the digital language of computers, video
games, and the Internet. I refer to those of us who were not born into the digital world as digital
immigrants. We have adop
ted many aspects of the technology, but like those who learn another
language later in life, we retain an ‘accent’ because we still have one foot in the past.” For
example, digital immigrants will often choose to read a manual rather than learn from the
ex
perience of working with the software program. “Our accent from the predigital world often
makes it difficult for us to effectively communicate with our students,” Prensky says.

Referring to younger people as “the digital natives” for whom technology use c
omes more
naturally and to older people as “the immigrants” who comprise most of the adult population and
teaching cadre in our schools and universities can be helpful in understanding the obstacles that
surface when teaching this generation of learners.

T
he need for an expanded continuum

Educational Consultant Wes Fyrer (2006) feels that, rather than individuals falling into one camp
or the other, there exists a continuum in which people can find their place:

The Natives:

Students who have grown up in, or
are growing up in, the digital age; who
assimilate digital tools and methods for communication as easily as they breathe.

The Immigrants:

Older adults in society and in our schools who did not grow up with digital
technology tools, but who are working to “
learn the language” and to communicate effectively
20


with the natives around them. Some of the immigrants are open and accepting of “native ways,”
but many are resistant to change.

The Refugees:

Older adults in society who have chosen to flee from


rather t
han integrate into


the native culture. They may actively work against the goals and interests of both the digital
natives and the digital immigrants. The refugees are primarily motivated by fear and a staunch
desire not only to resist change but to activ
ely oppose it, to deny the existence of a changed
environment, and/or to ignore it.

The Bridges:

The digital bridges are neither truly natives nor fully digital immigrants. Like
millenials, who have one foot in each century, the bridges have both native an
d immigrant traits.
As a result, digital bridges are able to communicate relatively effectively with both groups.

The Undecided:

These people have not made up their minds about which group they fit into, or
which group they want to fit into. They are likel
y immigrants or refugees, but may not have
taken sufficient action to reveal their identities and/or preferences for group identity.

But does this oversimplification give teachers an excuse to not master these pervasive tools as a
means for engaging the st
udents they teach? David Warlick blogs about digital natives and
digital immigrants and warns educators not to let our immigrant condition limit us as we move
forward in learning how to speak in a digital tongue our students will understand.

“But I believe

that it is time that we stop hiding behind our immigrant status and start acting like
natives. We need to stop making excuses and start leading. We are teachers, after all. It’s our job
to lead, not follow. Sure, we’ll never be able to keep up with our ki
ds in lots of ways. They have
the luxury of time, and their brain cells are fresher. But it is our job to look into the future and
then to plan and lead the way for our children” (Warlick, 2006).

Christopher Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Tec
hnologies at Harvard Graduate
School of Education, argues that using these labels can lead to overgeneralizations: “Don’t start
with the technology, when you start with technology, it’s a solution looking for a problem.”
Dede starts, instead, with learning

styles. “No matter what age you are, your learning style can be
shaped by the kind of media you use.” Dede suggests that age may not be the determining factor
of how seamlessly we use the tools of the 21st Century. For example, those who have a media
-
base
d learning style synthesize and process experiences rather than information, regardless of
their age. They learn best when taught actively, through collaborations both online and in the real
world.

Last generation

The rapid changes taking place in this dig
ital world are just beginning. One of the clear
indicators of natives and immigrants will not simply be a question of age, but rather of the
instinctive acceptance of rapid technological change. We may very well be the last generation of
educators who has
the prerogative of deciding whether or not to develop a digital literacy. Many
of us have chosen not to acquire proficient technology skills, yet we have still experienced
21


success in our professions. However, the children we teach today do not have that ch
oice.
Students must acquire a high degree of digital literacy to be truly marketable in the 21st Century.
As educators, we do our students a great service if we allow them to seamlessly garner these
skills within the safety nets of our classrooms. This mea
ns educators will need to immerse
themselves in the digital landscape to be able to design learning activities that will be meaningful
and authentic to this generation of learners (Nussbaum
-
Beach, 2003).

Digital students: Who are they and how do they learn
?

According to Diana and James Oblinger (2005), today’s students learn differently than previous
generations and, as a result, they feel disconnected from schools that were designed for another
time. Most of today’s students have grown up in an environment

where they control the flow of
information they receive and the graphic format in which they receive it. Think about it: almost
everywhere they go, this media
-
rich generation finds a constant stream of multimedia competing
for their attention. They take i
n the world via cell phones, handheld gaming devices, portable
digital assistants (PDAs), and laptops that they take everywhere. They are truly mobile. And at
home they mainline electronic media in the form of computers, TV, and collaborative video
games t
hey play with users they have never met from around the world. Everywhere they go in
society

technology beckons. The future is rushing at them full speed

until they enter our
classrooms and time seems to stand still. Children today spend much of their day
learning in the
same way their grandparents did and, as a result, school seems rigid, uninteresting, and
unyielding to many students (Nussbaum
-
Beach, 2003).

Digital disconnect

Today’s multitasking students are better equipped for change than many of their
teachers. In fact,
researchers Ian Jukes and Anita Dosaj refer to this disconnect as the result of poor
communication between “digital natives”


today’s students


and “digital immigrants”


many
adults. These parents and educators, the digital immigrants
, speak DSL, digital as a second
language (Jukes and Dosaj, 2003). Look at the differences between how digital students learn
and how analog teachers teach.

The differences between digital native learners and

digital immigrant teachers.

Digital Native Lear
ners

Digital Immigrant Teachers

Prefer receiving information quickly from
multiple multimedia sources.

Prefer slow and controlled release of information
from limited sources.

Prefer parallel processing and multitasking.

Prefer singular processing and sin
gle or limited
tasking.

Prefer processing pictures, sounds, and video
before text.

Prefer to provide text before pictures, sounds,
and video.

Prefer random access to hyperlinked multimedia
Prefer to provide information linearly, logically,
22


information.

a
nd sequentially.

Prefer to interact/network simultaneously with
many others.

Prefer students to work independently rather than
network and interact.

Prefer to learn "just
-
in
-
time."

Prefer to teach "just
-
in
-
case" (it's on the exam).

Prefer instant gratif
ication and instant rewards.

Prefer deferred gratification and deferred
rewards.

Prefer learning that is relevant, instantly useful,
and fun.

Prefer to teach to the curriculum guide and
standardized tests.

*Ian Jukes and Anita Dosaj, The InfoSavvy Group,

February 2003

Students are coming into our classrooms ready to learn in digital ways that are familiar to them
and instead, they are just sitting there with pencil and paper in hand not engaged and not
learning. The disconnect between how students learn
and how teachers teach is easy to
understand when one considers that the current school system was designed for preparing
students for working in factories and agriculture. However, the world has changed and continues
to change at an ever
-
increasing rate.
While schools have done a masterful job of preparing
students for an industrial age, we are moving at warp speed into a whole new era! Some believe
the future of our educational system will hinge on our ability to lead and adapt, as we prepare our
students

for the future. We are the first generation of teachers who are preparing students for jobs
that haven’t even been invented yet. This means educators will need to rethink not only what to
teach, but what it means to teach and learn in the 21st Century. Sc
hools must be willing to
redesign themselves or render themselves irrelevant in preparing students for success in the 21st
Century.

Literacy in the 21st Century

Being literate in the future will certainly involve the ability to read, write, and do basic ma
th.
However, the concept of literacy in the 21st Century will be far richer and more comprehensive
than the education you and I received growing up (Warlick, 2003). The very nature of
information is changing: how we organize it where we find it, what we us
e to view it, what we
do with it, and how we communicate it. Will Richardson (2006)


in his book Blogs, Wikis,
Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms


talks about the transformational
nature of these pervasive technology tools, especially
in terms of their ability to nurture
connections and collaborations: “Whether it’s blogs or wikis or RSS, all roads now point to a
Web where little is done in isolation and all things are collaborative and social in nature.” The
most prevalent change in ho
w we use the Internet in the 21st Century is not as much in the
ability to publish information as it is the ability to share and connect with others from around the
globe.

The social web: Learning together

Today’s read/write web technologies have the power

to create informal peer
-
to
-
peer social
connections and to open new avenues for learning environments that go beyond those that are
23


linear, teacher
-
centered, and lecture
-
based to ones that are divergent, dynamic, student
-
centered,
constructive, and communi
cation
-
rich.

A passionate student is a learning student. As the people of the world are becoming increasingly
connected, the nature, use, ownership, and purpose of knowledge are changing in profound ways.
Our goal as educators is to leverage these connecti
ons and changes as a powerful means to
improve teaching and learning in our schools. We have a changing demographic in our
classrooms, and by networking together with individuals from around the world we are building
capacity in our students and ourselves
to understand multiple viewpoints and perspectives. And
by using digital media and web
-
based tools, students can build their own learning experiences,
construct meaning, and collaborate in teams to solve authentic content
-
based problems. Many
teachers who
use these empowering technologies are now discovering we can have rigor without
sacrificing excitement. The secret: focus on student passion and interest, not machines and
software. Today’s digital natives are passionate about team
-
based learning approache
s because
of their vast digital gaming experiences. It feels natural for them to learn by collaborating online
with others they have never met.

Developing an effective learning environment in the 21st Century requires drawing on a wide
range of teaching co
ncepts, methods, strategies, and technologies. For example, building a rich
environment for inquiry involves an understanding of literacy, of problem
-

and project
-
based
learning, of critical and creative thinking skills, of problem solving techniques and c
onstructivist
learning theory. Allowing students to work in teams both in the classroom and with others
around the world ensures that students are engaged in activities that help them actively pose
questions, investigate and solve problems, and draw conclu
sions about the world around them.
Author and researcher Daniel Goleman (1996) suggests that working in teams enables students
to practice needed life skills. “Requiring students to learn socially actually forces students to
draw on their emotional intelli
gence. This is a set of skills that includes how one handles
emotions, deals with frustration, or resolves conflict.” Through our creative use of the vast array
of web
-
based social networking tools available, our students become researchers, writers,
video
graphers, and activists rather than passive receivers of a textbook’s content. They still learn
content but through an authentic means that will prepare them for the world of work of
tomorrow, rather than the world of work of today or yesterday. Collaborat
ion is the focus of that
learning.


© 2008 Learning Sciences International. All Rights Reserved.

Some material adapted with permission from
Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives
, © Mark Prensky. www.marcprensky.com






24


Do They Really Think Differently?

By M
arc Prensky

From
On the Horizon

(NCB University Press, Vo 6, December 2001) l. 9 No.

© 2001 Marc Prensky



Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures.

-
Dr. Bruce D. Berry, Baylor College of Medicine

Our children today are being socia
lized in a way that is vastly different from their parents. The
numbers are overwhelming: over 10,000 hours playing videogames, over 200,000 emails and
instant messages sent and received; over 10,000 hours talking on digital cell phones; over 20,000
hours
watching TV (a high percentage fast speed MTV), over 500,000 commercials seen

all
before the kids leave college. And, maybe,
at the very most
, 5,000 hours of book reading. These
are today's "Digital Native" students.
1

In
Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants
: Part I
, I discussed how the differences between our
Digital Native students and their Digital Immigrant teachers lie at the root of a great many of
today's educational problems. I suggested that Digital Natives' brains are likely
physically
different

as
a result of the digital input they received growing up. And I submitted that learning
via digital games is one good way to reach Digital Natives in their "native language."

Here I present evidence for why I think this is so. It comes from neurobiology, soc
ial
psychology, and from studies done on children using games for learning.



Neuroplasticity

Although the vast majority of today's educators and teachers grew up with the understanding that
the human brain doesn't physically change based on stimulation it

receives from the outside

especially after the age of 3


it turns out that that view is, in fact,

incorrect
.

Based on the latest research in neurobiology, there is no longer any question that stimulation of
various kinds actually changes brain structures
and affects the way people think, and that these
transformations go on
throughout life
. The brain is, to an extent not at all understood or believed
to be when Baby Boomers were growing up,
massively plastic
. It can be, and is, constantly
reorganized. (Alt
hough the popular term
rewired

is somewhat misleading, the overall idea is
right

the brain changes and organizes itself differently based on the inputs it receives.) The old
idea that we have a fixed number of brain cells that die off one by one has been r
eplaced by
research showing that our supply of brain cells is replenished constantly.
2

The brain
constantly

25


reorganizes itself all our child and adult lives, a phenomenon technically known as
neuroplasticity
.

One of the earliest pioneers in this field of n
eurological research found that rats in "enriched"
environments showed brain changes compared with those in "impoverished" environments after
as little as two weeks. Sensory areas of their brains were thicker, other layers heavier. Changes
showed consisten
t overall growth, leading to the conclusion that
the brain maintains its plasticity
for life
.
3

Other experiments leading to similar conclusions include the following:



Ferrets' brains were physically rewired, with inputs from the eyes switched to where the
hearing nerves went and vice versa. Their brains changed to accommodate the new
inputs.
4



Imaging experiments have shown that when blind people learn Braille, "visual" areas of
their brains lit up. Similarly, deaf people use their auditory cortex to read si
gns.
5



Scans of brains of people who tapped their fingers in a complicated sequence that they
had practiced for weeks showed a larger area of motor cortex becoming activated then
when they performed sequences they hadn't practiced.
6



Japanese subjects were a
ble to learn to "reprogram" their circuitry for distinguishing "ra"
from "la," a skill they "forget" soon after birth because their language doesn't require it.
7



Researchers found that an additional language learned later in life goes into a different
plac
e in the brain than the language or languages learned as children.
8



Intensive reading instruction experiments with students aged 10 and up appeared to create
lasting chemical changes in key areas of the subjects' brains.
9



A comparison of musicians versus n
onplayers brains via magnetic resonance imaging
showed a 5 percent greater volume in the musicians' cerebellums, ascribed to adaptations
in the brain's structure resulting from intensive musical training and practice.
10

We are only at the very beginning of

understanding and applying brain plasticity research. The
goal of many who are

such as the company Scientific Learning

is "neuroscience
-
based
education."
11


Malleability

Social psychology also provides strong evidence that one's thinking patterns change d
epending
on one's experiences. Until very recently Western philosophers and psychologists took it for
granted that the same basic processes underlie all human thought. While cultural differences
might dictate what people think
about
, the
strategies

and
pro
cesses

of thought, which include
logical reasoning and a desire to understand situations and events in linear terms of cause and
effect, were assumed to be the same for everyone. However this, too, appears to be wrong.

26


Research by social psychologists
12

sh
ows that people who grow up in different cultures do not
just think about different things, they actually
think differently
. The environment and culture in
which people are raised affects and even determines many of their thought processes.

"We used to thi
nk that everybody uses categories in the same way, that logic plays the same kind
of role for everyone in the understanding of everyday life, that memory, perception, rule
application and so on are the same," says one. "But we're now arguing that cognitive

processes
themselves are just far more malleable than mainstream psychology assumed."
13

We now know that brains that undergo different developmental experiences develop differently,
and that people who undergo different inputs from the culture that surrou
nds them think
differently. And while we haven't yet directly observed Digital Natives' brains to see whether
they are physically different (such as musicians' appear to be) the indirect evidence for this is
extremely strong.

However, brains and thinking p
atterns do not just change overnight. A key finding of brain
plasticity research is that brains do
not

reorganize casually, easily, or arbitrarily. "Brain
reorganization takes place only when the animal pays attention to the sensory input and to the
task."
14

"It requires very hard work."
15

Biofeedback requires upwards of 50 sessions to produce
results.
16

Scientific Learning's Fast ForWard program requires students to spend 100 minutes a
day, 5 days a week, for 5 to 10 weeks to create desired changes, becaus
e "it takes sharply
focused attention to rewire a brain."
17

Several hours a day, five days a week, sharply focused attention

does that remind you of
anything? Oh, yes

video games! That is exactly what kids have been doing ever since
Pong

arrived in 1974. T
hey have been adjusting or programming their brains to the speed,
interactivity, and other factors in the games, much as boomers' brains were programmed to
accommodate television, and literate man's brains were reprogrammed to deal with the invention
of wr
itten language and reading (where the brain had to be retrained to deal with things in a
highly linear way.)
18

"Reading does not just happen, it is a terrible struggle."
19

"Reading [has] a
different neurology to it than the things that are built into our b
rain, like spoken language."
20

One
of the main focuses of schools for the hundreds of years since reading became a mass
phenomenon has been retraining our speech
-
oriented brains to be able to read. Again, the
training involves several hours a day, five day
s a week, and sharply focused attention.

Of course just when we'd figured out (more or less) how to retrain brains for reading, they were
retrained again by television. And now things have changed
yet again
, and our children are
furiously retraining their
brains in even newer ways, many of which are antithetical to our older
ways of thinking.

Children raised with the computer "think differently from the rest of us. They develop hypertext
minds. They leap around. It's as though their cognitive structures wer
e parallel, not sequential."
21

"Linear thought processes that dominate educational systems now can actually retard learning for
brains developed through game and Web
-
surfing processes on the computer."
22

27


Some have surmised that teenagers use different part
s of their brain and think in different ways
than adults when at the computer.
23

We now know that it goes even further

their brains are
almost certainly
physiologically different
. But these differences, most observers agree, are less a
matter of kind than
a difference of degree. For example as a result of repeated experiences,
particular brain areas are larger and more highly developed, and others are less so.

For example, thinking skills enhanced by repeated exposure to computer games and other digital
med
ia include reading visual images as representations of three
-
dimensional space
(representational competence), multidimensional visual
-
spatial skills, mental maps, "mental
paper folding" (i.e. picturing the results of various origami
-
like folds in your mind

without
actually doing them), "inductive discovery" (i.e. making observations, formulating hypotheses
and figuring out the rules governing the behavior of a dynamic representation), "attentional
deployment" (such as monitoring multiple locations simultane
ously), and responding faster to
expected and unexpected stimuli.
24

While these individual cognitive skills may not be new, the particular combination and intensity
is. We now have a new generation with a very different blend of cognitive skills than its
p
redecessors

the Digital Natives.



What About Attention Spans?

We hear teachers complain so often about the Digital Natives' attention spans that the phrase "the
attention span of a gnat" has become a cliché. But is it really true?

"Sure they have short at
tention spans

for the old ways of learning," says a professor.
25

Their
attention spans are
not

short for games, for example, or for anything else that actually interests
them. As a result of their experiences Digital Natives crave
interactivity

an immediat
e response
to their each and every action. Traditional schooling provides very little of this compared to the
rest of their world (one study showed that students in class get to ask a question every
10
hours
)
26

So it generally isn't that Digital Natives
ca
n't

pay attention, it's that they
choose not to
.

Research done for
Sesame Street

reveals that children do not actually watch television
continuously, but "in bursts." They tune in just enough to get the gist and be sure it makes sense.
In one key experimen
t, half the children were shown the program in a room filled with toys. As
expected, the group with toys was distracted and watched the show only about 47 percent of the
time as opposed to 87 percent in the group without toys. But when the children were te
sted for
how much of the show they remembered and understood, the scores were exactly the same. "We
were led to the conclusion that the 5
-
year
-
olds in the toys group were attending quite
strategically, distributing their attention between toy play and view
ing so that they looked at
what was for them the most informative part of the program. The strategy was so effective that
the children could gain no more from increased attention."
27



28


What Have We Lost?

Still, we often hear from teachers about increasing
problems their students have with reading and
thinking. What about this? Has anything been
lost

in the Digital Natives' "reprogramming"
process?

One key area that appears to have been affected is
reflection
. Reflection is what enables us,
according to many

theorists, to generalize, as we create "mental models" from our experience. It
is, in many ways, the
process

of "learning from experience." In our twitch
-
speed world, there is
less and less time and opportunity for reflection, and this development concern
s many people.
One of the most interesting challenges and opportunities in teaching Digital Natives is to figure
out and invent ways to
include

reflection and critical thinking in the learning (either built into the
instruction or through a process of inst
ructor
-
led debriefing)
but still do it in the Digital Native
language
. We can and must do more in this area.

Digital Natives accustomed to the twitch
-
speed, multitasking, random
-
access, graphics
-
first,
active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick
-
payoff world of

their video games, MTV, and Internet are
bored

by most of today's education, well meaning as it may be. But worse, the many skills that
new technologies
have

actually enhanced (e.g., parallel processing, graphics awareness, and
random access)

which have p
rofound implications for their learning

are almost totally
ignored by educators.

The cognitive differences of the Digital Natives
cry out

for new approaches to education with a
better "fit." And, interestingly enough, it turns out that one of the few struc
tures capable of
meeting the Digital Natives' changing learning needs and requirements is the very video and
computer games they so enjoy. This is why "Digital Game
-
Based Learning" is beginning to
emerge and thrive.



But Does It Work?

Of course many criti
cize today's learning games, and there is much to criticize. But if some of
these games don't produce learning it is
not

because they are games, or because the concept of
"game
-
based learning" is faulty. It's because
those particular games are badly design
ed
. There is
a great deal of evidence that children's learning games that
are

well designed
do

produce
learning, and lots of it


by and while engaging kids.

While some educators refer to games as "sugar coating," giving that a strongly negative
connotatio
n

and often a sneer

it is a big help to the Digital Natives. After all, this is a medium
they are very familiar with and really enjoy.

Elementary school, when you strip out the recesses and the lunch and the in
-
between times,
actually consists of about thr
ee hours of instruction time in a typical 9 to 3 day.
28

So assuming,
for example, that learning games were only 50% educational, if you could get kids to play them
29


for six hours over a weekend, you'd effectively add a day a week to their schooling! Six hou
rs is
far less than a Digital Native would typically spend over a weekend watching TV and playing
videogames. The trick, though, is to make the learning games compelling enough to actually be
used in their place. They must be
real

games, not just drill wit
h eye
-
candy, combined creatively
with
real

content.

The numbers back this up. The Lightspan Partnership, which created PlayStation games for
curricular reinforcement, conducted studies in over 400 individual school districts and a "meta
-
analysis" as well.
Their findings were increases in vocabulary and language arts of 24 and 25
percent respectively over the control groups, while the math problem solving and math
procedures and algorithms scores were 51 and 30 percent higher.
29

Click Health, which makes gam
es to help kids self
-
manage their health issues, did clinical trials
funded by the National Institutes of Health. They found, in the case of diabetes, that kids playing
their games (as compared to a control group playing a pinball game) showed measurable g
ains in
self
-
efficacy, communication with parents and diabetes self
-
care. And more importantly, urgent
doctor visits for diabetes
-
related problems declined 77 percent in the treatment group.
30

Scientific Learning's
Fast ForWard

game
-
based program for retra
ining kids with reading
problems conducted National Field Trials using 60 independent professionals at 35 sites across
the US and Canada. Using standardized tests, each of the 35 sites reported conclusive validation
of the program's effectiveness, with 90
percent of the children achieving significant gains in one
or more tested areas.
31

Again and again it's the same simple story. Practice

time spent on learning

works
. Kid's don't
like to practice. Games capture their attention and make it happen. And of cou
rse they must be
practicing the right things, so
design

is important.

The US military, which has a quarter of a million 18
-
year
-
olds to educate every year, is a big
believer in learning games as a way to reach their Digital Natives. They know their volunte
ers
expect this: "If we don't do things that way, they're not going to want to be in our
environment."
32

What's more, they've observed it working operationally in the field. "We've seen it time and time
again in flying airplanes, in our mission simulators.
" Practical
-
minded Department of Defense
trainers are perplexed by educators who say "We don't know that educational technology
works

we need to do some more studies." "We KNOW the technology works," they retort. We
just want to get on with using it."
33

So
, today's neurobiologists and social psychologists agree that brains can and do change with
new input. And today's educators with the most crucial learning missions

teaching the
handicapped and the military

are already using custom designed computer and vi
deo games as
an effective way of reaching Digital Natives. But the bulk of today's tradition
-
bound educational
establishment seem in no hurry to follow their lead.

30


Yet these educators know
something

is wrong, because they are not reaching their Digital Nat
ive
students as well as they reached students in the past. So they face an important choice.

On the one hand, they can choose to ignore their eyes, ears and intuition, pretend the Digital
Native/Digital Immigrant issue does not exist, and continue to use t
heir suddenly
-
much
-
less
-
effective traditional methods until they retire and the Digital Natives take over.

Or they can chose instead to
accept

the fact that they have become Immigrants into a new Digital
world, and to look to their own creativity, their Di
gital Native students, their sympathetic
administrators and other sources to help them communicate their still
-
valuable knowledge and
wisdom in that world's new language.

The route they ultimately choose

and the education of their Digital Native students

d
epends
very much on us.



Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed thought leader, speaker, writer, consultant, and game designer in the critical a
reas of education
and learning. He is the author of Digital Game
-
Based Learning (McGraw
-
Hill, 2001), foun
der and CEO of Games2train, a game
-
based learning
company, and founder of The Digital Multiplier, an organization dedicated to eliminating the digital divide in learning world
wide. He is also the
creator of the sites (www.SocialImpactGames.com), (www.DoDGa
meCommunity.com) and (www.GamesParentsTeachers.com). Marc holds an
MBA from Harvard and a Masters in Teaching from Yale. More of his writings can be found at (www.marcprensky.com/writing/defau
lt.asp).
Contact Marc at marc@games2train.com.



Notes

These num
bers are intended purely as "order of magnitude" approximations; they obviously vary widely for individuals. They were
arrived at in the following ways ( Note: I am very interested in any additional data anyone has on this):

Videogames:

Average play time:

1.5 hours/day (Source: "Interactive Videogames, Mediascope, June 1966.) It is likely to be higher
five years later, so 1.8 x 365 x 15 years = 9,855 hours.

E
-
mails and Instant Messages:

Average 40 per day x 365 x 15 years = 219, 000. This is not unrealisti
c even for pre
-
teens


in just one
instant messaging connection there may be over 100 exchanges per day


and most people do multiple connections.

TV:

"Television in the Home, 1998: Third Annual Survey of Parent and Children, Annenburg Policy Center, June
22, 1998, gives the
number of TV hours watched per day as 2.55. M. Chen, in the
Smart Parents Guide to Kid's TV
, (1994) gives the number as 4
hours/day. Taking the average, 3.3 hrs/day x 365 days x 18 years = 21,681.

Commercials:

There are roughly 18 30
-
se
cond commercials during a TV hour. 18 commercials/hour x 3.3 hours/day x 365 days x 20
years (infants
love

commercials) = 433,620.

Reading:

Eric Leuliette, a voracious (and meticulous) reader who has listed online every book he has ever read
(www.csr.utexa
s.edu/personal/leuliette/fw_table_home.html), read about 1300 books through college. If we take 1300 books x 200
pages per book x 400 words per page, we get 10,400,000,000 words. Read at 400 words/that gives 260,000 minutes, or 4,333 hour
s.
This represents

a little over 3 hours/book. Although others may read more slowly, most have read far fewer books than Leuliette.



31


"Engage Me or Enrage Me"

What Today's Learners Demand

By Marc Prensky

"Today's kids are not ADD, they're E0E."


Kip Leland, Los Angeles Virt
ual Academy



Anyone who has taught recently will recognize these three kinds of students:

1.

The students who are truly self
-
motivated.

These are the ones all teachers dream about
having (and the ones we know how to teach best). They do all the work we assig
n to
them, and more. Their motto is: "I can't wait to get to class." Unfortunately, there are
fewer and fewer of these.


2.

The students who go through the motions.

These are the ones who, although in their
hearts they feel that what is being taught has littl
e or no relevance to their lives, are
farsighted enough to realize that their future may depend on the grades and credentials
they get. So they study the right facts the night before the test to achieve a passing grade
and become at least somewhat successf
ul students. Their motto: "We have learned to
‘play school.' "


3.

The students who "tune us out."

These students are convinced that school is totally devoid
of interest and totally irrelevant to their life. In fact, they find school much less
interesting tha
n the myriad devices they carry in their pockets and backpacks. These kids
are used to having anyone who asks for their attention

their musicians, their movie
makers, their TV stars, their game designers

work really hard to earn it. When what is
being offe
red isn't engaging, these students truly resent their time being wasted. In more
and more of our schools, this group is quickly becoming the majority. The motto of this
group? "Engage me or enrage me."


While our schools and education system today deal wit
h the first two groups reasonably well, the
third group is a real challenge. In fact, for educators today, it is the challenge. "Engage me or
enrage me," these students demand. And believe me, they're enraged.

But why? That's a question that needs a good a
nswer.

32


When I was a novice teacher in the late 1960s in New York City's East Harlem, things were
different. Yes, we had our college
-
bound students, our "doing timers," and our dropouts. In fact,
far too many dropouts. Certainly a lot of kids then were not
engaged. Many of them were on
drugs. Some were engaged in trying to affect society

it was a time of great turmoil and
change

but many weren't.

The big difference from today is this: the kids back then didn't expect to be engaged by
everything they did. The
re were no video games, no CDs, no MP3s

none of today's special
effects. Those kids' lives were a lot less rich

and not just in money: less rich in media, less rich
in communication, much less rich in creative opportunities for students outside of school.
Many
if not most of them never even knew what real engagement feels like.

But today, all kids do. All the students we teach have something in their lives that's really
engaging

something that they do and that they are good at, something that has an engagin
g,
creative component to it. Some may download songs; some may rap, lipsync, or sing karaoke;
some may play video games; some may mix songs; some may make movies; and some may do
the extreme sports that are possible with twenty
-
first
-
century equipment and
materials. But they
all do something engaging.

A kid interviewed for Yahoo's 2003 "Born to Be Wired" conference said: "I could have nothing
to do, and I'll find something on the Internet." Another commented: "Every day after school, I go
home and download
music

it's all I do." Yet another added: "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 you really like." Many of today's third
-
graders have multiple e
-
mail addres
ses.
Today's kids with computers in their homes sit there with scores of windows open, IMing all
their friends. Today's kids without computers typically have a video game console or a
GameBoy. Life for today's kids may be a lot of things

including stressfu
l


but it's certainly
not unengaging.

Except in school.

And there it is so boring that the kids, used to this other life, just can't stand it.

"But school can be engaging," many educators will retort. "I don't see what is so much more
engaging about this o
ther life, other than the pretty graphics." To answer this, I recently looked at
the three most popular (i.e., best
-
selling) computer and video games in the marketplace. They
were, as of June 2004:
City of Heroes
, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying

game;
Harry
Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
, an action game for the PlayStation 2; and
Rise of Nations
, a
real
-
time strategy game for the PC. On their boxes and Web sites, these games promise the kids
who buy and play them some very interesting experie
nces: "There's a place we can all be
heroes." "The Dementors are coming, and this time Harry needs his friends." "The entire span of
human history is in your hands."

Not exactly what we promise our kids in school.

33


And the descriptions of the games? "Create

your own heroes." "Thrilling battles!" "Encounter…"
"Engage…" "Fly…" "Explore…" "Take on your friends." "Exciting!" "Challenging!"
"Master…" "Amass…" "Build…" "Perform…" "Research…" "Lead…" "Don't work alone."

Not exactly descriptions of today's classroom
s and courses!

What's more, the games deliver on these promises. If they didn't, not only wouldn't they be best
-
sellers

they wouldn't get bought at all.

In school, though, kids don't have the "don't buy" option. Rather than being empowered to
choose what t
hey want ("Two hundred channels! Products made just for you!") and to see what
interests them ("Log on! The entire world is at your fingertips!") and to create their own
personalized identity ("Download your own ring tone! Fill your iPod with precisely the

music
you want!")

as they are in the rest of their lives

in school, they must eat what they are served.

And what they are being served is, for the most part, stale, bland, and almost entirely stuff from
the past. Yesterday's education for tomorrow's kids.

Where is the programming, the genomics,
the bioethics, the nanotech

the stuff of their time? It's not there. Not even once a week on
Fridays.

That's one more reason the kids are so enraged

they know their stuff is missing!

But maybe, just maybe, through t
heir rage, the kids are sending us another message as well

and, in so doing, offering us the hope of connecting with them.

Maybe

and I think that this is the case

today's kids are challenging us, their educators, to
engage them at their level, even with th
e old stuff, the stuff we all claim is so important, that is,
the "curriculum."

Maybe if, when learning the "old" stuff, our students could be continuously challenged at the
edge of their capabilities, and could make important decisions every half
-
second,
and could have
multiple streams of data coming in, and could be given goals that they want to reach but wonder
if they actually can, and could beat a really tough game and pass the course

maybe then they
wouldn't have to, as one kid puts it, "power down" e
very time they go to class.

In my view, it's not "relevance" that's lacking for this generation, it's engagement. What's the