April 3, 2007

Video game creator, author brings pro-gaming message to Purdue

Marc Prensky
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An internationally acclaimed speaker, writer and digital game designer will bring his views on educating and engaging today's "digital generation" with the latest technology to Purdue University on April 16.

Marc Prensky will present "Education and Learning in the 21st Century: Engaging Today's Digital Learner," at 7 p.m. in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. A reception and book signing will immediately follow the free public lecture, which is sponsored by the Discovery Learning Center, one of 10 interdisciplinary research centers in Purdue's Discovery Park.

Prensky, a Harvard MBA and former vice president of human resources at Bankers Trust in New York, also has been a professional musician, high school teacher, business consultant and corporate trainer. A digital game designer since the early 1990s, Prensky has authored two books, "Digital Game-Based Learning," and the recently released "Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning!"

Founder of the e-learning company Games2train, whose clients include IBM, Bank of America and Nokia, Prensky advocates using modern technologies such as video games to entice young people to learn.

"To best help our kids learn, we need to provide them with 21st-century tools: individual computers, cell phones used for learning and software tools that engage kids as well as teach both the curriculum and the technological skills that most teachers do not even have," Prensky said.

Considered one of the world's leading experts on the connection between games and learning, Prensky also has created a video game-based training tool for corporations that has proven popular with schools and the government. He has built more than 100 software games in his career that employ a variety of technologies, from the Internet to cell phones.

Beth Saiki-Olsen, the Learning Center's K-12 liaison, said Prensky's talk has implications for anyone who has ever bought a video game. Prensky said that these gamers are learning important skills that transfer to the classroom and the workplace.

In "Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning!" Prensky notes that rather than being detrimental to children, many video games build important skills while encouraging critical thinking, teamwork, multitasking and measured risk taking.

Beverly Davenport Sypher, interim director of the Discovery Learning Center, said Prensky is a leader among those hoping to harness the potential of serious games to engage youths in novel ways of learning that mirror the ways they lead their lives.

"With the high school drop-out rate at nearly 30 percent and two out of every three high school students saying they are bored every day in school, we clearly need to engage this generation of learners in novel and stimulating ways," Sypher said.

Sypher said the program will be useful for both parents and teachers, along with administrators, researchers, technologists, gamers and anyone interested in digital media. Those in work force training and development also should consider attending.

The Discovery Learning Center aims to advance research that revolutionizes learning, especially in science, technology, engineering and math.

Prensky's talk is co-sponsored by Information Technology at Purdue, the Envision Center for Data Perceptualization, College of Education, College of Science, Purdue Research Foundation, Continuing Education and Conferences and the Center for Research & Engagement in Science & Mathematics Education.

More information is available online at https://www.purdue.edu/dp/dlc/prensky/.

Writer: Tanya Brown, (765) 494-2079, tanyabrown@purdue.edu

Sources: Beverly Davenport Sypher, (765) 494-9709, bdsypher@purdue.edu

Beth Saiki-Olsen, (765) 496-1083, bsaikiol@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


Note to Journalists: Media are invited to cover Prensky's lecture at 7 p.m. April 16 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. For more information, contact Tanya Brown, Purdue News Service, at (765) 494-2079, tanyabrown@purdue.edu


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