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Teaching Digital Natives


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Table of Contents

About the Author Introduction: Our Changing World: Technology and Global Society What Today's Students Want Partnering and Twenty-first Century Technology REAL, Not Just Relevant Motivation Through Passion Teaching for the Future The Road to a Pedagogy of Partnering 1. Partnering: a Pedagogy for the New Educational Landscape Moving Ahead How Partnering Works Establishing Roles and Mutual Respect Getting Motivated to Partner With Your Students 2. Moving to the Partnership Pedagogy Seeing Your Students Differently Setting Up Your Classroom to Facilitate Partnering Choosing Your Partnering "Level": Basic, Directed, Advanced Technology and Partnering: Nouns vs. Verbs Partnering and The Required Curriculum Taking Your First (or Next) Steps into Partnering 3. Think "People and Passions" rather than "Classes and Content" Learn your students' interests and passions Living Out the Partnering Roles More Ideas 4. Always be REAL (not Just Relevant) A New Perspective Making Our Subjects REAL More Ways to Make Things REAL Always Think "Future" 5. Planning: Content to Questions, Questions to Skills Using Guiding Questions Focus on the appropriate verbs 6. Using Technology in Partnering Technology is the Enabler Technology and Equity: To Each His or Her Own Let the Students Use All Technology Using the Appropriate Nouns (Tools) for the Guiding Questions and Verbs 7. Understanding the "Nouns," or Tools 8. Let Your Students Create A real, World Audience Aim High / Raise the bar 9. Continuous Improvement Through Practice and Sharing Improving Through Iteration Improving Through Practice Improving Through Sharing More Ways to Help Yourself Improve 10. Assessment in the Partnership Pedagogy Useful Assessment: Beyond Summative and Formative Assessing Students' Progress Assessing Teachers' Progress Assessing Administrators' Progress Assessing Parents' Progress Assessing Schools' Progress Assessing Our Nation's Progress, and the World's Conclusion: The (Not Too Distant) Future of Education What Should A New Curriculum Be?: Essential Twenty-first Century Skills Using the Partnership Pedagogy With New Curricula Creating Schools With Partnering In Mind Toward a Twenty-first Century Education for All Index

About the Author

Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, consultant, futurist, visionary, and inventor in the critical areas of education and learning. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books and over 60 articles on education and learning, including multiple articles in Educational Leadership, Educause, Edutopia, and Educational Technology. Marc's presentations around the world challenge and inspire audiences by opening up their minds to new ideas and approaches to education. One of his critically important perspectives is to look at education through the eyes of the students-during his talks, he interviews hundreds of students every year. Marc's professional focus has been on reinventing the learning process, combining the motivation of student passion, technology, games, and other highly engaging activities with the driest content of formal education. He is the founder of two companies: Games2train, an e-learning company whose clients include IBM, Bank of America, Microsoft, Pfizer, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Florida's and Los Angeles's Virtual Schools; and Spree Learning, an online educational games company. Marc is one of the world's leading experts on the connection between games and learning, and was called by Strategy+Business magazine "that rare visionary who implements." He has designed and built over 50 software games in his career, including worldwide,multiuser games and simulations that run on all platforms, from the Internet to cell phones. MoneyU (, his latest project, is an innovative, engaging, and effective game for teaching financial literacy to high school and college students. Marc is also the creator of and products and ideas are innovative, provocative, and challenging, and they clearly show the way of the future. The NewYork Times,The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek,TIME, Fortune, and The Economist have all recognized Marc's work. He has appeared on FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS's Computer Currents, the Canadian and Australian Broadcasting Corporations, and the BBC. Marc also writes a column for Educational Technology. He was named as one of training's top "New Breed of Visionaries" by Training magazine and was cited as a "guiding star of the new parenting movement" by Parental Intelligence Newsletter. Marc's background includes master's degrees from Yale, Middlebury, and Harvard Business School (with distinction). He has taught at all levels, from elementary to college. He is a concert musician and has acted on Broadway. He spent six years as a corporate strategist and product development director with the Boston Consulting Group and worked in human resources and technology on Wall Street.


"Marc Prensky's understanding of how school-age digital natives learn underpins his prescient 'pedagogy of partnering.' He looks to the learner as the first consideration in the educational equation. The insightful advice and gentle guidance Marc provides classroom teachers directly assist them in moving powerful digital tools into the right hands...their students'! Marc's understanding that the pedagogy of partnering is built on a relationship of co-learning is fundamental to the 21st-century classroom. This book looks to the future with an urgent spirit of possibility and promise!" -- David Engle, Superintendent
"In Teaching Digital Natives, Marc Prensky redefines the whole problem of digitally savvy kids being taught by un-digitally-savvy teachers. Rather than bemoaning, as nearly everyone else has, what teachers do not know, he celebrates what they do know and what they can do. He shows how teachers and students together can pool knowledge and engage in collective intelligence to make both teachers and students-and society-smarter in the act.This book is a must-read for anyone interested in school reform and 21st-century learning." -- James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Chief Learning Scientist, Center for Games and Impact
"Core curriculum, 21st-century skills, rigor, and methodology are outlined in a way all educators can appreciate and implement. Teaching Digital Natives is a must for all educators who strive to meet the emerging demands of our profession." -- Jere Vyverberg, Superintendent
"Prensky takes the task of marshalling 21st-century technologies for classroom instruction to a practical level that teachers can both understand and apply immediately. The concept of partnering and allowing both teachers and students to capitalize on their strengths clarifies the issue for educators. The good news: teachers don't have to be masters of technology to master the 21st-century classroom. Prensky has developed a new map for a new era of teaching and learning that educators will find a breeze to navigate, and well worth the trip!" -- Jon Ben-Asher, Principal
"In Teaching Digital Natives, Prensky laments the fact that many educators today think students have short attention spans. He points out that although this may be true in the context of school, most students concentrate just fine on things that interest them. The book then explains to educators how to make school an interesting place for students with a partnering pedagogy." -- Lisa Nielsen, Educator, Speaker, Author
"Teaching Digital Natives is a must-read book for those of us who use technology, those who need more details about why we must use technology in our teaching, and for all teachers of teachers to use as a crucial text in their classes." -- Ted Nellen, Teacher
"Marc Prensky assimilates teaching, learning, and technology into a brilliant how-to for 21st-century teachers and students. This book will set the educational preparation world on its heels with a compelling argument for positive change." -- Lawrence L. Smith, Professor of Elementary Education
"This book is a must-read for any educator who wants to successfully work with the digital generation." -- Ian Jukes, Author of Teaching the Digital Generation
"A truly great and inspiring book. Teaching Digital Natives is required reading for educators who want to reach out and engage students in their classrooms." -- Randon Ruggles, Teacher
"Marc Prensky's introduction of the partnering concept for teaching and learning is brilliant in its simplicity. The real power of Teaching Digital Natives is that the author has carefully defined and redefined the roles of teachers, learners, and parents with concrete examples and practical hints. I found myself anticipating each 'practical tips' box with excitement. Finally someone has written a book for teachers that goes beyond pedagogy and philosophy, giving teachers something they can use on Monday morning!" -- Sandy Fivecoat, CEO
"Loved, loved, loved it!" -- Amber Teamann, Title I Technology Facilitator
"This wonderful book should be mandatory reading for all teachers and administrators. I am changing my teaching style to be more proactive. I want to be a teacher who coaches and motivates students for a better future." -- Angela Johnson, Spanish Teacher
"Does a very good job of delineating the world inhabited by the current generation of learners and the implications for teachers and those who run schools." -- Greg Kearsley
"Marc Prensky has one of the best "pulses" on today's students, and I believe in his new book he has provided us with some brilliant suggestions. I encourage all K-12 teachers to read the book, and I challenge all educators to use Marc's suggestions in their teacher preparation programs. We will all do a better job if we attend to the content of this book. It is an outstanding contribution to education." -- Lawrence L. Smith, PhD, Professor of Elementary Education
"I would definitely use this book with Masters-level and doctoral students in teacher education to provoke them to think about teaching and learning in more critical and innovative ways. Reading Prensky's book would be a catalyst for giving partnering, coaching, guiding, questioning, and facilitating versus telling more time in their classrooms. I hear many teachers say they want to be coaches and guides in their classrooms, but they don't know how to do this. In this book, Prensky lays out ways they can accomplish this goal."
Prensky's book has the potential to impact both policy and practice in education, and it definitely provides a vision for the future regarding what 21st century teaching and learning should be like. Prensky offers a highly innovative, forward thinking, critical, and potentially transformative way of thinking about the connections between teaching and learning for 21st century students, our digital natives."
-- Dr. Barbara B. Levin, Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education
"I am using your book Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning with my class (Technology and Instruction) because it is, in my opinion, the first book that has it all! To that end, we are blogging together on each of the chapters. All the best and keep writing great things... you are an inspiration!" -- Whittney Smith, Ed.D. Adjunct Professor of Technology and Learning, High School Principal
"I am using your book in the graduate course I am teaching. I am a middle school Assistant Principal on Long Island and completely embrace your theory on teaching as partnering. I know we are in an educational crisis, our kids are BORED, especially at the secondary level. The concept of Guided Questions reminds me of the training I had many years ago in Junior Great Books when I taught six grade to English language learners (guided inquiry questions). It's a strategy I completely embraced. I am hopeful to be part of the paradigm shift we so desperately need in our schools, which is why I am using your book." -- Susan Wright, Graduate Couse Instructor, Elementary School Assistant Principal
"After reading Marc Prensky's books and watching my son learn more from playing his video game than the 3 books I have made him read this summer, I have decided to try my very hardest to make my classroom a 21st Century classroom and partner with my students in their education. I have a passion for teaching in particular math and science, and hope I can use my passion to uncover my student's passions and interests. I want to thank Marc Prensky for writing his books and giving me the inspiration to be a better teacher." -- Emily, Teacher

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