Prensky, Marc

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Prensky, Marc

PERSONAL:

Married Rie Takemura (a writer). Education: Oberlin College (cum laude), B.A., 1966; Middlebury College, M.A., 1967; Yale University, M.A.T., 1968; Harvard University, M.B.A. (with distinction), 1980.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. Office—P.O. Box 325, Gracie Station, New York, NY, 10028. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, educator, and entrepreneur. Benjamin Franklin High School, East Harlem, NY, teacher, 1968-71; Citibank Street Academy, East Harlem, director, 1971-73; Time Life Films, New York, NY, executive assistant, 1980-81; Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Boston, MA, management consultant, 1981-85, product development director, 1985-87; Micromentor, Cambridge, MA, vice president, 1988-93; Bankers Trust Company, New York, NY, vice president, 1993-99; Games2train, New York, NY, president and founder, 1999—. Has also worked as an entertainer, including lute and guitar concert musician for the New York City Opera; member of the New York Renaissance Band; adjunct professor of Music for Wagner College, Staten Island, NY, 1973-78.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Fellowship and stipend, Yale University, 1968; fellowship, Harvard University, 1980.

WRITINGS:

Digital Game-Based Learning, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2001.

"Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning!" How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids for Twenty-first Century Success and How You Can Help!, Paragon House (St. Paul, MN), 2006.

Games and Simulations in Online Learning: Research and Development Frameworks, Information Science Publishing (Hershey, PA), 2007.

Contributor of articles and essays to periodicals, including Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, and Edutopia. Also author of Marc Prensky's Weblog.

SIDELIGHTS:

Marc Prensky, a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, initially taught math at Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem, New York, before he transitioned to Citibank Street Academy, also in East Harlem, where his duties expanded. While serving as director at Citibank Street Academy, he taught math, reading, and French and also attended to administrative responsibilities such as budget planning, teacher training and evaluation, and staffing. Marc also spent several years as a professional concert musician, performing as a member of the New York City Opera as well as serving as an adjunct professor of Music at Wagner College on Staten Island, New York. After gaining valuable experience in the entertainment industry, Marc transitioned into the corporate arena where he worked as a business consultant and executive heading human resource, product development, marketing, research, and technology initiatives. In 1999, Marc launched Games2train as an online company dedicated to providing custom game-based training software for a diverse clientele. Offering multiplayer, flash, and phone games, Games2train provides an innovative accompaniment to alternative teaching methods. Prensky has written several books on the subject, including Digital Game-Based Learning, "Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning!" How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids for Twenty-first Century Success and How You Can Help!, and Games and Simulations in Online Learning: Research and Development Frameworks.

In Digital Game-Based Learning, a 2001 McGraw-Hill publication, Prensky offers an alternative paradigm for the methods of teaching and learning. Instead of the more conventional educational practice of lecturing then testing, Prensky provides an alternative framework and language in which one can conduct educational research, develop new teaching methodologies, and actively engage learners. He advocates game-based learning, or learning via the participation in an interactive and immediate computer environment, as a means for educators and trainers to convey valuable information to students that are accustomed to technology as their primary source of information garnering. His theory, replete with its own vocabulary, defines the target users, offers strategies for transitioning to this particular learning format, addresses the generational gap in technological awareness, and provides a variety of products to reference within the genre. Training reviewer Skip Corsini noted that Digital Game-Based Learning is "a great book about the social anthropology of learning and the future of the workplace" and that Prensky details the extent to which "learners have changed and why education and training have not." In an E-Learning interview with contributor Paul DeVeaux, Prensky explained how he makes a distinction in the book "between digital immigrants and digital natives." Prensky labels the younger generations of technologically comfortable individuals the "digital natives," who have their own language and methods of learning, and those that are progressively acclimating to technological materials the "digital immigrants" who rely on more static modes of information relation. Prensky also explained that several branches of the military, the Navy, the Marines, and the United States Military Academy at West Point, now employ these learning techniques. Although James M. Lang, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, found "questionable" Prensky's assumption that there is "a uniformity among digital natives and their preferred learning methods," he encouraged educators to "welcome the pedagogical innovations of Prensky and his collaborators."

Prensky's "Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning!," published in 2006 by Paragon House, challenges the assumption that game play is not related to education. According to Vanessa Bush in Booklist, "Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning!" "debunks the accepted wisdom that video games are harmful to children" and advocates the theory that children learn a multitude of skills from games, such as critical thinking and linguistic developments. Moreover, the text gives numerous examples of the success of game training, such as its uses by the military and medical professions, and provides qualitative data research to back its claims. An Internet Bookwatch reviewer found the text a "fascinating study" with an "engaging analysis." Games and Simulations in Online Learning, a 2007 Information Science Publishing release edited by Prensky, David Gibson, and Clark Aldrich, also explores the interconnectedness of children, learning, and play. The book describes the potential of emerging learning technologies, game- and simulation-based learning in particular, and details the possibilities and advantages that its use in structured educational settings can bring. Utilizing a collection of contributor chapters, Games and Simulations in Online Learning illustrates the role that interactive digital media fulfills and its ability to evolve and quickly incorporate new information, thus remaining a relevant educational resource.

Marc Prensky has developed over one hundred software programs for multiplatform systems and has delivered speeches and presentations to international audiences. His professional services include game and learning research, writing, consulting, and custom designed applications. Prensky is a native New York resident where he lives with his wife, writer Rie Takemura.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of "Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning!" How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids for Twenty-first Century Success and How You Can Help!, p. 55.

Chronicle of Higher Education, June 1, 2007, James M. Lang, "A Brain and a Book."

E-Learning, April 1, 2001, Paul DeVeaux, "Government War Games," p. 30.

Internet Bookwatch, May 1, 2006, review of "Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning!"

Journal for Quality and Participation, December 22, 2003, review of Digital Game-Based Learning, p. 45.

Quill & Quire, August 1, 2001, review of Digital Game-Based Learning, p. 20.

Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2001, review of Digital Game-Based Learning, p. 170.

T&D, June 1, 2003, Jennifer Salopek, "Going Native: Cross the Generation Gap by Learning to Speak Game," p. 17.

Training, May 1, 2001, Skip Corsini, review of Digital Game-Based Learning, p. 82.

ONLINE

elearningpost Web site,http://www.elearningpost.com/ (March 15, 2001), author interview.

Games2train Web site,http://www.games2train.com (April 14, 2008), author profile.

Official Marc Prensky Web site,http://www.marcprensky.com (April 14, 2008).