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Title: Turning On the Lights
Category: Professional Article
Description: Technology

Turning On the Lights 

by Marc Prensky from Educational Leadership

 March 2008 | Volume 65 | Number 6
Reaching the Reluctant Learner    Pages 40-45

Compared with students' technology-infused lives outside of school, the traditional classroom is a somber place.


Power Up or Power Down?

In "Turning On the Lights," Marc Prensky argues that many students today learn more from their technological devices than from teachers who rely on traditional methods. He encourages schools to use technology to engage students in learning and to help them connect with the world.


  • Do you agree with Prensky's notion that requiring students to "power down" in school actually impedes their learning? How might allowing students to use technological devices in class help or hinder their learning? What place do you see in the classroom for laptops, cell phones, mp3 players, social networking sites, Wikipedia, and other technologies?
  • What is our school's policy regarding technology in school? How was this policy developed? What role did teachers, students, and parents have in the creation of your policy? Do you believe your policy meets the needs of your students? If so, why? If not, what changes would you make?

Patrick Welsh, an English teacher at an Alexandria, Virginia, high school, notes in a February 10, 2008, Washington Post article (www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/08/AR2008020803271.html) that some teachers, and even students, question the value of their school's many high-tech "gizmos." He writes,


Science and math teachers, for instance, have been told that they can't use traditional overhead projectors to present material to classes, even though the teachers say that in many cases, they're far superior to computers for getting certain concepts across.


When might the traditional method be the best approach to teaching? How can teachers and administrators balance the desire to stay up-to-date with the need to always make sure that teachers can use the techniques and technologies that best suit their students?

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