I agree with this critical analysis of marc prensky by Daniel Livingstone, in that Prensky tends to celebrate the differences between "immigrants" and "natives", rather than analysing their deeper significance:
One way in which I may misread Prensky is the degree to which he is describing the differences (as he sees them) between “natives” and “immigrants”, versus celebrating them. I usually read his stuff as mainly the latter - and I think this is his take, that the changes are almost uniformly for the better. Am I misreading Prensky? I don’t think so, but I’d be happy to hear otherwise. But onto the review…Although Prensky might play a positive role initially as a populiser / provocateur, we do have to move on beyond slogans such as "digital immigrant / digital native", "engage me / enrage me" and “50% of the world’s population is under 25″
The question of whether the change is ‘better’ or just ‘different’ certainly applies here. Indeed, in describing the increasing need for immediate feedback and constant stimulation, Prensky could almost be making the same case as Neil Postman does in ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’. Except with the opposite opinion on whether this is a good thing or not.
I like the way prensky talked to and engaged my students when he visited adelaide. He's a nice guy and he knows his games but I would agree that deep critical analysis is not is strong point. However, I noticed how he modified his talk for the adult audience next day, changing the main theme from games to engagement
There was a wide ranging discussion (21 comments) of these issues at the powerhouse museum blog following his talk in Adelaide in March
I've been thinking more recently that another way to look at the whole "gaming phenomenon" is through the lens of political economy
For example, in the new attention economy Prensky can a pack a room of adults at $220 a head. Because he is a provocative advocate of "get off our arses and save education through games" (I'm paraphrasing) he can draw a crowd in a way that a deeper, more thoughtful analyst of educational dilemmas cannot. Isn't the economics of this transaction, the whole weird way in which the education economy works, the bottom line here? Grabbing attention becomes more important than real analysis.
I haven't seen much written about this side of it. But I recently heard a paper (Cairns, ACEC) by Sylvia Martinez at a poorly attended presentation which:
"offers an analysis of why the nature of video and computer games is antithetical to traditional forms of school curriculum, content and assessment. In addition, both consumer and school markets are explored to explain why there are so few successful educational games so that we may find ways to encourage the design of educational games that provide compelling, immersive educational experiences"I've put a link to Sylvia's paper on my learningEvolves wiki and hope to pursue this analysis further.