Making A Difference

Real-World Learning for the Digital Generation

Marc Prensky (MBA 1980)

Marc Prensky (MBA 1980) is founder and executive director of the Global Future Education Foundation and Institute, which is promoting new educations goals for 21st-century learners. In this video, he explains the basis of his ideas for real-world, accomplishment-based education for the digital generation.

“The work that I’m doing now is trying to create a global organization that makes our kids what they don’t become necessarily at school: good, effective, world-improving people. We want to do this through liberating the new power that kids have these days. They are very empowered kids. It hasn’t been tapped. They really can and they want to improve the world, and so we need a program of real-world accomplishment.

“The old educational paradigm that we’ve been with for several hundred years is a very academic paradigm. It’s mostly about thinking; it has to do with achievement and getting grades and being better. So the achievement [goal] needs to change over to real-world accomplishment. And this is something that can happen everywhere, all over the world. Kids in poor places can be improving their water-quality systems; kids in rich places can be improving their neighborhoods and building robots and doing things that help the world both locally and globally.

“I think what HBS did for me was [that it] began to make me a global thinker and a thinker about large problems and strategies for getting from one place to another. I began to look at education through the lens of, ‘What would we do if we started from zero? If we didn’t have math, language, science, and social studies, what would we do?’ And I think what we would do is help kids get involved in the real world, solving the problems, using the technology, of course, but also using all the connections and power and new thinking that the technology brings with it.”

(Published January 2016)