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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great guide for teachers
This book is inspirational and a real think tank. Profound understanding of the students we will serve. The idea of partnering is necessary to reach our students. Marc makes a statement that 50 to 100 % of our students are bored 50 to 100% of the time. It's time to embrace this paradigm shift and begin the process of changing the way we teach.
Published on August 22, 2011 by Susan Wright

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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More questions raised than reasonably answered
Set against a background of pervasive access to information, the proliferation of digital tools and media, and unprecedented uncertainty about what the future might hold, opinions, judgements and recommendations abound concerning the status and prospects for schools, teachers, learners and technology. In Teaching digital natives: Partnering for real learning, Marc...
Published on May 9, 2010 by Phillip A. Towndrow


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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More questions raised than reasonably answered, May 9, 2010
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Set against a background of pervasive access to information, the proliferation of digital tools and media, and unprecedented uncertainty about what the future might hold, opinions, judgements and recommendations abound concerning the status and prospects for schools, teachers, learners and technology. In Teaching digital natives: Partnering for real learning, Marc Prensky--the self-styled futurist--adds what he claims to be a new and necessary approach to addressing the needs of 21st century learners: pedagogical partnering.

As defined by Prensky (p. 13), partnering lets students and teachers focus on those aspects of learning they can do best. This involves giving students central responsibility for: finding and following their passion, using whatever technology is available, researching and finding information, answering questions and sharing their thoughts and opinions, practicing--when properly motivated, and creating presentations in text and multimedia. For their part, teachers should: create and ask the right questions, give guidance, put material in context, explain one-on-one, create rigour and ensure quality. Fundamentally, partnering requires, either as initial or subsequent steps, the establishment of new relationships between teachers and students.

Prensky's central contention relating to partnering pedagogy, based on his key underlying assumption that students in classrooms are not what they used to be and are dissatisfied with an education that doesn't speak immediately to their world views (p. xv), is best represented in the original and in full:

... by asking interesting guiding questions and letting each student relate to them and answer them in his or her own way, individually and working with peers, and then by allowing each student to discuss and refine the work in his or her own way with the teacher's guidance, each student will be able to relate much of the curriculum to his or her own interests and passions. By doing so, students will be much more motivated to work and practice than they are by a telling-and-worksheet pedagogy. (pp. 162-3)

This statement is, I believe, a well-intentioned yet familiar characterisation of good teaching, in general terms.

I am confident mainstream teachers, school leaders, and parents and guardians will be interested in Prensky's frequent Partnering Tips and the contents of Chapter 7, especially, where over 130 digital tools are listed and described for partnering students to use. However, academics and educators with a keen sense of contemporary schooling issues will, I suspect, be disappointed by the author's rather simplistic and often repetitive treatment of pedagogy and classroom practice. There are three main points to note.

First and foremost, partnering pedagogy, as Prensky fully acknowledges (p. 15), is not new. It draws on and falls into the richer traditions and practices of: student-centred, problem-based and inquiry-based learning to mention just three. Prensky prefers the term partnering because he says it emphasizes the equality of teachers' and students' roles and how each side must cooperate and leverage on particular strengths to improve learning as a whole (p. 15). However, Judith Sandholtz, Cathy Ringstaff and David Dywer (1997) made and illustrated similar points a long time ago.

Second, for a book squarely focused on pedagogy (and purporting to deliver, according to the blurb on the back cover, "a new paradigm for teaching and learning in the 21st century"), Prensky does not define pedagogy, at all. From what can be gleaned from the bulleted lists, tips and potted descriptions populating the book, pedagogy is a set of skills and instructional practices to be learnt and implemented in the classroom. This characterisation of pedagogy in my view fails to account for the discourse and dynamism underpinning the acts of teaching and learning. Let me explain.

Following Robin Alexander (2004) teaching is a practical and observable act and this suggests that the connections and interrelationships between what teachers do, what they need to know, and what they need to explain and defend to others, and themselves, are crucial to understanding teaching and learning interactions. The notion of pedagogy as discourse implies conversation, discussion, debate, conjecture and rebuttal. If accepted, pedagogy, then, is dynamic and necessarily uncertain. Beyond classrooms, it is framed, understood and played out in a variety of locations including, staff meetings, corridors, seminars, workshops and conferences. Who is in and who is out of these spaces, determines what pedagogy is and what it is not.

Additionally, the vital connections between culture and pedagogy, although extensive and varied, are not mentioned (see Alexander, 2000, for a comprehensive empirical study).

Third, and more generally, the broad brushstrokes of Prensky's supporting argument for partnering pedagogy tend to paint an incomplete and potentially misleading picture in what is involved in designing and implementing new or different patterns of teaching and learning interactions. For example, in the short chapter on assessment, it is stated that one of the "best ways" to assess students is by giving them necessary and helpful (formative) feedback (p. 179). I agree. Slightly earlier, Prensky critiques current formative assessment practices in schools along as follows:

The trouble ... is that the feedback comes too late and is too far removed from the creation of the work and the decisions students made to be useful. So despite teachers' often herculean efforts to mark and return homework or tests, the feedback does little to actually help students improve. Because assessment is only truly formative if feedback is actually read, thought about and acted upon. (p. 176)

I think it is right to single out the inappropriateness and questionable usefulness of feedback when it is untimely. However, Prensky is unclear about how students might respond to the comments they receive on their work. As I understand it, feedback performs a formative function when it informs and drives changes in teaching and learning to better coordinate and close gaps between present levels of performance and desired learning outcomes. As such, acting on feedback relates as much to teachers as it does students (see Black & Wiliam, 1998a, 1998b and 2003, for more detail). Further, Prensky omits to mention how prior monitoring (for formative purposes) of students' work in progress occurs. Other notable areas in the argument that require fleshing out include: essential questioning and understanding (see Wiggins & McTighe, 2005), task design and implementation (see Towndrow, 2007), and literacy with new media (Jewitt, 2008; Kress, 2003; Kress & van Leeuwen).

In sum, despite previously published concerns about the validity of Prensky's digital natives/immigrants dichotomy and the "engage me or enrage me" polemic (e.g., Bennett, Maton, & Kervin, 2008), this book is likely to serve useful functions as an entry level text on Digital Age education and a prompt for "thinking more broadly about education in general" (p. 190). However, and for the present, there is little new scholarship in this book, which for me raises more questions than it can reasonably answer. Three items come immediately to mind concerning unfilled gaps in the field of partnering pedagogy. To show its sustainability, we need: (i) exemplars of complete units of work and individual lesson plans that have partnering at their core, (ii) descriptive and exploratory case studies of partnering from various cultural, social and economic contexts and (iii) explanations and illustrations of how whole schools (and later school districts) can be transformed--not merely tinkered with--through partnering.

References

Alexander, R. (2000). Culture and pedagogy: International comparisons in primary education. Oxford: Blackwell.
Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The 'digital natives' debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-788.
Black, P. J., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principals, Policy & Practice, 5(1), 7-74.
Black, P. J., & Wiliam, D. (1998b). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.
Black, P. J., & Wiliam, D. (2003). 'In praise of educational research':Formative assessment. British Journal of Educational Technology, 29(5), 623-637.
Alexander, R. (2004). Still no pedagogy? Principle, pragmatism and compliance in primary education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 34(1), 7-33.
Jewitt, C. (2008). Multimodality and literacy in school classrooms. Review of Research in Education, 32, 241-267.
Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Multimodal discourse: The modes and media of contemporary communication. London: Arnold.
Kress, G. (2003). Literacy in the new media age. London: Routledge.
Sandholtz, J. M., Ringstaff, C., & Dywer, D. C. (1997). Teaching with technology: Creating student-centred classrooms. Teachers College: New York.
Towndrow, P. A. (2007). Task design, implementation and assessment: Integrating information and communication technology in English language teaching and learning. Singapore: McGraw-Hill.
Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Digital info, December 23, 2012
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I bought this I love every thing Marc Prensky writes so I didn't really read the contents just the title. It isn't exactly what I was looking for and I bought another of his books, Brain Gain, which I like much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great guide for teachers, August 22, 2011
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This book is inspirational and a real think tank. Profound understanding of the students we will serve. The idea of partnering is necessary to reach our students. Marc makes a statement that 50 to 100 % of our students are bored 50 to 100% of the time. It's time to embrace this paradigm shift and begin the process of changing the way we teach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource!, December 13, 2010
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SUEANN B. WICK (Flushing, MI United States) - See all my reviews
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I purchased this book as a resource for my classroom after referring to it over and over and over in a research paper for my grad class. Prensky knows what makes "Digital Natives" tick and offers insightful solutions to the digital divide that is causing havoc in our educational institutions. This book outlines one of his solutions, called "Partnering," which is an evolution on the student-centered learning method. In this sense, Prensky urges educators to collaborate and share expertise with students; educators share knowledge of curriculum content, while the students share and utilize their digital expertise. Very interesting and useful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guiding Young Minds In Today's Fast Evolving Digital World, November 2, 2010
If you are a parent, educator or frontline teacher, Marc Prensky's book Teaching Digital Natives is an extraordinary resource.

Within the book's well-laid-out pages, Prensky takes us from theory to practice, and along the way gives very clear instructions and actionable guidelines for bridging the digital divide that exists in today's schools.

The clear and concise treatment of topics such as "What do today's students want?"; "What is working?"; "How to be a learning partner rather than just a transmitter of information?"; and "Using technology in partnering," among others, will give you a quick and easy way to take this powerful information right into the classroom and put it to use.

It also provides a framework for parents to follow, so they can become better partners with their children's educators. Prensky provides ways for educators to avoid becoming stale and to continuously improve their abilities.

And lastly, the section entitled "The (Not Too Distant) Future of Education" gives a glimpse into the immediate future of education and hints on how to prepare for it.

If you are a frustrated teacher or educator seeking new and effective ways to open young minds in today's complex educational world, this book will provide you with many important and instantly actionable answers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The schools you'll want for all children - including your own, July 27, 2010
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Motivation, respect (for teachers and students), links to personal interests and passions, plenty of opportunities for creativity: these are among the most lacking and sorely needed elements in too many of today's classrooms, and Marc Prensky brings them to the forefront. As a learning scientist and a mom, I've spent twenty years thinking about the promises and pitfalls of technology for learning, and this is one of the most hopeful books I've read about how technology might be the answer to shedding the factory model of education along with boring, shallow, depersonalized curricula. It can't happen without a radical shift in the perceived roles of teachers and the views of what it means to be a student -- but surely this shift as Prensky describes it is more within reach today than ever before, now that students can find so much information for themselves. Prensky has a remarkable ability to fuse decades of educational research into the kind of plain language we need for change to happen. No jargon, plenty of practical tips for getting started: this is now top on my list to recommend to teachers, principals, and parents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Offers concrete classroom plans over ideology, July 12, 2010
Marc Prensky's TEACHING DIGITAL NATIVES: PARTNERING FOR REAL LEARNING offers a different focus on teaching and learning, showing how digitally literate students can draw on their skills to streamline research, analysis and presentation through multiple media. Teachers provide guidance, administrators support the process school wide, and technology becomes a key to new skills in this guide that offers concrete classroom plans over ideology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This moves education into the digital age!, June 24, 2010
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We've known for years that education isn't keeping up with the times. As the world moves forward, we still teach the same way we were taught decades ago. But this is the age of YouTube, iPhones, and video games. We can't ban technology... we must embrace it. Mr. Prensky's book shows, with plenty of practical examples, how to partner with the students to harness the power of new, ever changing digital technology. Practical and profound, this little book can change the way you teach forever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Should have been required reading in my MAT program!, June 17, 2014
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QueenBilleen (Anchor Point, Alaska) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning (Kindle Edition)
Rather than focusing on what's wrong with our public education system, Prensky tells us exactly how to change our educational philosophy for the better! Tired of losing a third of your students to boredom and behavior issues? Tired of watching your best and brightest go through the motions? Learn how to tap into student passion to make education work for them and less work for you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging, yet necessary with strategies for today and beyond in the classroom., May 11, 2014
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This review is from: Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning (Kindle Edition)
A very helpful book, written with authority on what teaching was and can be, both now and in the future. New ideas, shifting parameters, testing (teacher) boundaries to explore what our students can achieve, and want to achieve. This book guides educators on how to achieve dramatic and real change with clear questioning to achieve positive results in our classrooms. I highly recommend this book and I am looking forward to partnering with my students in their journey of learning and discovery.
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