October 23, 2005

My New Book for Parents and Teachers

"Don't Bother Me Mom -- I'm Learning" : How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids For 21st Century Success -- and How You Can Help!

is the title of my new book for parents and teachers. It will be available for purchase before Christmas, and we will have a big press launch in March 2006. Here is a description:

"Don't Bother Me, Mom -- I'm Learning” : How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids For 21st Century Success -- and How You Can Help! by Marc Prensky (Paragon House 2006) presents the case – profoundly counter-cultural but true nevertheless – that video and computer game playing, within limits, is actually very beneficial to today's “Digital Native” kids, who are using them to prepare themselves for life in the 21st century. The reason kids are so attracted to these games, Prensky says, is that they are learning about important “future” things, from collaboration, to prudent risk taking, to strategy formulation and execution, to complex moral and ethical decisions. Prensky’s arguments are backed up by university PhD’s studying not just game violence, but games in their totality, as well as studies of gamers who have become successful corporate workers, entrepreneurs, leaders, doctors, lawyers, scientists and other professionals.

Because most adults (including the critics) can’t play the modern complex games themselves (and discount the opinions of the kids who do play them) they rely on secondhand sources of information, most of whom are sadly misinformed about both the putative harm and the true benefits of game-playing. This book is the antidote to those misinformed, bombastic sources. Full of common sense and practical information, it provides parents with a large number of techniques approaches they can use – both over time and right away – to improve both their understanding of games and their relationships with their kids.

The book has had a number of great pre-endorsements, including the following:

“If you're a parent wondering—and worrying—about the impact of video games on your child, Don't Bother Me, Mom—I'm Learning should be required reading. Marc Prensky is the most persuasive, thorough, and entertaining guide to the cognitive virtues of gaming. After you read this book, you will not only be happy to let your teenager play The Sims, you'll also be picking up the joystick yourself!”

Steven Johnson
bestselling author of Everything Bad Is Good For You and Mind Wide Open

“This delightful book provides a nuanced view of the way kids—Digital Natives, as Marc would say—live, learn, create and socialize. Incredibly eye opening, the book is the Digital Immigrant’s guide to the confounding world of video/computer games.”

John Seely Brown
Co author of The Social Life of Information and The Only Sustainable Edge, Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation

"There are plenty of people lining up to attack video games. Thank goodness for Marc Prensky, who offers the other side of the story in this enlightening and comprehensive guide to the benefits of video games."

Tom Standage, Technology Editor,
The Economist

“After 25 years of making games and hearing decades of criticism, it is great to see someone finally pointing out the powerful positive role that games can and do play in society. While clearly there are real and important reasons why parents should pay attention to how their kids spend their time, games are not a frivolous waste of time. Marc Prensky sheds a clear light on the many values that gaming brings society.”

Richard Garriott, creator of the fantastically successful “Ultima” series of games. Father of a teenage girl

"Parents and educators alike are urged to take a fresh look at the computer games children are playing. Marc Prensky shows how to enrich education by using the same engagement techniques employed by the very best digital game designers."

Lawrence Lipsitz, Editor,
"Educational Technology" Magazine

Posted by Marc at 12:53 PM


It's really important to hear new ideas, so I spend a fair amount of my time attending conferences where I think this will happen. At the Accelerating Change Conference at Stanford, I heard Ray Kurzweil, who reminded all of us that the change coming in IT is not linear but geometric, which meand that in 40 yrears the power will have increased A BILLION times. Try getting your head around that one. That will be the world of today's students.

I attended the Games-for-Health Conference and the Games-for-Change Conference. Both of these have grown considerably, with more and more people wanting to get into the space as users of games to reach their audiences.

Project Inkwell, the initiative for one-to-one computing whose board I am on held a conference in Maine where we got to hear former Governor Angus King (who started the Maine laptop program and who joined our board) and we got to tour the Maine schools. One thing it showed is that the move to one-to-one will necessitate much better software -- we'd better get cracking!

Finally I had the unexpected pleasure of hearning much of the sold-out PopTech conference in Camden Maine via free podcast (courtesy of ITConversations.com). The theme this year was "Grand Challenges" and they covered a lot of them. Among the most interesting to me were Roy Bunker's talk on his Barefoot College in India, and Neil Gershenfeld's talk on Fab-Labs, where people around the world learn to do digital fabrication related to their lives and work for surprisingly little money. The talks will all become available on IT Conversations.

Posted by Marc at 12:43 PM


Two groups of administrators, mainly superintendents, invited me to speak to them this fall: the McREL (Mid Content Regional Educational Laboratory) conference in Colorado, and the NCERT (National Center for Education Research and Technology) conference in Ponte Vedra Florida. I'm finding our superintendents very open to the message of more engagement for students (in addition to higher test scores, of course) and I look forward to working with them, their principals and their teachers this coming year on this key issue.

I also had the pleasure of speaking in Glasgow, at SETT (Scottish Education and Teaching with Technology) --The Scottish Learning Festival. I am thrilled to be going to Scotland often -- Wonderful warm people, very interested in reforming education!

Posted by Marc at 11:45 AM


This has been a busy, productive writing time. First, I finished the manuscript of my new book for parents and teachers (see above.) Then I wrote a number of articles: Engage Me or Enrage Me in Educause, If We Share We're Halfway There in Educational Technology, and the upcoming Adopt and Adapt in Edutopia. There's also Search versus Research, a piece about the Wikipedia, and a piece for Technology Leadership that I can't link to yet. All of these , except the last are also on my web site under writing.

I understand there is an article about Games2train coming out in the November issue of Training - I had nothing to do with it except for sending them some pictures -- I'm hoping it's good!

Posted by Marc at 11:24 AM