1. How do you prevent technology from taking over the curriculum essentials that you are trying to teach? What role do Prensky’s “verbs” and “nouns” pose in answering this question? Justify your answer.
With the concept of partner teaching, I feel, especially for beginners, this is a process in which baby steps must be taken. By doing this, you can gradually integrate different forms of technology to be used. This will prevent technology from overtaking the curriculum because a teacher will easily be able to notice if or when technology is not helping the learning process. They can then begin to limit the amount of technological resources being used. When planning for partner teaching and creating those essential questions, you must start with the verbs, or concepts, you would like the students to learn. The verbs have not changed much over time, while the nouns have, and the verbs are the focus of what is being taught. Then you add in the nouns, or tools, to help the students achieve the verbs. Prensky states many times that you don’t have to have a huge amount of technology for partner teaching, or any technology at all for that matter. The nouns are just a means for accomplishing the verbs, and this can be done in a variety of ways without technology. The curriculum and verbs are what you design the lessons based on, rather than designing lessons around the nouns.
2. In Dan Pink’s talk about the science of motivation, he says, “There is a mismatch between what science knows and what education does.” (Yes, I took the liberty of substituting “education” for “business”.) How do his three points (at the end of his talk) agree with Prensky’s teacher and student roles in partnering?
Pink’s points about intrinsic motivation agree with Prensky’s ideas about partnering in that it is most successful when the person is doing something they are passionate about and able to accomplish a task using their choice of methods. Both men agree that if you want engagement and good results, allowing self-direction works best. The way our schools are run are based on very outdated assumptions, not on scientific fact. There was a segment aired on the television show “60 Minutes” about Freeman Hrabowski and The University of Maryland Baltimore County. The changes Hrabowski has made at his University prove by involving people in activities they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to participate in while learning causes better outcomes. An example is having undergraduate students participate in studies normally reserved for graduate students. Hrabowski has worked very hard on getting the college students excited and curious about math and science, and the results are amazing, particularly the graduation rates. The students are no longer bored with math and science and are staying in these fields of study. (See my “More!” page for the Hrabowski video.)
3. Describe how Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concepts on “flow” can be applied to Partnering for teachers and students?
Csikszentmihalyi’s ideas are applicable to partnering teaching because partnering encourages finding a person’s passion to ensure a greater result. The concept of “flow” is based on someone doing what they really enjoy. If a teacher surveys a class to find their likes and dislikes, how they enjoy learning, etc. they can design the lesson and instruction based on the findings. If a person is happy and doing something they really enjoy, in that “flow” Csikszentmihalyi refers to, true learning will take place because the person is using higher order thinking and is truly engaged.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2004, February). Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?language=en#t-852200
Hrabowski: An educator focused on math and science. (2011, November 13). [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/hrabowski-an-educator-focused-on-math-and-science/
Pink, D. (2009, July). Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation
Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives: Partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.