June 18, 2011


I came across a review of my latest book by Robert Steele on the Web that I thought was particularly insightful. Here is an excerpt (the original can be found here.)

Steele writes:
"In his newest work, Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning (2010), Prensky receives rave reviews from those open to his ideas and pointed criticism from traditionalists who are quick to say the book contains "no scholarship." That may well be the core point: what used to be called "scholarship"—the tedious study of printed text, the preparation of many index cards and the time-consuming crafting of a sequential research "story"—is no more.

"Scholarship has been displaced by a vibrant mix of multimedia multitasking in which humans from many walks of life can engage with one another, seek out team solutions and rapidly disseminate new information via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or myriad other communication capabilities. I sum up the core values of Prensky’s latest book in two phrases: participatory learning and real-time feedback. Today’s students (and the best of today’s employees) are wired differently—sitting still listening to a one-way flow of information is a waste of their time, and they know it. They prefer the workshop or roundtable to a lecture, a practical exercise to a multiple-choice test and a clear connection between the matter being studied and their real-life needs. At the same time, they are addicted to real-time feedback and do best when it is part of the learning process.

"What I am finding is that the best instructors—and the best meeting managers—are putting what used to be lectures or speeches on the Web for study at leisure to include the ability to pause, stop and return, and using face-to-face classroom time for roundtable discussion in which every student is both a teacher and a learner."

This what Salman Khan of Khan Academy calls "flipping the classroom."

Is "traditional scholarship" still leading us in the right directions in education? Perhaps it is time to "flip" that concept as well (or at least rexamine it).

Posted by Marc at 07:33 AM