Prensky Response #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?

The ultimate goal of both Prensky’s and Honeycutt’s approaches is that students are using technology in the classroom in the ways that they want to and in ways that are relevant to the students and to learning. Both of these approaches also emphasis that teachers must be flexible to change and attentive to the needs of the students. Teachers cannot be afraid of technology in their classrooms and they cannot be resistant to having students using technology in the classroom either. Teachers need to move to understanding the students and see the world eye to eye.

I do not however agree with the statement that “teachers do not need to learn to use it themselves” (Prensky). I believe that teachers do need to learn how to use the technology that the students are using. One big reason is, that if teachers do not know and understand the technology that is being used by the student, can they effectively plan lessons and tasks? I think not. Just as teachers must know the content they are teaching, the “verbs” I think they should also know the “nouns.” What happens when a student who hasn’t had as much experience steps into the room? What happens when the technology goes array? Teachers need to be able to step in and direct and guide students. They can’t do this if they don’t know what to do. I recently was teaching while students used iPads and I encountered a student who didn’t even know how to turn the iPad on. While yes, it is good to have the students help each other, it was also important that I help them while the other students work on their own tasks and assignments. Also, how can I ensure rigor if I do not completely understand what the students are doing with the technology? Yes the teacher should guide, coach, create rigorous tasks, bring engagement to the classroom, and provide students with content that is relevant, but the teacher should also understand the technology and the world that the students are growing up and learning in.


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. (from different authors) that contribute to this point.

In this week’s reading, Prensky discusses student engagement when partnering and technology are used as the teaching model. He says that “Partnering teachers find that the process of students actively answering questions leads almost universally to higher engagement. [and] The increased engagement, in turn typically produces better retention of material” (pg 16). I can truly see how engagement is increased when students get to use technology the way they would like. Students are interested in technology and their attention can be kept much more easily. When students are immersing themselves into content and research by way of technology, there is no way that they could NOT be engaged! Students love technology and beg to use it on a daily basis; if more teachers could find a way to use it more often in the classroom, they would see an increase in student learning.  I have seen student engagement increase greatly when I use iPads in the classroom. Students used them to create Educreation Lessons that taught about tone and meaning in graphic novels. I do not think I have ever seen students so excited to come to class, excited to learn, and excited to WORK!

EduTopia is a great website that provides not only history of technology integration and research on technology integration, but also of specific ideas and guides for using technology. It has blogs and videos about technology in education and you can even browse by grade level. Check it out: EDUTOPIA

I am a huge fan of Twitter and use it on a daily basis. There are many people and organizations that you can follow that tweet out information. One profile I find interesting is the Twitter for Microsoft Education. Their goal is to help students, teachers, and schools find innovation. While some of their tweets highlight their own workshops or products, I do find some interesting discussions on there. You can follow them at: @Microsoft_EDU 

I also like to follow Dr. Solis on Twitter as well. He is an instructional designer from Baylor university. Most of his tweets focus on technology use in the classroom and increasing student engagement and finding what works best for your students. Most everything he tweets about is also FREE, which I love. You can follow him at: @drsolis

Finally, a blog that I recently found is by a Superintendent. He blogs often about the engagement that is happening in his school district and also gives great resources of how to bring more engagement to your own classroom. One thing I really like is his approach and ideas that the engagement and use of technology to promote student learning is more important than any test! You can see his blog here: Eric Williams


Give one instructional example of each component of C-Rea-T-E in Partnering and justify each example. Your examples may come from the Prensky book or you make up examples in keeping with Prensky’s philosophy.


C- In partnering, here is an instructional example for cognitive complexity at a level 4. In a level 4, the students are generating questions or projects at the analyze, evaluate, or create level. In this task students should generate questions they have about the rainforest ecosystem. Then students should blog about these questions and their findings including links to the answers that they discovered. This is partnering because students are the focus and they are generating the questions and focus for the lesson. It also incorporates technology by asking them to use a blog.

Rea- In partnering, here is an instructional example for Real World connection at a level 4. In level 4 the learning emphasizes and impacts the classroom, school, or community, and learning is integrated across subject areas. In this task, students make a video on genetically modified food that change their parents shopping habits. This activity is very real to students because it directly affects their families and their health. It is a partnering task because the students are doing their own research, using technology to create the video, and then using it to teach their families. They are also becoming a world changer.

T- In partnering here is an instructional example of technology integration at a level 3. In level 3, technology can be an add-on and is used at analyze, evaluate, or create level. In this task, students are given the Gettysburg Address and asked to analyze and the document. Students should create a Glogster that represents the important parts and ideas of the Gettysburg Address. This is partnering because students are asked to pull apart the document and make meaning from what is written. They can have teacher guidance but they need to make it their own an in their own words. Technology in this task is also an add-on, students could easily do this paper pencil as well.

E- In partnering, here is an instructional example for engagement on a level 3. In a level 3 the students get a choice for the task and is differentiated by content and product. In this task, students are asked to choose a health issue or disease that may or may have personal significance to them. They should research and teach themselves about the issue or disease, how it affects the body, cures, and causes. Then they can present this information through whatever media they choose (Prezi, Animoto Video, Educreation presentation). This is a real life skill that students will use in their lives and it is partnering because students must teach themselves.


I love the idea of having a partnering classroom. It does seem to make sense that students are more engaged in this type of setting. I am excited to try some of the ideas and activities that I have read about this week in my own classroom.

About heakor

I am from Kentucky, currently a 5th grade teacher and a grad student. I love to sing, read, and hang out at a beach or pool. I am a huge Louisville Cardinals fan and I love the NFL. Seahawks and Steelers. Fantasy Football takes up most of my August-January :) I blog right now about teaching and technology. Check me out!
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4 Responses to Prensky Response #1

  1. Joni Poynter says:

    You made some very good points in your response. I agree that teachers need to know the technology they are teaching, but I don’t think they have to be experts. I gave up on that idea several years ago. I used to think that if I didn’t know more than my students, I wasn’t an effective teacher, but that is not true. Kids today are teaching themselves and each other when it comes to technology. They just need some guidance, and that’s where we come in. Thanks for the scoop on Edutopia. I got on their website and looked around. I will definitely use that site in the future.

  2. Thank you for providing such great resources in question 2! I love Twitter also and always love finding new education people to follow. I found that Prensky has a Twitter and has a hashtag going on to connect what others are saying about Prensky. It maybe worth checking out here:

    In your response to question 1, I strongly agree with your point that teachers need to know the “verbs” and “nouns” they are asking students to do. I think it would be difficult for a teacher to know if students are using technology effectively or even know how to guide students in the partnering process if they do not know how to use the technology. Plus, Prensky mentioned that students think teachers are technology illiterate already, so I’m not sure that having teachers who don’t know how to use the technology will combat this thinking. Yes, teachers may let students use technology more, but that still leaves teachers as not knowing how to use it for themselves. I really enjoyed reading your responses!

  3. Morgan Kennedy says:

    You made a very good point in that teachers cannot be afraid of change and technology. Many teachers today are afraid to stray away from what they are use to doing. If we never try new things and try to connect with our students it will be very difficult to keep students engaged and prepare them from the real world.

    I also agree with you that teacher need to learn to use technology too, not just the students. Teachers need to be able to implement technology into activities and learning experiences in the classroom to increase student engagement. Implementing technology usage in the classroom will be pretty much impossible if the teacher does not know how to use the technology themselves. If both teachers and students know how to use different types of technology then we can all learn and grow together.

  4. I did not think to post the twitter and blogs I follow! Also, I love Edutopia; do you ‘like’ them on FaceBook?
    I agree that students love technology; and it does hold their attention more easily. Students today were born in a world that had (most of) them playing on computers before they could walk. Teachers cannot be afraid of implamenting new technology in their classrooms. The twenty-first century learner wants to explore and find out more for themselves. I liked it when you stated, ‘Teachers cannot be afraid of technology in their classrooms and they cannot be resistant to having students use technology in their classrooms…’
    I do disagree that teachers need to be knowledgable of technology to use it in their classrooms. Prensky’s pedagogy focuses on teachers as learners about technology from students (pg. 16). Many teachers are too afraid to let go of the classroom and hand the power of it to the students. More teachers need to ask, instead of tell; and focus on evaluating. I have heard co-workers say that there are some things that you must lecture over. This is not true. As Prensky pointed out, one should just give the students the questions/topics to research and explore (pgs. 14-15). After all that’s what we are grading on. The question/topics/standards, not the technology. It’s not about if a student (or the teacher) knows how to use the technology. This is about being flexible and offering technology as a tool instead of eliminating it for everyone. I do agree with you on once the resistance stops for teachers… Everything will move forward more smoothly.

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