Prensky Responses

Prensky Response 2.3

“Go forth and partner” is Prensky’s final statement. In your current career position, what steps can you take now to partner with students, parents, other educators, and globally?

In my current position as a kindergarten teacher I would like to partner with students in order to add peer assessment to the tools that I use. Although using peer assessment with this age group will take substantial forethought, I, like Prensky, believe that when students believe their work truly has an audience and the audience cares about their work, students also will develop an appreciation of the work of their peers and develop self-awareness of how their work compares to their peers. To partner with parents, I would like to start a classroom blog in which the class can make posts about the things they are doing in the classroom and in turn receive feedback from parents so they can be involved in their child’s learning as well as have a better understanding of how their child is acquiring knowledge in a 21st century way. AS for other educators at my school, I would like to pass along information and help facilitate the use of technology in the classrooms. Currently my school has one desktop computer in a few of the classrooms. These computers play only small select games for the students and are not utilized in any way, which engages the student’s in creating products to showcase their learning. Finally, globally, I think it is important to remain involved in the world of digital learning and seek out community to exchange ideas and support one another in the partnering process.

Describe a day in a 21st century classroom that uses “The Five Essential Metaskills for the 21st Century” on page 186 of Prensky’s book.

A day in the 21st century classroom using “The Five Essential Metaskills for the 21st Century” would first begin with students and teachers behaving ethically in their use of digital materials. Activities for students would encourage critical thinking skills. Not only would the students be engaged in critical thinking skills but they would also be partnering with the teacher to set goals for themselves. All of these skills would help to develop having good judgment as well as making good decisions. Next, the classroom would have evidence of significant planning because there would be purposeful activity going on in the classroom. Students would be solving problems, self-directed in learning, self-assessing, and using the information they gather to be iterating their experiences and adjusting. In this classroom, partnering is key and students will have opportunities for leadership in small groups and communicate and interact together in these small groups and use technology whenever possible. This communication and interaction will extend to the use of machines, a world audience and across cultures with learning emphasizing those relationships. While learning, students will adapt as needed using creative thinking and have the freedom to tinker and design in real time. Playing will be emphasized with dedicated play time and materials made available for students to use to tinker and design. Students will have opportunities to find their voice by sharing orally and presenting their work to their peers. Finally, students will be encouraged to practice reflecting with their learning, be proactive in their own learning experience and seek to continually improve through learning. Risk taking will be encouraged in the safe atmosphere of the classroom and the students will be taught to think beyond a single day but in longer terms of weeks of units.

Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives, partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Prensky Response  2.2

Discuss one or two points on which Prensky and Tim Brown would agree. Give at least one additional resource and tie it into your discussion. 

In chapter 8, Prensky discusses why it is important teachers understand what students want to create, and can create. In the past, “create” assignments are for the most part carbon copies of precisely the same thing; write this, cut out that, etc. The tools at students disposal should in turn also free teachers and students up to allow students to create at their maximum creative level without be restricted to carbon copy projects. Tim Brown’s presentation at the Serious Play Conference illustrates how children are taught to think inside the box and tools for creativity are taken away by early elementary school. This in turn seriously hinders children as they grow up because they can no longer think outside the box and be creative, as they have learned to doubt themselves and fear rejection. Interestingly enough, cultivating imagination is the key to student engagement. Edutopia blogger and “Science Evangelist” Ainissa Ramirez says “We must help children learn how to create ideas and exercise their imagination. It is important to carve out time for free play, because free play teaches the importance of imagination and helps build social and emotional development.” Something as innocent as toys themselves lend to a stop-gap in the imaginative process because instead of children creating their own toys the play is focused on the toy itself with closed-end play. Is it any wonder parents have boxes of broken and unused toys laying everywhere? All three professionals would agree that kids need to be kids and sometimes adults need to be kids too.


Describe what you think are the three most important reasons students should create projects. What is the role of technology in creating projects? Give examples for each reason either from your own teaching experience, the book, or any other source. 

Students should create projects for the following reasons: 1. Students are capable of exceptional levels of creativity and producing unique and interesting products. Prensky describes an exceptional movie making program/competition in Georgia in which students create short videos on global topics such as genetically modified food, immigration, and malaria to which the adult response was surprise at how far the students exceeded the teacher expectations (Prensky, p. 153) 2. Project creation gives students the capability to be engaged at high levels with the content they are learning. Prensky mentions a group of migrant children in Arizona who were previously passive, apathetic kids who have become excited journalists who create podcasts and videos that they post online. These students have in turn attended conferences as documenters (Prensky, p. 155). 3. Imagination allows students to play with concepts and strengthens the ability of students to create something new and build upon projects to create new and interesting products. As Ainissa Ramirez put it, “Buy a toy without an end goal, like a set of building blocks, and make something that isn’t one of the examples pictured on the storage box… it builds their imagination. Building with blocks now prepares children to build better ideas in the future.” (Ramirez, 2013)

Brown, T. (Performer) (2008). The powerful link between creativity and play [Web]. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2010).  Teaching digital natives, partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Ramirez, A. (2013, 10 9). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Prensky Response 2.1

1.  Give one Partnering example of each component of CReaTE and justify each example.

Cognitive Complexity

Students choose an inspiration for writing, such as a piece of artwork, and each student writes a beginning of the story and records it as a podcast.  Students in other classes listen to the story, create and develop the storyline further and records those as podcasts until the final group writes and records the conclusion of the story.  This is a level 5 because the students generate the project and create and produce a podcast in which they must analyze the previous authors in order to create coherancy.

Real World

Students research and select a method for growing fruits and vegetables in a urban environment.  The students select a method and create a plan of constructing, implementing and harvesting from the method for as much of the year as possible.  Finally student implement the long term project and harvest fruit and determine the long term viability of their plan based on the failure/ success of their chosen method.  This is a level 4 because the students can impact their school and community based on their findings.  The learning is integrated across the subject areas because students must collaborate together to learn different methods of planting (science), writing a plan (English), determining growing cycles and materials as well as building plans (math), and community involvement (social studies).

Technology Integration

Students collaborate with senior citizens to record a story from the senior’s childhood.  Student’s then write, record, and produce the story as a digital story to preserve history .  This is a level 4 because technology is embedded in the content into  a digital story.  Students must collaborate with each other and with the teacher.  In addition, the use of technology helps to solve the the authentic problem of losing the historical perspective by creating a product that is authentic with a real world connection.


Students watch a time lapse video of food decomposing.  Students create questions based on their viewing and collaborate with the teacher to select criteria for their experiment as well as select the materials they wish to use to engage in experimentation within a team of peer scientists.  Students present their findings after a 3 week time of observation and recorded data.  The students partner with the teacher to determine the content, process and project creating their own rubric at the beginning of the project.  The students use inquiry to study the content and collaborate with other students as a team to observe, record and determine their findings.


(2011). P21 common core toolkit: a guide to aligning the common core standards with the framework for 21st century learning. Washington, DC: Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from

Stephenson, N. (n.d.). Introdiction to inquiry based learning. Retrieved from

4.  What was your reaction to the “Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age – Session I. The Next Revolution in Learning”? What Prensky concepts agree with concepts in the video? From your experience, what would you add to the prayer for digital age children and why?

James Steyer, CEO and Founder, Common Sense Media makes a commendable plea to why every child should have access to and know how to use technology. In addition to students using the media, parents and teachers must also have a basic understanding of the media students are using. I agree that every child should be digital literate by 8th grade. The usefulness of digital literacy expands far beyond school, the workforce these students will enter will be immersed in the digital world. Even the task of finding a job, will most likely need basic digital skills to search for, apply and interview for a job. Prensky would agree that teachers and parents should partner with students in establishing roles and mutual respect (Prensky, p. 17). Prensky would also agree that students can live out the roles of researchers, experts and thinkers while using technology (Prensky, p. 63-65). The prayer Steyer gives for digital age children is powerful and encompasses all children everywhere. I feel that it should include praying for the adults in children’s lives to offer a helping hand to every child in need, to respect children and their contributions and finally to involve them in ever-changing ways to have a global impact. It is just as much about the adults as it is for the children in our society. Changing the mindset of teachers, parents and other influencers will impact children today and lead to greater impact in the future as these children become leaders in our world.

Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives: partnering for learning. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Steyer, J. (Performer). (2009, 12 3). Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age – Session I. The Next Revolution in Learning [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Prensky Response #2


  1. 1.     How do you prevent technology from taking over the curriculum essentials that you are trying to teach? What role do Prensky’s “verbs” and “nouns” pose in answering this question? Justify your answer.

In order to prevent technology from taking over the curriculum essentials we are trying to teach, the use of technology in the curriculum must be clear.  When we see technology as a tool to answer specific questions, the tool is used as a conduit to learn as well as practice as part of the task.  As Prensky suggests it is important for us to see the partnering and learning process focus on the skills or “verbs” as Prensky calls them and not on the tool or “nouns” (p.46).  Prensky suggests not getting attached to any particular tool, rather allow the skill to get blended in to the content that we are teaching.  By focusing on the skills, students learn why the content is important and the benefit they will derive from  practicing the skill is more meaningful and the students are more likely to be engaged.  Moreover, students need explicit goals in order to assist in maintaining this balance.  This assists in giving clear goals students can achieve in his or her own way (p. 47-49).  Finally, teachers must review and point out the connections and provide feedback on the quality, rigor, and context the students have provided (p. 49-50).

  1. 2.     In Dan Pink’s talk about the science of motivation, he says, “There is a mismatch between what science knows and what education does.” (Yes, I took the liberty of substituting “education” for “business”.) How do his three points (at the end of his talk) agree with Prensky’s teacher and student roles in partnering?

Pink gave three main points in regards to what is motivating:  autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  Autonomy means allowing people to have self-regulated experiences.  Mastery means the desire to develop competence for ones own-self, and purpose means to feel that there is a reason for what one is doing.  Pink’s talk mimics Prensky’s ideas in that, if we substitute “teacher” for “business” and “student” for “employee” we can see the agreement that occurs when teacher hosts the role of facilitating the experience and then review and give feedback to students in a supportive role.  The student’s role is be aware of the questions that need to be answered and commit themselves to answering those questions.  This relationship fosters creativity and authentic learning. When students have autonomy, mastery and purpose, the results according to Pink and Prensky should be a well-balanced and meaningful learning experience for the student.

  1. 3.     What does “passion-based learning” mean to you? Discuss three examples of how teachers (or you, if you are a teacher) can individualize instruction by using students’ passions.

As a teacher, “passion-based learning” means that my students are excited and invested in their own learning.  The learning the students experience is fueled by the student’s own curiosity and questions.  Some ways that allow for individualized instruction in the classroom include:

  1. Partner Smart:  Students self select their own partners, not based on friendship or other social factors but based on the partner that will help them to accomplish the bigger picture by playing to each persons strengths and learning from others with other strengths than their own.  This is described by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in Passion-based learning in the 21st century:  An interview with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach.
  2. Multiple Intelligences:  Keeping the multiple intelligences in mind, teachers can utilize the different avenues to arrive at the desired outcome.
  3. Student Guided Discovery:  Students ask questions and the teacher guides the students to figure out the answers to their questions and controls the environment to eventually lead to the intended outcome while fueling student’s passion for the topic.




Csikszentmihalyi, M. (Performer) (2004). Getting into the flow [Web]. Retrieved from

Norton, J. (2011, 04 22). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Pink, D. (Performer) (2009). What drives us to learn [Web]. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives, partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.


Prensky Response #1

  1.  Discuss the apparent contradiction of the video “I Need My Teachers to Learn” and Prensky’s comments that “teachers do not need to learn to use it [technology] themselves.” How could you compare the ultimate goal of both approaches? Your opinion?

Although there might be an apparent contradiction of the video “I Need My Teachers to Learn” and Prensky’s comments that “teachers do not need to learn to use it [technology] themselves” it is the presentation of these two videos that illustrates that the end goal of both approaches is the same.  In the video “I Need My Teachers to Learn” the author presents his idea with a song and illustrations that compliment and enhance his message of how 21st century students are being reprimanded for their use of technology without any thought by the teachers and administrators to how the use of the technology might actually enhance the student’s learning.  Here we can see that administrators and teachers hinder the use of technology by the students to express the student’s creative interaction with their learning.  It is not necessary for teachers to understand all the technology that is available in order for students to use technology as a tool for higher order thinking tasks.  Prensky on the other hand, uses a few images in his presentation, which is less creative, but arrives at the same conclusion.  Students need to have the freedom to use their “afterschool” learning skills in their regular school day.  Prensky’s assertion that students must power down in order to come to school to learn is a reminder that we must engage students and strive to meet their needs while giving them the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be successful adults.  In my opinion, each author is correct and students should have the ability to use technology appropriately.  In addition, teachers should be encouraged and supported in their efforts to learn new skills associated with using technology in the educational setting.  No teacher will ever be able to know all the technology options that are available, however, the mindset to be a perpetual learner and a consumer of technology for the enhancement of learning will undoubtedly be a step forward into securing a firm foundation for students in the digital age.

  1. Discuss one main point that Prensky poses in this week’s readings and provide links to and discussion about two or more articles, websites, videos, blogs, podcasts, etc. that contribute to this point.

Prensky discusses that teachers should abandon “total control for controlled activity.”  This relates to how teacher and students partner together to learn.  As Prensky points out, the teacher should not tell, but ask and the student should not take notes but find out.  The teacher might suggest a topic and tools but the student research and create the output.  The teacher can learn about technology from the student and the students can learn about quality and rigor from the teacher.  The teacher can evaluate the student’s work and the student can refine and improve their product.  A good example of this can be seen here at Auburn’s Early Education Center in Alabama:

Specifically, students could have learned about travel in a short 2-week unit designed by the teacher and taught with teacher created activities and worksheets.  However, at this center, the projects evolve out of the students’ natural curiosities.  This is a good example of how a teacher can abandon control of the activity and partner with the students to allow the students to find out, research, and create their own learning opportunities that are guided by the teacher but based on the students interests in learning.  By basing the learning on the student’s interests the teacher is able to guide the students appropriately and still teach the content the students need to learn but in a way that is engaging and fun for the students.

Another example of giving up total control is illustrated in this blog post titled “When Students Do The Teaching”.  Here, a school created the Upside Down Academy that allowed the students to take control of the teaching aspect and understand the concept at hand but also what work the teacher must do in order to teach a concept to others.  This was an ingenuous way to engage students in their own learning as well as partner the students to use their technological creativity whilst learning about what their teacher has to do in order to present them with information.  This partnership in learning is essential to Prensky’s main point that partnering creates mutual respect for teacher and student and enhances the teaching and learning environment for both.

3.     Give one example of each component of C-Rea-T-E in Partnering and justify each example.

C Level 3:  Investigating.  The teacher directs the student interaction with the content and the students analyze, evaluate or create a product based on that direction. Partnering here is exemplified because the teacher creates and asks the right questions and gives guidance while putting the materials in context (Prensky, p. 13).  In addition, the teacher ensures quality and rigor by acting as the reviewer and quality control manager (Prensky, p. 13-15).
Rea Level 4:  Integrating.  The learning emphasizes and impacts the classroom, school, or community and the learning is integrated across subject areas. Partnering here is exemplified because the teacher goes beyond the classroom and into the real world and “involves students immediately using what they learn to do something and/or change something in the world” (Prensky, p.20).
T Level 4:  Integrating.  Student technology use is embedded in content and essential to project completion and promotes collaboration among students and partnership with teacher and helps the students to solve authentic problems at the Analyze, Evaluate, or Create levels. Prensky states that partnering “enables students to be engaged, form the start of every class, in discovering on their own (and sharing with each other) what the material is and how it works, in finding examples in multiple media, in creating and sharing their own examples, and in communicating with peers and writers around the globe”. (Prensky, p.17)
E Level 4:  Integrating.  Students partner with the teacher to define the content, process, and/or product and student inquiry-based approach and students collaborate with other students. Prensky acknowledges that what students have to know remains the same regardless of the pedagogy.  Partnering teachers find that the process of students actively answering the questions leads almost universally to higher engagement (Prensky, p. 16).



(2007). Five-year-olds pilot their own project-based learning. (2007). [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Chase, K. (2012, 10 16). When students do the teaching. Retrieved from

Honeycutt, K. (Photographer). (2012). I need my teacher to learn. [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives, partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Prensky, M. (Performer). (2009). Wartburg college commission on mission. [Web Video]. Retrieved from


3 Responses to “Prensky Responses”

  • Susan Overton:

    I could not agree with you more when you said “students need to have the freedom to use their “afterschool” learning skills in their regular school day.” Students have access to a vast amount of technology that schools do not have access to. Even my three year old son had a tablet that he can play educational games on and he loves it. As I watch him play, I know that as preschool approaches for him he will not have the same learning at school as he does at home.
    As teachers we must ensure that we are locking in students interest in all activities and lessons. Students should not wake up knowing that they must go to school that will be more boring than at home. Educators must make learing exciting!

  • Deron Breeze:

    I think you make a great point on that teachers need to keep multiple intelligence in mind so they can utilize different avenues to receive the different outcomes. Where each student has a different passion about learing, this is a good bit of advice to remember.

  • Admin:

    Prensky Response #3

    Brown, T. (Performer) (2008). The powerful link between creativity and play [Web]. Retrieved from

    Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives, partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    Svitak, A. (Performer) (2010). What adults can learn from kids [Web]. Retrieved from

    Xtranormal. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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