Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Young Minds, Fast Times

Marc Prensky's article in the recent Edutopia raises some pretty crucial issues for educators. The synopsis of the article is:

Students have little input into the structure and substance of their own educaiton. The traditional classroom lecture creates massive boredom, especially when compared to the vibrancy of their media-saturated, tech-driven world. But if we were to ask the, we'd learn they prefer questions rather than answers, sharing their opinions, group projects, working with real-world issues, and teachers who speak with them as equals rather than as inferiors.

I found Prensky's denunciation of typical PowerPoint presentations as glorified chalkboard notes to be telling and disturbing.

I don't know that people will agree with the author on everything, but I have to say that he covers student disengagement and boredom pretty convincingly. It mirrors my own encounters with kids nicely. Somehow, I feel that a comparison to sports and the arts bears investigation. In those areas, kids are coached but ultimately have to stand on their own for a public display of their skills. It's only in the classroom where teachers do most everything for the students (i.e., the traditional lecture) and then the students give a private display of their knowledge (i.e., the test, essay, lab, research project, etc.).

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