Global educationalist: empower children now

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26 Sep 2018

The shift that must happen in education, says award-winning American speaker and author Marc Prensky, is that children are given real world problems to solve, instead of content to learn.

Empowerment to make positive change in the world is the key to the ideas Prensky will present in a free public lecture at Ara on 2 October, 4pm-5pm in D Block lecture theatre, as part of the Tertiary ICT Conference 2018.

Titled ‘Civilisation Level Change in Education’ the lecture promises to be an inspiring call to action to prepare our children for a fast changing and uncertain world.

American speaker, author and educational visionary Marc Prensky gives a free public lecture at Ara on 2 October.

“What’s changing is what an education is and what “being educated” means: The world is at the beginning of a civilization-level change in education, from the old “academic” approach that improves individuals, to an “empowering skills” approach that directly improves their world (and individuals in the process),” Prensky explains.

“Learning subjects is not enough, it’s about becoming good effective people, learning how to accomplish your dreams,” he says.

"Learning subjects is not enough" - Marc Prensky

Prensky’s seventh book, Education to Better Their World: Unleashing the Power of 21st Century Kids, develops the theme of empowering children to improve their world as the core of their education, without having to wait until they have finished school.

While technology is certainly part of the equation, Prensky cautions against relying on it too much or rushing to invest in technology that teachers don’t have the capability to fully use. Added to this, technology should not promote the old educational paradigm of kids learning subjects, but should enable the shift to the new educational paradigm of kids solving real-world problems (personal, local, global) that they care about, he says on his website

“This is a rare chance for anyone interested in education in New Zealand to hear directly from a leading global exponent on the future direction of learning and how we can create empowered citizens through education. As well as the free public lecture, Marc [Prensky] will also lead a workshop for conference participants. We have people coming from all over the country to make the most of this opportunity and to participate in a programme of top presenters speaking about topics that are relevant to our work in education,” Tertiary ICT Conference 2018 Chair and Director of IT at Ara, Mark Marshall says.  

Conference: Building for a Diverse Future

The conference theme “Building for a Diverse Future” will investigate the impact digital innovation and change are having on the New Zealand higher education sector and the massive challenge that the digital world brings to educators. The 3-day Tertiary ICT Conference 2018 programme, from 3-5 October, is packed with presentations about technology in education with over 25 vendors in the exhibition hall at Ara’s Kahukura facility.

Presenters include Future Problem Solver and Year 11 St Margaret’s College student Hattie Compton-Moen, who will speak about accessibility of technology; consultant and director, Chair of New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Sue Suckling, who received an OBE for her contribution to New Zealand business; founder of a Women in Technology group and international speaker Emily Hay; exponential technology speaker, founder of Ministry of Awesome and much more, Kaila Colbin; and David Hollands, Educational Digital Developer with over 20 years of experience.

​Ara Computing tutor Amitrajit Sarkar will present on Vision API And Its Application In Tertiary Sector, while Ara Medical Imaging tutor James Hayes presents on Adaptive Effective Digital Learning Intertwined With ML, AI, And VR Simulation.

Ara, Lincoln University and University of Canterbury are jointly hosting the conference, which is principally sponsored by Cyclone, Microsoft and Huawei.

Find out more about Marc Prensky:

Civilisation Level Change in Education is on 2 October, 4pm-5pm in D Block lecture theatre, Ara City Campus Christchurch.