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« Beginning the Journey of Life Without School: What I Wish I’d Done Differently | Main | Anything for a Friend »

June 18, 2007


Elisheva Levin

Great post!

And from one digital immigrant to another, I 'm going to have to think more about this.

Ryan Wilkins

It's like I've read this somewhere before. ;-)

Lisa Wilkins

It's not like he's read it before, it's like he's lived it...


Heh. What Ryan and Lisa aren't saying is that they both graciously previewed this piece for me before it was published here. Thanks guys!


I enjoyed this :). My 5 year old DS is a computer whiz. He's been installing games on the computer since he was 3. People are shocked when they hear he has his own email account and all the other things he can do on his own. I credit it to him reading at a very early age. We often curl up in front of the computer and spend hours playing games or looking things up. My DD isn't as interested, but that's ok. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. I love this digital age and I'm glad I can provide an environment where my kids can explore it.

Bob Collier

I'm one of Marc Prensky's biggest fans. Have you read his book Don't Bother Me, Mom - I'm Learning?

I'm 55 and not even a Digital Immigrant. All I have is a visitor's visa. I've learned a lot that's been very reassuring from Marc Prensky and he's my go to guy for what's happening in the world of real education. My 11 year old self-educated son has been a gamer since he was 3. In those days of Mario 64 and Zelda: The Ocarina of Time he was the 'apprentice', but he's left me a long way behind now. I may still be the PacMan champion but he loves the complex tactical games that I don't seem to be able to get to grips with like Tom Clancy, Crackdown, Gears of War, and so on, and spends most of his time playing XBox 360 online. We do get on well together with the sports games, though - currently WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007.

It'll be very interesting to see what happens when the Digital Natives grow up and become consumers, voters and parents. I think the waste product is going to make hard physical contact with the devotee as far as the school system is concerned, whether any parent is interested in home education or not. Even if you put a laptop on every desk, the DNs are going to notice that laptops are *portable* computers and you don't have to sit at a desk in a classroom to use them. And the latest I've been reading is that many schools are taking laptops *out* of the classroom anyway because students are too interested in exploring the internet to stay on task. Which seems to me like school being just a little bit anti-education. I know I've been better educated since I discovered Google and Wikipedia and the rest than at any time in my life. Sooner or later, whether the 'professional educationalists' like it or not, the inadequacies of classroom based teaching compared to self-motivated digital learning are going to be only too obvious to everybody.

btw, this is coming from somebody who also has a 22 year old daughter who was outstandingly successful throughout 12 years in the school system (and graduated from high school in the top 1% of students in the state).

Bob Collier

Oops. Probably should have mentioned this website, which might be of interest:

Games Parents Teachers

It's aimed primarily at getting teachers more pro-videogame, but there's useful info there generally.


Hey Bob! Thanks for the thoughtful commentary!

I mention games because they're the most obvious way that my four year old interacts with education and with the digital world just now, but as you point out, that's by far just the tip of the iceberg that faces the Titanic of non-digital educational modalities.

My niece just graduated from high school in California, and she, also a DN, was so bored it was ridiculous. And I don't blame her. The information in the textbooks simply can't keep up with the information on the internet, both for advances in understanding, and ability to address conflicting opinion.

I do not envy the professional educator the task ahead of them, to evolve or to be made obsolete. I don't think nearly enough of them are listening to Prensky, and if they're taking laptops out of the classroom, I think they've already lost.

Again, thanks for reading!

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