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Review: Teaching Digital Natives (Prensky)

Title: Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning
Author: Marc Prensky
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 192
Rating: 4 out of 5
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher when I got a grant from them. Wasn't that nice of them to include a book with my cash award?!
Summary (from the back of the book): Students today are growing up in a digital world. These "digital natives" learn in new and different ways, so educators need new approaches to make learning both real and relevant for today's students. The book has how-tos, partnering tips and examples

Review: I was a bit weary when I saw that I received a free book with my library grant, but I am glad I read this book. I love teaching and I love working with technology (that's why my current job is such a good fit). If I was still working in a classroom I would be all over the teaching ideas in this book. As it is, I am in the library where I often try to get classroom teachers to collaborate with me on lessons. What usually happens is I go in to talk to their students about doing research or choosing books to read. A few teachers have worked with me to integrate technology into their lessons and for that I am grateful.

When I first started reading this book I approached one colleague to ask if we could work together to create a lesson using the ideas in this book. She said yes! Here's some of the book's main ideas:

  • Use partnering. It's the idea of talk less, share more, and let the students do the investigating, learning, and teaching
  • Use passions. Get the students to figure out the best methods for them to learn the information. Obviously this doesn't always work, but if students feel ownership they're more likely to enjoy the learning and learn more
  • Use questions. Instead of telling students information or what to research or asking questions with "right" answers, ask open-ended, over-arching questions (for example, in my collaborative lesson students are researching a decade in US history. Our question is: How did culture and politics affect one another in the decade you've researched?)
  • Use technology. Instead of just writing a research paper students will have a choice of how to present the information to the class: video, blog, wiki, facebook page, twitter account, and more
What do you think? How do you like best to convey information you've learned?


Bonnie Jacobs said...

I'm teaching college-age digital natives right now. Beside some of them, I feel inadequate to even talk about technology.

By the way, you are quoted at Color Online today, beginning with this: Helen at Helen's Book Blog reviews Morning in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

"Wow! I managed to have tears rolling down my cheeks for the last 80 pages or so of this book. That isn't why I loved it so much, but that's to show you how into this book I was, how much I care about the characters and their lives."

Michelle said...

Helen- I cannot believe this is my first time on your blog! Love it. And thanks for the book recommendations. If you have any other books that help teachers learn how to develop students who think critically and ask good questions, let me know! I am working on this with our teachers here. It's a hard change to go from having students who give right answers, to students who ask good questions. Maybe I can borrow this book when I am back in December.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Bonnie--Our students certainly are familiar and comfortable with the technology. We need to provide the content and pedagogy (oh how I hate that word). Thank you for directing me to Color Online. I hadn't read it yet today

Michelle--Your experience this year is so amazing. I am sure you'll bring back some great ideas for us here at home too.