Prensky Response #2

      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

        Preventing technology from taking over the curriculum in the classroom is  great concern among teachers. Many times teachers think students will get technology in their hands and they will get off task. However, this is not the case if the lessons have been properly designed. Prensky discusses the differences between the “nouns” and “verbs.” Teachers must focus on the verbs and what we want students to learn. Prensky states that “nouns change increasingly frequently” (p 46). Overall, this means that what the students learn is much more consistent than the way they are learning. Growing up I often used Power Point in school for presenting research or for persuading students. However, today students can present the same information or persuade their audience through the use of SlideShare, Prezi, or Picsveiwr. An example that the nouns have changed although the verbs have remained. So how does focusing on the verb help keep technology from taking over the content and curriculum? When students understand what they are learning and the focus is on the goal or the objective, then the noun they use to get there is less relevant. Prensky also notes that it is important to know which nouns match most properly with which verbs. Another way is to allow students to choose which noun they would like to use. Prensky also states that it is important that the teacher make connections for students and ensure that they have a good understanding of the verbs they are required to learn during learning and research as well as after presenting their findings and answers. Planning and using partnering appropriately and following the guidelines.

        Click HERE to articles collected by US News on technology and education

        Click HERE for some more Web 2.0 Tools.

        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?

        Dan Pink’s talk discusses that there are three pieces of the business model that need to be addressed: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy refers to the ability to guide and direct your own life. Mastery refers to the desire to get better at something that you think is important. Finally, purpose refers to the desire to do something that is bigger than ourselves. These three points align with Prensky’s teacher and student roles in partnering. In Chapter 2 Prensky says that teachers must see their students as partners that also have skills. He does go on to say that the differentiation of teacher and student dies not disappear, but that students are simply seen as having different skills and that are their own. I think this aligns with Pink’s discussion of autonomy. When students are thought of as equal rather than lesser, their autonomy increases. When teachers allow students to have some control over their own learning such as the way in which they find information to answer the guiding question, or they way they present information, their autonomy increases as well. Mastery can also fit into the teacher and student roles. Most often in schools teachers decide what is going to be taught in the classroom. However, Presnky suggests that students get a chance to provide input on topics they would like to discuss or learn about. This helps build mastery that Pink’s speaks of because the students feel a personal connection to the material and it is important to them. In chapter 3 when Prensky discusses considering what the students are passionate about, he is directly relating to the mastery level that Pink’s is speaking of as well. If you can allow students to learn by using topics they are passionate about, then they are more likely to invest in the learning, and get into the flow (that  Csikszentmihalyi speaks of) when learning, producing amazing learning gains. The last think that Pink’s discusses is allowing people to have a purpose or doing something bigger than themselves. In teaching , many times this can come in the form of project based learning. This makes learning REAL instead of just RELEVANT. Students should know that their learning matters, and that they can make a difference in the world. For example, when I teach science and I teach habitats and ecosystems, students are not overly interested. However, if I present them with a real world problem such as saving endangered animals, students are more likely to engage. They work hard because they know they can make a difference and that their learning or their product matters. In all Pink’s ideas of how the business world should work are directly like the education world should work. When we do this we create students that are ready for the real business world when their education is complete.

       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.

4.    Passion-based learning to me is individualized learning. It is learning that meets the interests of each student in the room on their own level. Prensky suggests that teachers should know what their students are passionate about, and should also ask students input on how lessons could be designed and done better. Whatever students are passionate about, they will be willing to work with and work hard at. Incorporating it with the curriculum and content can only bring positive results. Teachers need to feed off students’ passions to create better teaching and learning environments. After reading chapter 3 I can see many opportunities in my classroom for allowing students passions to be used to increase learning. One way this could be done is to discover what real-world interests the students have and then allow them to read passages on their chosen topic. Students could still work on the required skills in reading, but when being able to read a passage of their choosing, they will be  more engaged, more interested, and will increase their retention of the material. I could easily allow my students to choose their passages to bring to class and use for the lesson or unit. Another way I could incorporate students’ passions is to use students as assistants. For students who are technology gurus, they could run the technology for the lesson, or be a resource for other students during research or project based learning. Finally, teachers are always evaluated by administrators or other teachers, but why not be evaluated by the ones who are receiving the instruction? Students best understand how students want to learn. I could use survey’s, polls, and feedback forms to ask students what I could do better and improve upon.  This allows me to see into their worlds and the way they view the classroom and then change it to fit their needs and desires.


         Click HERE to read a three article series by Lisa Nielsen of the Huffington Post on Passion Based Learning.


        Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2004). Flow, the secret to happiness. Retrieved from /mihaly _csikszentmihalyi_ on_flow? language=en

        Nielsen, Lisa (2011). Passion based learning. Retrieved from

        Pink, D. (2009). Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation. Retrieved from

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

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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3 Responses to Prensky Response #2

  1. I agree that when students know exactly what they are learning because of a clear objective the noun becomes less important. While being able to use nouns effectively is important, being able to execute the verb is more important because those verbs can be applied to a wide range of nouns. Verbs will be the same long-term, while the nouns change rapidly, as you mentioned.

    I also really liked your point that when students are thought of a more equal to the teacher and not lesser, more autonomy is possible. Students have important skills to share with teachers and vice versa. Teacher’s don’t have to be the manager of the students all the time, it is ok to let the students manage their own learning when doing partnering.

  2. Stacy Jones says:

    Hi Heather,

    In response to your statement in Question #3 that students are the best evaluators of a teacher/lesson, you are absolutely correct. It is very uncomfortable to open yourself up like that, but if students see you taking the feedback seriously, they will provide quality feedback that will make a teacher better and provide students with more meaningful instruction.

    I have been hearing all year about KY’s new teacher evaluation system. I have heard that student evaluations will be a part of the new system. Why not go ahead and have students perform evaluations on their instruction now so that we can begin making improvements to our instruction immediately? This way, we will be used to the feedback and be in the process of becoming better 21st Century teachers in the meanwhile.

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