Monday, February 23, 2009

Pendulum Swung too Far: Marc Prensky VS. Nicholas Carr

In his article Apopt and Adapt, Prensky makes a case for more technology in schools. Perhaps that's putting it too mildly. He implies so much more technology is needed that schools' curriculums are getting in the way of technology.

He argues that teachers and school are too conservative, too slow, and that schools: teacher and administrators, hang on to curriculum as if it is the last bastion of culture and the way things were. If Marc Prensky were to walk out of his software training and Games design office and into virtually any other business setting, would he really expect to find the technically advanced demographic that he isn't seeing in schools?

Prensky complains that although teachers have started using programs like powerschool, they are not changing their assignments. (Does he know what powerschool is?)

For our kids to be able to finally join the 21st century, all schools should be one-to-one, and all lessons, activities, and assignments should be digitally based. Because after all, the computer has become "extensions of the students' personal self and brain".

Nicholas Carr makes mention to the ideas of AI (artificial intelligence) and the computer as an extension of our brains in his article "Is Google Making us Stupider?". Carr desribes the possibility of becoming a society of "pancake people" spread too wide and too thin with access to uncountable volumes of information at the touch of a button. And how Google is working toward programming AI.

Although at times, I sensed that Carr was deliberately making a Socratic case in his article, I think that he too would find fault with Prensky's extreme position on the over-use of technology in schools.


  1. Although International Mother Language Day is now over, you may be interested in the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO's campaign for the protection of endangered languages.

    The following declaration was made in favour of Esperanto, by UNESCO at its Paris HQ in December 2008.

    The commitment to the campaign to save endangered languages was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations' Geneva HQ in September. or

  2. In 2008 Marc Prensky was hired to be the keynote speaker at our opening day in-service. I teach in East Penn School District in Pennsylvania. His presentation was absolutely awful. He knew nothing about our school district, repeated himself continually, made blanket assumptions without supplying research to support his statements. He was insulting, inflammatory, and completely full of hot air. He also had students on stage who he wanted to bad mouth our teaching staff so that they could make negative comments about the district. They did not, an he continued to ask leading questions over and over trying to solicit criticism that would coordinate with his horrendous presentation, but unfortunately for him- the students did not agree with his bashing of teachers in general. He kept using this annoying catch phrase of “If you don’t like it, there’s the door.” During our afternoon question and answer section he was rude, ignorant, defensive, and openly hostile. He kept obnoxiously repeating “If you don’t like it, there’s the door.” After hours of his berating, vacuous presentation, hundreds of our district employees took the only advice from him that was actually worthwhile: we got up and walked out.