C. Patrick G. Erker's Reviews > Education to Better Their World: Unleashing the Power of 21st-Century Kids

Education to Better Their World by Marc Prensky
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bookshelves: fellowship-related

Disclaimer: I know Marc personally, having met him a couple of times in San Francisco. As he notes in his bio, he used to work at BCG, which is my current firm. He gave me a copy of his book, which I'm reviewing here. (Of course, I chose on my own volition to read it and write a review!)

Marc Prensky offers a new vision for K-12 education, an alternative to the current model, which most educators, parents, policymakers, and students would agree could use an overhaul. Prensky argues that incremental change, or "doing old things better" won't work, and that instead, we need to "do better things." (I've seen this same language elsewhere, notably in Ted Dintersmith's What Schools Could Be. It's powerful language, and I am not sure who first coined the terminology.)
Prensky's argument is that our current model, in which teachers serve as content providers and students are expected to master specific sets of content, organized around "the MESS" (math, english, science, and social studies), students aren't truly prepared for the world they are entering and themselves shaping. They're learning, effectively, useless facts. The author lays out an approach, which he terms "Education to Better Their World," in which teachers serve as "empowerers," helping students find and execute projects that have real, meaningful impact on the world, right away. This is more than just project-based learning (PBL). It's about students working on the issues of their neighborhoods, cities, and countries, from the time they start school.
It's a moving vision for society. Of course, there are many questions about how this would work in practice, some of which Prensky directly addresses in the appendix. Prensky himself is working to gather a database of such projects, and to find ways of connecting students to those projects. It is a truly noble aim, one that I believe should be further investigated and funded.
The book itself could have used more thorough copy-editing. Especially in the appendix, the book is riddled with small errors that add up to hurt the book's credibility overall. But it is a quick read, and in today's world, we need lots of ideas for improving K12 education.

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Reading Progress

August 19, 2018 – Shelved
August 19, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
August 27, 2018 – Started Reading
August 27, 2018 – Shelved as: fellowship-related
August 30, 2018 –
page 35
September 4, 2018 – Finished Reading
September 5, 2018 –
page 35

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