Bett Asia 2015 – meeting Marc Prensky

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Bett or The Bett Show (formerly known as the British Educational Training and Technology Show) is a series of global education conferences in the UK, Latin America and Asia. This week they are back again in Singapore and the famous Marina Bay Sands for the Bett Asia Leadership Summit.

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A Singapore icon –  Marina Bay Sands

A highlight for me on day 1 of this event was meeting Marc Prensky and catching up again with my friend Dan Haesler.

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Marc Prensky, Dan Haesler & me

I’ve been reading Marc Prensky‘s work since he invented and popularised the terms ‘Digital Native’ & ‘Digital Immigrant’ in the early 2000’s.  Dan Haesler and I first met on the EduTECH stage in 2014. Both men are very entertaining and thought provoking speakers with a a real heart for education reform and doing what is best for 21st Century learners.

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Marc challenged us to re-think the curriculum so it has a more real life focus. He stressed that what students need from teachers is encouragement for them to apply their passions, have their respect, their trust and to believe in them.

He said students learn better when doing real projects for real audiences which in turn prepared them for the real-world.

The 21st Century learner has an extended brain, the digital devices that are with them all the time and networked to other students all over the world. They collaborate in new ways without the boundaries of the tradition classroom.

Prensky argues that teachers often underestimate the value that their students can bring. He encourages educators to trust their students and have high expectations that they will achieve great things. He says nothing builds self esteem an confidence like accomplishment and when those achievements are real-world based and seen by an authentic audience, the learning experience is even more powerful.

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He calls on all educators to go beyond the academic grades that mean very little in the ‘real world’, harness students individual passions and encourage students to keep a resume of their achievements. Prensky argues that a 21st century curriculum should be based on thinking skills, technical skills, actions, problem solving, relationships and accomplishments. Traditional mathematics, science and social studies and still important but need to be delivered in a real world context with a real-world audience.

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Here are some other images of Day 1

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I’m looking forward to Day 2 …