Marc Prensky asked me to write the foreword for his new book "Teaching Digital Natives" and i was delighted - honoured - to do so. it is a very useful, pragmatic and helpful contribution. Order it from this link!
What a remarkable century this is already turning out to be for Learning. All around the world teachers, schools, families and even policy makers are waking up to the view that building learning in this new 21st century using the structures and strictures of the previous 20th century is a wild and reckless gamble that all too often fails. But sadly, for so many of them, exploring and testing new ideas within their own context leaves them feeling lonely, brave and rather exposed. Curiously, and rather reassuringly, in isolation many have arrived at very similar conclusions about just what effective 21st century learning strategies and practices might look like. Think what progress they might make together!
Marc has been a pivotal contributor to building that togetherness. IIn previous writing and contributions, Marc has already done a remarkable job of steering the world towards a new shared vocabulary, one that helps us all to see the fresh opportunities this century offers to its young citizens. That shared vocabulary has already given the lonely, brave and exposed innovators some collegiality, camaraderie even. Suddenly, they were part of something big, something consensual.
And now once again, in this new book, Marc comes along with just the right contribution at just the right time. His stout and unanswerable defence of the need to move learning forward is clearly and accessibly articulated. So much here will feed winning lines into debates at schools, or in policy forums.
Marc has added to this a treasure chest of heartwarmingly effective practice. The palpable sense of a bottom up revolution in learning, built by children, communities and teachers who really care about it, comes over as loud, clear and comforting. The ability to rapidly browse the book for proven, effective, attainable ideas will ensure a well thumbed copy in every staffroom.
Lately, the USA has seemed reawakened by a new president who has done a remarkable job of reengaging younger and disinterested voters. There is something in the words "yes we can" that reached out to a new generation, and well beyond the USA, to convey a new optimism. We need that optimism focussed very firmly onto learning. Our forebears began a revolution with medicine, changing the lives of whole continents and transforming the potential life chances of generations. They didn't stay contentedly with the apparent certainties of their own forebears, but pushed ahead to create a modern medical revolution and in doing so changed their world. Today the world is in quite a mess and many of us have seen the impact that Learning might have on repairing that mess. We've seen children innoculated against poverty through great learning, seen the disengaged reengaged, seen community rifts healed, seen that insummountable problems can be breached and bridged with ingenuity, seen that children who learn together joyfully are simply less likely to grow want to kill each other. Our generation can have a remarkable and enduring impact too, through Learning. Our contribution can be a modern learning revolution.
"Yes we can" indeed, and what Marc has done here is to show precisely why and how we can. I'm just adding in this foreword that, given all the opportunities that we now have to make a local and global difference through learning, and given the world's needs, then surely "Yes, we jolly well should".
This book will help us, and help us help each other.
parents: why change learning spaces?
6 months ago