Marc Prensky

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Marc’s Keynote Topics

My keynotes are customized to fit your theme and audience. Here are some of the topics I am currently addressing in my talks around the world. (Typically my presentations combine elements from several of these topics, depending on your audience’s needs and interests.) 
(Click on topics to expand description) 


As world moves quickly into a new, technology-dominated era, a new, civilization-level paradigm in education is emerging, bottom-up, around the world, observes Prensky. The new paradigm——a move from “personal academic achievement” to “empowerment and bettering their world” merges the “academic” tradition which has been dominant for some time in our schools, with the far older “accomplishment” educational tradition that has taken root in our businesses. The NEW END AND GOAL of education is bettering not just individuals, but their world——and the individuals in the process. Prensky describes this emerging new paradigm and where it’s appearing, showing both why it’s important for tomorrow’s kids and world, and how to get there more quickly.


We all know that automation is coming fast, and that, as Prensky puts it, “anything that two people can do equally well can be, and will be automated.” The only defense against this, Prensky argues, is for our young people to become UNIQUE in the combination of what they care about, what are good at and what they love to do. This is not something our education currently fosters (in fact it does the opposite), but education can and should help all our kids become unique, good, effective, world-improving people. Prensky discusses how we can make this happen.


Based on Prensky’s newest award-winning book, “Education to Better Their World,: Unleashing the Power of 21st Century Kids,” the talk highlights a fresh and emerging approach to education—based on Real, World-improving Projects +  Applied Passion + Effective Thinking, Action, Relationships and Accomplishment—that far better fits tomorrow’s needs and the new capabilities of our young people.  “What our education should be about,” says Prensky, “is accomplishment that improves our world—with individuals improving in the process.” The talk, filled with examples, is about developing young people’s capacity to create, through “applied passion,”  solutions that will make their world a better place, using means never before available. Prensky’s totally different take on K-12 education offers an innovative and achievable vision of K-12 education that will far better prepare students of all backgrounds for their future.


Based on Marc’s newest book from Teachers College Press, winner of the FOREWARD INDIES 2016 Book of the Year Award GOLD PRIZE FOR EDUCATION. A new paradigm for education is emerging in the world, going from the old “learning and personal accomplishment” to the new “improving the world and real-world accomplishment.”  In this New Paradigm, the New Goal is “improving the world” by “becoming a good, effective and world-improving person”  the New Pedagogy is “Real-world accomplishment” and the “New Core Curriculum” is Effective Thinking, Effective Action, Effective Relationships and Effective  Accomplishment, combined with a strong underlying foundation of technology.and excellent situational awareness about the world.


Also based on the book from Teachers College Press. he era of just “learning” is over — students also have to “become” good, capable, empowered and world improving people.  Rather than just “achieve,” students now need to accomplish projects that benefit the real world. They need to learn to think, act, relate and accomplish effectively, expressing their own unique interests and passions.  In this talk, Prensky lays out the Emerging New Paradigm for 3rd Millennium K-12 Education, and shows who is already doing this, what their results are, and how we can all get there.


(Based on Marc’s last published book)It is time to rethink our 19th century education for the future, says Prensky, not in terms of marginal fixes, but from first principles.  Global education needs, he argues, a New Goal, a New Pedagogy, and a New sense of What is Important to Teach.  The new goal, says Prensky is “becoming” rather than “learning” — becoming a good, capable, world-improving person. Learning is one means to becoming, and there is even a better means, which is real world accomplishment. That is the new pedagogy — education needs to move beyond passing on or creating “content” and beyond even “problem-based learning” to Accomplishment-Based Education, where the students spend the bulk of their time and efforts, starting in the earliest grades, solving real-world problems. In order to do this, Prensky argues, we need a curriculum that offers not that same math, language science and history for all kids (different students need these in varying amounts), but rather Effective Thinking, Effective Action, Effective Relationships and Effective Accomplishment, which ALL people need to succeed.  This “New Core” curriculum needs to be based on individual student passions, have technology as its underlying foundation, and it must focus teachers, as guides and accelerators to “becoming”, on the human elements of Respect, Empathy, Motivation and supporting the Passion of each student.


A decade and a half ago, when Prensky coined the terms Digital Natives and Digital immigrants, there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, not even You Tube!  And yet the huge cultural and attitudinal changes to come were already being perceived by him. Today many of these changes are recognized by all — although not always as helpful. But, says Prensky not only are most of them positive,  there are many more dramatic positive changes to come. In this original perceptive talk, Prensky shows just how much the world’s culture and context are in rapid flux because of technology, and how the concept of Digital Natives has evolved to be more a cultural one than a technological one. Prensky offers new perspectives on our complex and rapidly changing technology and times, and helps audiences explore and understand, how Digital Natives — and all of us — can, and should, be adapting for the future.
EXPANDING MINDS FOR THE 3RD MILLENNIUM Most see today’s digital technology as a useful — but optional — tool in their lives. Prensky argues the opposite — that technology is now required, and that turning it off makes us lesser human beings  The reason, he says, is that technology is now an extension of our minds.  Although we are long accustomed to having our bodies extended by technology, (think clothing and transportation) it is now the brain’s turn, and this new territory is unfamiliar to everyone. Prensky helps audiences understand how and why the same technology that is scaring many in the older, pre-Internet generations to death is also greatly empowering and exciting today’s youth.  In this counterintuitive and mind-expanding talk, Prensky illustrates how technology is extending our minds in both a physical an metaphorical sense, and how our expanded minds are changing society in more profound ways than many realize.


 Although everyone knows today’s technology is powerful, far too many, limited by past experience, see it only as a new and faster way to do things we could do before. This narrow vision is only the “trivial” side of technology use, argues Prensky — there is a much more powerful set of new technology uses empowering all of us — even elementary school students —  to do things that humans could never do before.  Prensky guides us through this new world, including real-time visual communication with almost anyone in the world, meeting in virtual worlds, powerful simulations, robotics, analyzing huge data bases, and shows how everyone — from students to business people — can use and benefit from these powerful technology tools — more and more of which we have in our pockets — to improve our school, work and personal lives.  In this amusing, powerful and future-oriented talk, Prensky shows how we can avoid “Digital Stupidity” and become digitally wiser, more powerful people, who can use our powerful technology to improve the world.


The concepts of “teaching” and “training” are going through profound changes in our time — and not just because of technology.  In the past our educational goals evolved from “imitating” to “learning.” But to deal with our turbulent times it is now necessary, says Prensky, to adopt the far more far-reaching and useful goal of “becoming.” In our fast changing third millennium, with its coming deep exploration of both outer and virtual space, we need all our students and workers to become capable, good, people, who improve the world they live in. To succeed going forward, says Prensky, all students and all workers will need to master, in all their complex facets, the core skills of Effective Thinking, Effective Action, Effective Relationships and Effective Accomplishment — strongly supported by technology. In this original and insightful talk, Prensky show audiences how such a “New Core” can be integrated into our teaching and training, using a new methodology of “Accomplishment-Based Education.” Prensky also shows how to avoid letting the “luster” of the new technologies mask the real progress we need in education and training.
Other topics include:
1.  GLOBAL FUTURE EDUCATION — Making Today’s Education Not Just About the Past
2.  NEW BASICS AND NEW BALANCE FOR A NEW AGE: Radically Rethinking the K-12 Curriculum for 21st Century Success
3.  POWERFULLY INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY into our Classrooms and Teaching
4.  DIGITAL WISDOM for Administrators, Teachers and Students
6.  THE GOAL IS NOT “LEARNING” BUT ìBECOMING”: What Education Should Really Be About
7.  BEYOND JUST ADDING TECHNOLOGY: What Do We Build On This New Foundation?
8.  PARTNERING: The Right Pedagogy for Today’s Students
10. TEACHING IN THE 21ST CENTURY  How All Teachers Can Adapt
11. COMBINING THE STRENGTHS OF NATIVES AND IMMIGRANTS:  How To All Teach, Learn and Thrive Together in a Digital World
12. CRAFTING A REAL 21ST CENTURY EDUCATION!—Beyond Just “Creativity” and “Entrepreneurship”
We can also, working together, craft customized titles and topics to address your theme and requirements. For example, if you wish, I am happy to include information on Learning Games.
STUDENT PANEL:  I highly recommend holding a student panel following my keynote. Typically there are between 4 and 10 students on the panel (recruited by you) representing different grades and sexes (ages can range from 10-18). I ask them questions, and then open the questioning to the audience — it is always an enlightening experience for all. An ideal format, I’ve found, is a one hour keynote followed by a one hour panel with the students.  (The students should attend my presentation).  For more on this click here.
Breakout sessions typically last 45 minutes to an hour. Short “Workshops” typically last 2-3 hours.  Both can include student panels (if not already in the Keynote), extended Q&A, and/or specific topics.  I prefer that the maximum time in these sessions be allotted to addressing participants’ own issues.  Here is a possible description:
“Addressing Your Issues about Teaching and Technology” : “Very much participant-directed, this session/workshop offers a unique opportunity to share and discuss ideas, concerns and issues related to technology and education with Marc Prensky, the innovative educator who coined the phrase “digital natives”. Marc will apply the ideas outlined in his talk to the specific issues raised by workshop participants, offering in-depth information and providing individualized reflections and suggestions. Participants should bring to this session their deepest (often unstated) concerns about technology and curriculum, their hardest learning, teaching, curriculum, and administration problems, and, most importantly, their generally unspoken “YES—BUT” questions. Good practices and innovations will also be discussed.”

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