Teaching in the 21st Century The Need for Change Unit 2 Activity Time Breakdown

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Dec 4, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


Teaching in the 21st Century

The Need for Change

Unit 2 Activity Time Breakdown

Course Objectives

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


Identify the needs and preferences of the 21st Century learners


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


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


Establish more effective communication among stakehold

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

Unit 2:

Rationale for 21st Century Change

Section 2.1:

The 21st Century Student

Topic 2.1.1:

How Do 21st Century Students Communicate?


stimated Time


View Multimedia Segment

Unit Overview

5 minutes


Complete Course Activity

Rationale for 21st Century
Change K
D Chart

10 minutes


View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes


Read article titled
The Interconnected Natu
re of the 21st
Century World

15 minutes


Complete Course Activity

Personal Use of Technology

20 minutes


Complete Job
embedded Activity

Student Focus Group

20 minutes


Complete Job
embedded Activity

Student Use of

60 minut


Complete Prediscussion Activity


10 minutes


Participate in Discussion Activity


20 minutes


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

View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes


Read article titled
Do They Really Think Differently?

15 minutes


Complete Prediscussion Activity

Student Thinking

10 minutes


Participate in Discussion Activity

Student Thinking

20 minutes


Topic 2.1.3: Why Are 21st Century

Students Disengaged?

View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes


Read article titled
Engage Me or Enrage Me

15 minutes


Read article titled
Engaged Students, Engaged Adults

15 minutes


Complete Prediscussion Activity

Student Engagement

15 minutes


Participate in Discussion Activity

Student Engagement

20 minutes


Section 2.2:

The 21st Century Workplace

Topic 2.2.1:

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

View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes


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

15 minutes


Complete Course Activity

Classroom Organization

20 minutes


Topic 2.2.2:

What Are the 21st Century Skills Needed by Students?

View Multimedia Segment

5 minutes


ead article titled
21st Century Workplace: Skills for

15 minutes


Complete Job
embedded Activity

21st Century Skills

90 minutes


Participate in Sync Point Discussion (excluding Self
study Version)

75 minutes


Unit 2 Multiple Cho
ice Questions (excluding Self

20 minutes


Unit 2 Essay Question (excluding Self
study Version)

60 minutes


Unit 2 Time Totals

study Version

7 hours & 15 minutes

Blended Study Group Version

9 hours & 50 minutes

nded Graduate Version

9 hours & 50 minutes

Blended Graduate Version

Rationale for 21st Century Change K
D Chart




What I Already
Know (K)

What I
Learned (L)

What I Will
Do (

What is your current

of this


college courses

professional reading

peer conversations

List key points or phrases

What new or extended

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

How will what you learned impact
what you do

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.

My answers filled in on
paper in my red folder

My answers filled in on
r in my red folder

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 I

All Rights Reserved.

Rationale for 21st Century Change K
D Chart




What I Already
Know (K)

What I
Learned (L)

What I Will
Do (D)

What is your current

of this


college courses

professional reading

peer conversations

List key points or phrases

What new or extended

have you gained
from this module?

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

List key words or phrases

How will what you learned impact
what you do

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.

My answers filled in on
paper in my red folder

My answers filled in on
paper in my red folder

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.

ionale for 21st Century Change K
D Chart




What I Already
Know (K)

What I
Learned (L)

What I Will
Do (D)

What is your current

of this


college cou

professional reading

peer conversations

List key points or phrases

What new or extended

have you gained
from this module?

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

t key words or phrases

How will what you learned impact
what you do

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 knowled
ge, and research
based practices that were present in
this course.

List key points and phrases below.

My answers filled in on
paper in my red folder

My answers filled in on
paper in my red folder

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.

Planning Guide: An Explanation of the K
D Chart


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.


is an adaptation of the K
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
D is

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

The center section of the K
D is

"What have I learned from the

sessions, from reading the text pieces, and from 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


"What will I do (differently, b
etter, 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 r
based practices that were present in this course.

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


Keep the

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

© 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 would call a "digital native," one who has never
known a

world without instant communication. While the 20
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 digital universe of gaming sites,
conferencing, text m
essages, BitTorrent, and social networking sites like

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 mail and view a digital
video on YouTube.

This genera
tional 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 researchers believe
that this constant interaction wit
h digital media is causing today's students to
begin to think and process information in ways very different from the pre
generation. Current research proposes that, "Different kinds of experiences lead
to different brain structures" (Prensky, 200
1). 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.
Social 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 virtual media, as thought patterns are less linear and
e divergent in style (Prensky, 2001). Today's student also is better at
multitasking and responds faster to expected and unexpected stimuli.

Marc Prensky (2001a) first coined the term
digital native

to refer to today's
students. "They are native speakers o
f 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
adopted 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 experience of working with the software program. "Our

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
comes more naturally and to older people as the "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.

The need for an expanded continuum

Wes Fyrer (
2006), an educational consultant, 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 as
similate 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 ef
fectively 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 than
integrate into the native culture. The
y 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
actively oppose it, to deny the existence of a ch
anged 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 and immigrant traits. As a result, digital br
idges are able to
communicate relatively effectively with both groups.

The Undecided:

These people have not made up their mind about which group
they fit into, or which group they want to fit into. They are likely 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 students they teach? David Warlick
blogs abo
ut Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants and warns educators to not 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 behin
d 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 kids in lots of ways. They have the luxury o
f 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 Technologies at
Harvard Graduate School of Edu
cation, 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
based learning style synthesize and process
eriences 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 digital world are just beginning. And one of
the clear indicators of natives and immigrants will not be simply 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 success in
our professions. However, the children we teach today do not have that choice.
Students must acquire a high degr
ee 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 means educators will need to immerse thems
elves 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 Obling
er (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 informa
tion 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 the world in via cell phones, handheld ga
ming 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 they play with users they have
never met
who live around the world. Everywhere they go in society

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 gr
andparents 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 Ia
n 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 lang
uage (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

Digital Native Learners

Digital Immigrant Teachers

efer 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 single or limited

Prefer pro
cessing 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,
and sequentially.

Prefer to interac
t/network simultaneously with
many others.

Prefer students to work independently rather
than network and interact.

Prefer to learn "just

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

Prefer instant gratification and instant rewards.


deferred gratification and deferred

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 und
erstand 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 j
ob 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 gen
eration 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. Schools must
be willing to redesign the
mselves 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 math. However, the concept of literac
y 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 organized,
where we find it, what we use to view it, what we do with it, an
d 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 co
nnections 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 how we use the
Internet in the 21st Centu
ry 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
peer soci
al connections and to open new avenues for learning environments that
go beyond those that are linear, teacher
centered and lecture
based to ones that
are divergent, dynamic, student
centered, constructive, and communication

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 connections 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
erspectives. 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 n
ow 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
learning approaches 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 concepts, methods, strategies, and
logies. 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
constructivist learning
. 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 conclusions
about the world around them. Auth
or 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 intelligence. This is a set of skills that inc
ludes how one handles
emotions, deals with frustration, or resolves conflict." Through our creative use of
the vast array of web
based social networking tools our students become
researchers, writers, videographers, and activists rather than passive receiv
ers 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. Collaboration is the focus of that learning.


, W. (Friday, October 20, 2006).
Digital refugees and bridges
. Retrieved December 31, 2006
from http://www.infinitethinking.org/2006/10/digital

Goleman, D. (1996).
Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ
. London:
oomsbury Publishing.

Jukes, I., Dosaj, A., & Macdonald, B. (2001),
NetSavvy: Building Information literacy in the
. California: Corwin.

Jukes, I & Dosaj, A. (February, 2003). The InfoSavvy Group. Excerpts from Apple's
Digital tools
for digital stu

website: apple.com/education/digital.

Oblinger, D. and Oblinger,J. (2005).
Educating the net gen
. Retrieved January 5, 2007 from

Prensky, M. (2001a).
Digital natives, digital immigrants
. Retrieve
d January 5, 2007 from

Pruitt, C. (May 5, 2005).
The next decade of educational media
. An interview with Christopher
Dede. Retrieved January 5, 2007 from

Beach, S. (2003).
The last generation
. A Tapestry of Knowledge, Volume III. Virginia:
Letton Gooch, 2003.

Richardson, W. (2006).
Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms
California: Corwin.

Warlick , D. (2004).
efining literacy for the 21st century
. Ohio: Linworth Publishing Inc.

Warlick, D. (February 15, 2006).
Act like a native
. Retrieved December 31, 2006 from


couldn’t find this to p
rint online, but it is in the
red folder

Personal Use of Technology




Search engine

every day for research

Educational Games:

vocab powerpoints, vocab electronic flash cards,

test review jeopardy

Web Publishing Software:

Teacher webpage, BnB websites

Text Messaging, Instant Messaging:

daily personal use


RSS on wikispac

Portable Media players:

Phone music & video

Online Communities:

MySpace, Facebook, etc.


Caesar movie


couldn’t find this to print online, but it is in the
red folder

Student Focus Group Protocol

I selected two students fo
r each of the three categories. Have them in mind, but did not
write their names.

Student Use of Technology

need to complete
log of frequency of use for each technology (
red folder


for teachers filling out the log after interviewing their


Rubric for Learning Log Entries

Scoring Criteria

Scoring Levels






Completes all
aspects of the
activity with

Completes all
aspects of the

Completes some
of the

Does not complete
the activity

of Course

demonstrates a
understanding of
course concepts

demonstrates a
understanding of
course concepts

some (limited)
understanding of
se concepts

demonstrates little
or no
understanding of
course concepts

Application of
Course Content

definite and
application of
course concepts

demonstrates a
clear application
of course

limited evidence
of application of
course concepts

demonstrates little
or no evidence of
application of
course concepts

Learning Log Entry

See Page 14 in your Folder

You need to take the answers that you jotted notes on for the 5 questions th
at proceed the
prompt in question 6 and synthesize them into an answer for your learning log.



See the Venn Diagram
and reflection question responses
in red folder




The next step is the discussion topi
c I posted in the Technology reflection discussion
board for my class.




Technology Reflection Question #1


This question is intednded to follow the Reflection Activity you
completed in unit 2 (the Venn Diagram you fi
lled out about 15/28 of the
way through the unit):

A) List one way you use technology that your students do not.

B) List one way your students use technology that you do not.

C) List one way your use of technology overlaps with that of your


A) I rely on email as my primary means of communicating with
colleagues and friends while my students do not. Many of them tell me
they only open their email when they are expecting something from a

B) Online gaming. My students participa
te in collaboritve online games.
I'd love to do this, but I haven't had the time or enough inclination to set
it up. When I actually have time to play a video game with friends, we
are together in the same house, while our students are often playing
er over the Internet.

C) Wikispaces. This is a place where I can send my students in a given
direction with an assignment, but they have the freedom to create where
they go in terms of researhc, collaboration, and publishing their work.


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Copyright 2007 Learning Sciences International. All Rights Reserved

Next is this article:

Do They Really Think Differently?

By Marc Prensky

On the Horizon

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

© 2001 Marc Pr

Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures.

Dr. Bruce D. Berry, Baylor College of Medicine

Our children today are being socialized in a way that is vastly different from their
parents. The numbers are overwhelming: over 10,0
00 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 l
college. And, maybe,
at the very most
, 5,000 hours of book reading. These are
today's "Digital Native" students.

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

as a result of the digital input they
received growing up
. And I submitted that learning via digital g
ames 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,
social psychology, and from studies done on children using games for learning.


ugh 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,


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 thin
k, and that these transformations go on
throughout life
. The brain i
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.
(Although the popular term

is somewhat misleading, the overall idea is

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 replaced by research showing that our supply of brain cells is
replenished constantly.

The brain

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

One of the earliest pioneers in this field of neurological 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 consistent overall
growth, leading to the conclusion that
the brain maintains its plasticity for life

r 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.

Imaging e
xperiments have shown that when blind people learn Braille,
"visual" areas of their brains lit up. Similarly, deaf people use their auditory
cortex to read signs.

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.

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

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

Intensive reading instruct
ion experiments with students aged 10 and up
appeared to create lasting chemical changes in key areas of the subjects'

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

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."


Social psychology also provides strong evidence that one's thinking patterns
change depending on one's experiences. Until very recently Western
philosophers and psychologists t
ook it for granted that the same basic processes
underlie all human thought. While cultural differences might dictate what people
, the


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

Research by social psychologists

shows 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 think that everybody uses categories in the same way, that logic
plays the same kind of role f
or 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."


now know that brains that undergo different developmental experiences
develop differently, and that people who undergo different inputs from the culture
that surrounds them think differently. And while we haven't yet directly observed
Digital Natives' bra
ins 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 patterns do not just change overnight. A key finding
of brain plasticity research is that br
ains do

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

"It requires very hard work."

Biofeedback requires upwards of 50 sessions to produce r

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, because "it takes
sharply focused attention to rewire a brain

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

arrived in 1974. They 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 written
language and reading (where the brain had to be retrained to deal with things in
a hi
ghly linear way.)

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

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

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 days 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.

ildren 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 were
parallel, not sequential

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

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

We now kno
w 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 a
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 media include reading visual images as representations of
dimensional space (representat
ional 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 simultaneously), and
responding faster to expected and unexpected stimuli.

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 predecessors

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

Sure they have short attention spans

for the old ways of learning," says a

Their attention spans are

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

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

So it generally isn't that Digital Natives

pay attention, it's that
choose not to

Research done for
Sesame Street

reveals th
at 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 experiment, half the children were shown
the program in a room filled with toys. As expected, the gr
oup 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 tested for how
much of the show they remembered and understood, the scores were exactly the
ame. "We were led to the conclusion that the 5
olds in the toys group were
attending quite strategically, distributing their attention between toy play and
viewing 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."

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

in the Digital
Natives' "reprogramming" process?

One key area that appears to have been affected is
. 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

of "learning from
experience." In our twitch
speed world, there is less and less time and
opportunity for reflection, and this development concerns many people. One of
the most interesting challenges and opportunities in teaching Digital

Natives is to
figure out and invent ways to

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

Digital Natives accustomed to the twitch
speed, multitasking, random
first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick
payoff world of their video
games, MTV, and Internet are

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

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

which have profound implications for their learning

are almost totally ignored by

The cognit
ive 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 structures capable of meeting the Digital Natives' changing learning needs
and requirements is t
he 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 criticize today's learning games, and there is much to criticize.
But if some of these games don
't produce learning it is

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

well designed


produce learning, and lots of

by and while engaging kids.

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

and often a sneer

it is a big help to the Digital Natives.
After all, this is a medium th
ey 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 three hours of instruction time in a
typical 9 to 3 day.

So assuming, for example, that lear
ning games were only
50% educational, if you could get kids to play them for six hours over a weekend,
you'd effectively add a day a week to their schooling! Six hours is far less than a
Digital Native would typically spend over a weekend watching TV and p
videogames. The trick, though, is to make the learning games compelling enough
to actually be used in their place.
They must be

games, not just drill with
candy, combined creatively with


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 respecti
vely over the control
groups, while the math problem solving and math procedures and algorithms
scores were 51 and 30 percent higher.

Click Health, which makes games 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 gains in self
communication with parents and diabetes self
care. And more importan
tly, urgent
doctor visits for diabetes
related problems declined 77 percent in the treatment

Scientific Learning's
Fast ForWard

based program for retraining kids with
reading problems conducted National Field Trials using 60 independent
ssionals 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

Again an
d again it's the same simple story. Practice

time spent on learning

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


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

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
n'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

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

teaching the handicapped and the military

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

Yet these educators know

is wrong, because they are not reaching
their Digital Native 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 their suddenly
effective traditional methods until they retire and
the Digital Nat
ives take over.

Or they can chose instead to

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

The route they ultimately choose

and the education of their Digital Native

depends very much on us.

Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed thought leader, spea
ker, writer, consultant, and
game designer in the critical areas of education and learning. He is the author of Digital Game
Based Learning (McGraw
Hill, 2001), founder and CEO of Games2train, a game
based learning
company, and founder of The Digital Multi
plier, an organization dedicated to eliminating the digital
divide in learning worldwide. He is also the creator of the sites (www.SocialImpactGames.com),
(www.DoDGameCommunity.com) and (www.GamesParentsTeachers.com). Marc holds an MBA
from Harvard and a M
asters in Teaching from Yale. More of his writings can be found at
(www.marcprensky.com/writing/default.asp). Contact Marc at marc@games2train.com.



These numbers 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):


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.

mails and Instant Messages:

Average 40 per day x 365 x 15 years = 219, 000. This is
not unrealistic even for pre

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

and most people do multiple connections.


"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 Paren
ts 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.


There are roughly 18 30
second commercials during a TV hour. 18
commercials/hour x 3.3 hours/day x 365 days x 20 year
s (infants

commercials) =


Eric Leuliette, a voracious (and meticulous) reader who has listed online every
book he has ever read (www.csr.utexas.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 hours. This represents a little over 3 hours/book. Although others may
read more slowly, most have read far fewer

books than Leuliette.


Paul Perry in
American Way
, May 15, 2000.


Renate Numella Caine and Geoffrey Caine,
Making Connections: Teaching and the
Human Brain
, Addison
Wesley, 1991, p.31.


Dr. Mriganka Sur,
, April 20, 2000.


Sandra Blakeslee,
New York Tim
, April 24, 2000.


Leslie Ungerlieder, National Institutes of Health.


James McLelland, University of Pittsburgh.


Cited in
Inferential Focus Briefing
, September 30, 1997.


Virginia Berninger, University of Washington,
American Journal of Neuroradiology
, May



Dr. Mark Jude Tramo of Harvard. Reported in
USA Today

December 10, 1998.


, January 1, 2000.


They include Alexandr Romanovich Luria (1902
1977), Soviet pioneer in
neuropsychology, author of
The Human Brain and Psychological Processes

more recently, Dr. Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan.


Quoted in Erica Goode, "How Culture Molds Habits of Thought,"
New York Times
August 8, 2000.


John T. Bruer,
The Myth of the First Three Years
, The Free Press, 1999, p. 155.


G. Ried Lyo
n, a neuropsychologist who directs reading research funded by the National
Institutes of Health, quoted in Frank D. Roylance "Intensive Teaching Changes Brain,"
, Maryland's Online Community, May 27, 2000.


Alan T. Pope, research psychologist, Human
Engineering Methods, NASA. Private


, July 5, 1999.


The Economist
, December 6, 1997.


Kathleen Baynes, neurology researcher, University of California

Davis, quoted in
Robert Lee Hotz "In Art of Language, the Brain Matters "
Los Angeles T
, October 18,


Dr. Michael S. Gazzaniga, neuroscientist at Dartmouth College quoted in Robert Lee
Hotz "In Art of Language, the Brain Matters "
Los Angeles Times
, October 18, 1998.


William D. Winn, Director of the Learning Center, Human Interface
Laboratory, University of Washington, quoted in Moore,
Inferential Focus Briefing



Peter Moore,
Inferential Focus Briefing
, September 30, 1997.




Patricia Marks Greenfield,
Mind and Media, The Effects of Television, Video Games and
, Harvard University Press, 1984.


Dr. Edward Westhead, professor of biochemistry (retired), University of Massachusetts.


Graesser, A.C., & Person, N.K. (1994) "Question asking during tutoring,".
Educational Research Journal
, 31, 104


Elizabeth Lorch, psychologist, Amherst College, quoted in Malcolm Gladwell,
The Tipping
Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
, Little Brown & Company, 2000, p.


John Kernan, President, The Lightspan Partnership. Personal communication.


aluation of Lightspan. Research Results from 403 schools and over 14,580 students,"
February 2000, CD ROM.


Debra A. Lieberman, "Health Education Video Games for Children and Adolescents:
Theory, Design and Research Findings," paper presented at the annual
meeting of the
International Communications Association, Jerusalem, 1998.


Scientific Learning Corporation, National Field Trial Results (pamphlet.) See also
et al
., "Temporal Processing Deficits of language
Learning Impaired Children
by Training" and Tallal,
et al
., "Language Comprehension in Language
Learning Impaired Children Improved with Acoustically Modified Speech," in
Vol. 271, January 5, 1996, pp 27
28 & 77


Michael Parmentier, Director, Office of Readiness and Trai
ning, Department of Defense,
The Pentagon. Private briefing.


Don Johnson, Office of Readiness and Training, Department of Defense, The Pentagon.
Private briefing.

***Fill in L and D columns of KLD chart at this time.***

Prediscussion Activity: Student T
hinking patterns

Answer questions in
red folder

about Pensky’s article (malleability & neuroplasticity).

Student Thinking patterns



The next step is the discussion topic I posted in the
Student Thinking Patterns
board for my class.




Student Thinking patterns Questions #1


Do you buy into the idea that students can learn from educational video
games, or other similar stimuli that engage their interest for extended

periods of time to teach them

Is this the modern version of "drill & practice" for the Digital native?


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"Engage Me or Enrage Me"

What Today's Learners Demand

y Marc Prensky

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

Kip Leland, Los Angeles Virtual Academy

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


The students who are truly self

These are the ones all teachers

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


The students who go through the motions.

These are

the ones who,
although in their hearts they feel that what is being taught has little 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 n
ight before the test to achieve a passing grade and
become at least somewhat successful students. Their motto: "We have
learned to ‘play school.' "


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 than 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, thei
r TV
stars, their game designers

work really hard to earn it. When what is
being offered 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 gr
oup? "Engage me or enrage me."

While our schools and education system today deal with 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 de
mand. And
believe me, they're enraged.

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

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

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

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 com
munication, 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 eng

something that they do and that they are good at,
something that has an engaging, 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
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 addresses.
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 stressful

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 other life, other than the pretty graphics." To
answer this, I recently looked at the three most popular (i.e., best
computer and video games in the marketplace. T
hey were, as of June 2004:
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 si
tes, these
games promise the kids who buy and play them some very interesting
experiences: "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 e
xactly what we promise our kids in school.

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…"
"Lead…" "Don't work alone."

Not exactly descriptions of today's classrooms and courses!

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

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 they 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 p
ersonalized 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 k
ids are so enraged

they know their stuff is

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

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


and I think that this is the case

kids are challenging us, their
educators, to engage them at their level, even with the 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 t
he 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" every time they go to class.

In my view, it's not "relevance" that's lacking for this generation, it's engagement.
What's the relevance of
, or
, or
n Idol
? The kids will
master systems ten times more complex than algebra, understand systems ten
times more complex than the simple economics we require of them, and read far
above their grade level

when the goals are worth it to them. On a recent BBC

Child of Our Time
, a four
year old who was a master of the complex video
Halo 2

was being offered so
called "learning games" that were light
below his level, to his total frustration and rage.

The fact is that even if you are the most engaging
style teacher in the world,
you are not going to capture most of our students' attention the old way.
short attention spans," as one professor put it, "are [only] for the old ways of
learning." They certainly don't have short attention spans for

their games,
movies, music, or Internet surfing. More and more, they just don't tolerate the old

and they are enraged we are not doing better by them.

So we have to find how to present our curricula in ways that engage our

not just to creat
e new "lesson plans," not even just to put the
curriculum online. The BBC, for example, has been given £350 million by the
British government to create a "digital curriculum." They have concluded that
almost all of it should be game
based, because if it do
esn't engage the students,
that will be £350 million down the tube, and they may not get a second chance.
But they are struggling in this unfamiliar world.

So how can and should they

and we

do this? As with games, we need to
fund, experiment, and iterate.

Can we afford it? Yes, because ironically, creating
engagement is not about those fancy, expensive graphics but rather about ideas.
Sure, today's video games have the best graphics ever, but kids' long
engagement in a game depends much less on what t
hey see than on what they
do and learn.
In gamer terms, "gameplay" trumps "eyecandy" any day of the

And if we educators don't start coming up with some damned good curricular
gameplay for our students

and soon

they'll all come to school wearing (at
least virtually in their minds) the T
shirt I recently saw a kid wearing in New York
City: "It's Not ADD

I'm Just Not Listening!"

So hi there, I'm the tuned
out kid in the back row with the headphones. Are you
going to engage me today or enrage me? The cho
ice is yours.

Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed thought leader, speaker, writer, consultant, and
game designer in the critical areas of education and learning. He is the author of Digital Game
Based Learning (McGraw
Hill, 2001), founder 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 worldwide. He is also the creator of the sites (www.SocialImpactGames.com),
.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/default.asp). Contact Marc at marc@games2train.com.

Engaged Students, Engaged

Teachers enter the profession for a variety of reasons: a passion for children, the
love of content, to right a wrong, the security and predictability of a schedule.
Regardless of their motivation to enter the profession, many teachers are not
aying. Statistics tell us that "annually, approximately 100,000 teachers graduate
from our nation's colleges of education. Of that number less than 60 percent will
ever enter the classroom after graduating. Of those that do, nearly 50 percent will
leave te
aching within the first five years" (Hull, 2004). These are staggering
statistics! Many researchers have postulated on the reasons for the very high
attrition rate of teachers.

One of the primary reasons I have observed for teacher's job dissatisfaction is

the inability to establish a relationship with their students and their
discouragement with their students' motivation. If a teacher feels he cannot relate
to his students or that he cannot connect them to his content, regardless of his
efforts, he is lik
ely to get discouraged and flee the profession. The more isolated
a teacher's work is the more quickly a teacher becomes dissatisfied and
discouraged. This text will explore why teachers are leaving the profession and
how we can change the culture to help
them find more success with their
students and more community within their schools.

Why are teachers leaving?

Buckley, Schneider, and Shang, in a study funded in part by the Ford Foundation
and the 21st Century School Fund, suggest that the factors influ
encing a
teacher's decisions to leave the profession are divided into teacher factors,
school factors, and community factors. Teacher factors include the relatively low
salary ranges, the degree of idealism teachers bring to their job, and the
s of their teacher preparation program. These researchers found that
the higher the teachers' idealism, the greater the risk of losing them to attrition.
This indicates that high expectations are easily dashed by the demands of the

School factors affe
ct the commitment of new and veteran teachers differently.
Rosenholtz and Simpson (1990) show evidence that student behavior
management and non
teaching responsibilities affect new teachers' decisions to
stay in the profession, while experienced teachers a
re more concerned about the
freedom to make and act on their decisions regarding instruction and curriculum.
"Other important predictors of teachers' commitment include performance
efficacy and psychic rewards" (Buckley, Schneider, Shang 2006). The way a
eacher views his or her performance may affect his or her decision to stay in the
classroom. If a teacher is feeling overwhelmed and disconnected from her
students and colleagues, her psyche may be affected negatively, causing her to
consider leaving the p
rofession. If a teacher consistently gets negative feedback
from supervisors or clients, he may consider changing his situation. Negative
feedback can come from supervisors who, for example, only use summative
assessments instead of ongoing feedback and su
pport. It can come from
students who are disengaged with the content or activity that the teacher has
presented or prepared.

Other school factors articulated by teachers who have left the field include
scarcity of resources, high stakes accountability, and

prescribed curricula

Hammond and Sykes, 2003). These factors may not be easily
remediated, but working in a collegial, supportive environment can soften the
blow of these external factors. Shortages and mandates can be overcome when
a faculty wor
ks together toward a common goal.

Community factors contributing to the high attrition of today's teachers include
constantly changing educational policies
, unfunded mandates from state
legislatures and federal government officials, and the costly credenti
processes in many states. Lack of reciprocity among state certification boards
may further discourage teachers who relocate to a new state from getting new

"Another important factor in the retention decision may be the social status of
eachers in the broader community" (Tye and O'Brien, 2002). Teachers may feel
that the public has misguided and contradictory perceptions of their jobs.
public has high expectations for teachers, yet shows little respect for teachers as
. F
inally, budget cuts affect a teacher's commitment to stay the
course. Budget cuts can determine a teacher's physical plant, supply source, and
class size. The uncertainty created by this type of environment can influence a
teacher's decision to stay in tea

What will make them stay?

Marc Prensky in his article,
Engage me, or enrage me: What today's learners
, contends that teachers need to reach three types of students in
meaningful ways each day. These types are those that do school well and e
it, those that can manage the system successfully but without enthusiasm, and
those who refuse to participate because they see no relevancy to their lives in
school or school
related activities. Prensky applauds the critical need to engage
all student
s in their academic learning; I extol the need to engage all teachers in
their professional learning and development. We are faced with students with
different levels of engagement and ability every day, so are we faced with
teachers with different levels
of commitment to teaching and professional know
how. The National Education Association (NEA) suggests in its
Recruitment and
retention guidebook

that to keep teachers and to foster their development as
professional educators, the following retention strat
egies must be carefully
attended to:

Prepare teachers adequately

Nurture new teachers

Improve the working environment

Provide financial incentives

Attending to these retention strategies will engage new and veteran teachers in
the business of school an
d student achievement.

Teacher preparation programs

Recent research by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future
(NCTAF) suggests that adequate preparation significantly reduces the attrition
rate of first year teachers. The commission bel
ieves strong academic
preparation, strong clinical practice, and grounding in modern learning
technologies are critical components of a quality teacher preparation program
(NEA, 2003).

Modern learning technologies are those instructional strategies that en
teachers to use, for example, a variety of groupings, multiple assessments,
student choice, discovery activities, intentional questioning techniques, and
increased wait time when planning their lessons. Teacher preparation programs
must ensure that

students not only learn about these processes, but that
students have time to practice and become proficient at implementing them
successfully with children in the classroom. The problem lies in the differences
between programs and the skill sets of the c
andidates who graduate from these
programs. Teacher preparation programs require different field experiences and
internships for their students. Some depend on the state licensure requirements
and some depend on the value placed on these practice based exp
within the college or university itself.

In response to these differences the National Council for Accreditation of
Teacher Education (NCATE) has developed standards for teacher education
programs. Programs accredited by NCATE are endorsed by the
NEA and other
governing bodies.

One of these standards suggests the need for cultural education and the
articulation of the challenges characteristic of many rural and urban districts in
our country. Classroom demographics are ever changing, and te
preparation programs that stress the need to understand and practice in diverse
cultures may reduce the risk of teacher attrition in the future by preparing
teachers to find success in many different school environments.

Nurture new (and veteran) t

All teachers need room to learn and grow in their work environment. Many
schools and districts have programs in place to support new teachers. These
include induction programs, mentoring, and new teacher orientation.

Induction programs are designed

to have new teachers spend their first year of
service orienting themselves to their new environment. Participants in these
programs may be new to the profession or to the district. The content of the
induction program ranges from administrative tasks to
professional learning
opportunities. Several professional organizations suggest criteria for effective
induction programs. The Southeast Center for Teacher Quality (SCTQ) sets the
following criteria for successful induction programs:

Provide new teachers w
ith specific expectations

Familiarize new teachers with organizational rituals

Help new teachers to apply knowledge, skill beliefs, and attitudes
necessary to be successful in their jobs

Provide new teachers with ongoing guidance and assessment by a tra

Assist new teachers in meeting licensure standards

This particular set of criteria exemplifies an exerted effort to connect the new
teacher to his or her work context and professional colleagues, thereby engaging