Prensky’s Solutions for Public Schools Are Woefully Simplistic

John SenerBy John Sener

[Note: This article was first posted as a comment (9.7.10) on Marc Prensky‘s “Simple Changes in Current Practices May Save Our Schools” (7.12.10). It also refers to Steve Eskow‘s comment (9.6.10) on the article. -js]

Sorry, but I do not share others’ enthusiasm for Prensky’s approach. The idea to distribute 55 million tarballs is extremely expensive and highly impractical as Steve Eskow’s post illustrates. In fact, such an effort would be seen as a “Trojan horse” attempt to impose federal control over education, and face broad resistance as a result.

His other specific ideas are nice but hardly original — in fact, no doubt they are being done by hundreds, in some cases thousands, of teachers and thousands, perhaps millions, of students.

The real issue for me is: why do 55 million schoolchildren have to be involved in this? Yes, the BP spill affects everyone; so do thousands of other issues. Wouldn’t sending out 55 million tarballs deprive teachers of the opportunity to experiment and innovate, which Prensky purports to advocate? Please note carefully: Prensky did NOT say, “develop a program to send out tarballs to every teacher who requests one.” No, instead he proposed a blanket “solution” for everybody. The distinction is crucial, and not merely rhetorical, as it reflects an ultimately authoritarian approach to moving forward. Continue reading