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Brain Gain: Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom Hardcover – August 7, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

An intriguing, astute counterbalance to the scaremongering that dominates many other books on digital life. (Kirkus Review)

A well-crafted antidote to the purveyors of doom and gloom regarding how the digital revolution affects our minds. Sure, there are many unanswered questions but the jury is in. Prensky shows beyond a reasonable doubt that technology is extending our brains beyond their conventional limitations. We're getting smarter not dumber, maybe even capable enough to survive and thrive in an ever more complex world. (Don Tapscott, bestselling coauthor of 14 books, Most recently Macrowikinomics: New Solutions For a Connected Planet)

From flint axes to cloud computing, access to technology has constantly transformed how people think, feel, and behave. In this provocative and insightful book, Marc Prensky argues that our interactions with technology have now brought us literally to a new phase of human evolution, and that the implications are immense for how we live, relate, and educate ourselves. With his characteristic rigor and verve, Prensky challenges cherished assumptions of what it is to be human and analyses the powerful roles of technology in shaping who we are and who we are becoming. An essential read. (Sir Ken Robinson, author and educator)

About the Author

Marc Prensky, the originator of the terms digital native and digital immigrant, is an internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, and game designer focusing on education and learning. He gives over 50 talks per year around the world, has appeared on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, and the BBC, and has been interviewed in numerous worldwide publications including The New York Times, Newsweek, The Economist, Le Monde, and El Pais. His previous books include Teaching Digital Natives, From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdome, Digital Game-Based Learning, and Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning! Prensky is a prolific essayist and writes a regular column in Educational Technology magazine.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230338097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230338098
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,219,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, consultant, visionary and innovator in the field of education and learning. Considered one of the world's leading experts on the connection between learning and technology, Marc's professional focus is on designing better pedagogy and curriculum for the digital generation. Strategy+Business magazine calls Prensky "That rare visionary who implements."

Prensky focuses on education from the perspective of the students, rather than the providers, offering solutions for how to teach and motivate today's students and for how to motivate and reinvigorate their teachers as well. Prensky promotes a new form of "partnering" between teachers and students. Through his writings and talks, he helps educators learn to adapt their pedagogy in ways that are far more effective for the 21st century.

Marc also focuses on how to teach future-oriented skills--including problem-solving, partnering, collaborating in online communities, video-making and programming--as an integrated part of all curricula. He is a strong partisan of teachers' knowing and using students' individual passions as motivators, and of students' participation in the design of their own education.

In his talks around the globe, Marc initiates and conducts unique educator-student dialogs about the teaching and learning process. His innovative combination of pedagogy and technology--including digital game-based learning, where he was an early pioneer--is becoming increasingly accepted and used by educators worldwide as the wave of the future.

Marc has published scores of essays and articles, and is the author of four books: Digital Game-Based Learning (McGraw-Hill, 2001), Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning (Paragon House, 2006), Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning (Corwin, 2010) and From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom (Corwin 2012). He was graduated cum laude from Oberlin College, holds Master's degrees from Yale University and The Harvard Business School with distinction, ran a charter school in East Harlem, NY, and has taught at all levels, from elementary to college.

Marc also performed on Broadway and at Lincoln Center, worked on Wall Street, and spent six years as a corporate strategist and product development director with the prestigious Boston Consulting Group. After his wide variety of experiences, he is thrilled to be back working in the field of education and learning.

Marc is a native New Yorker, where he lives with his wife Rie, a Japanese writer, and their son Sky, a thriving first-grader in the New York City public schools.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simply Curious on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Rejecting the popular opinion that rapidly increasing reliance on technology makes us dumber and less human, Marc Prensky argues persuasively that we can--and do--use technology to make us wiser. While the human mind is unsurpassed in creativity, learning from experience, understanding context, appreciating humor, and telling stories our minds are limited in several ways, including capacity, objectivity, focus, and accuracy. The good news is that the strengths and weaknesses of the human mind are often complementary to the strengths and weaknesses of technologies.

After defining wisdom as: the ability to find practical, creative, contextually appropriate, and emotionally satisfying solutions to complicated human problems, he goes on to ask "Are we wiser if..." for each of 50 areas in which technology is used to supplement our thinking, now and in the near future. For each area he cites current examples and explores the questions: "Is this use of technology wise?" and "Are there wiser uses of this technology?" He then balances this optimistic outlook with a candid survey of less beneficial uses of technology--cataloging those that are merely clever, undoubtedly stupid, and even dangerous.

Just as fire is a technology that can be used to provide great benefit or do great harm, much of the value of digital technology depends on how we choose to use it. Chapter five gives helpful advice for using today's technology to cultivate brain gain and digital wisdom. Chapter six encourages us to teach our kids wise ways to employ technologies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spartan00721 on August 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Marc is one of those distinct, recognizable silhouettes out over our digital horizon.
He is the most fluent digital immigrant I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
I am a member of the Army's Special Operations community and fully understand the challenges of training/sustaining expertise in Language and Culture while leveraging the latest in Digital Technology. Marc's books are definitive primers for Instructors, Trainers and Educators. This latest is incredibly timely. As with his other works (to include his keynote addresses and web page) Marc's latest has left me with another literary challenge that,once again, is only answerable with the digital-native password.
In a world of "More ,more, faster, faster" the cognitive push is undeniable and relentless. As this next rung of innocence disappears beneath us on the evolutionary ladder, Marc Prensky entreats the digital immigrants to evolve, move and communicate as fearless linguist in the digital human domain.
Not all will agree with this latest compelling argument delivered with humorous "Vulcan" logicality.
But,like gravity, rain or the wind, mental denial of existence doesn't remove its inevitable effects upon you.

I say May His Tribe Increase.
Well done sir!

Preston Short,
Supervisor, Virtual Mission Rehearsal (VMR)
Unconventional Warfare Center of Excellence
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sunny girl on March 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As I watch (and worry) while my own children get caught up in the use of more and more technology -- both for entertainment and for education -- I find Marc Prensky's view of the digital/human interface fascinating, reassuring, and provocative. Whether you embrace technology or not, it is refreshing to read such a thoughtful and unconventional take on a subject that deeply affects us all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sapporo Friend on September 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marc Prensky once again lends reasoned and comforting perspective on the ever-evolving digitization of learning, living, and relating. Rather than focusing on what is lost by change, he embraces change in a refreshing and optimistic way. Well worthing reading.
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Format: Hardcover
This volume deserves 5 stars if it were reduced to a series of power point presentations of which Prensky is a master. On the other hand, one might be tempted to rank this volume at one star because the author, following Alice in Wonderland's Humpty Dumpty approach to defining "wisdom". This is critical because the purpose of the definition in this volume, by seeming design, is less than positive to those not embracing Prensky's techno-optimism, essentially casting them down into the depth of the wisdom-less, or in more classical terms, a neither land of the neo-luddites. As a print volume it seems overly padded with examples almost in the form of sound bites. There are good references which could be reduced to an annotated bibliography shrinking the book to a tight essay in juxtaposition to Carr's. "Is Google Making US Stupid", which Prensky acknowledges.

In 2001, Marc Prensky hit the ground running with his iconic "digital native, digital immigrant" (On the Horizon 9(5), 2001) which, at that time focused on the need to understand the changing landscape in education, P-16, and the importance of realizing the shifting technological environment. Since that time, his and society's focus has transcended the education sphere to include the larger population, those who have grown up with technology and those who have endeavored to learn and adapt like one learning a second language, often mastering it seemingly without the equivalent of an accent. In a previous "life" Marc was involved early with the development of computer games and simulations for a corporation. Today, Marc travels the world, an evangelist for the current and evolving opportunities presented to the world by the emergence of the "digital" and its applications.

The content is book-ended by two ideas.
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