Marc Prensky had some great points to make during his keynote yesterday at the VSTE conference.
The one that stood out for me was when he noted that kids used to grow up in the dark, intellectually speaking. Until they went to school where we slowly showed them the light.
Most homes didn’t have the kinds of information resources teachers had available in the classroom. That also gave us control over the pace at which knowledge was dispensed.
Today, kids grow up in the light. Look at the wide range of learning tools – IM, cell phone, web 2.0 sites, game consoles, TV, ipod, etc. – that many students have access to on a daily basis.
And then we bring them into school where we turn off all the lights. And conduct classes largely the same way we did when we were still in control.
Prensky also talked a lot about the need to change the relationship between students and teachers.
Essentially we need to stop running schools as if we are the keepers of all knowledge and respect that our kids have a lot that they can teach us.
We must partner with our students to share the work. Our job should be to involve our students in what we do: teaching.
As I said, Prensky had a very good message. Unfortunately, it was blunted somewhat by a poor slide show.
While it may seem a little shallow, bad color choices, a mashup of different fonts, and some jarring sounds distracts your audience from whatever you’re trying to say.
If you’d like to know more about Marc’s ideas from this talk, read Engage Me or Enrage Me (links to pdf).