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Marc Prensky, Leadership Speaker

Marc Prensky

    Integrating Technology, Education, and the Workplace; Founder & CEO, Games2train
Full Bio
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Marc Prensky Speaker Video

Marc Prensky Speaker Video

Marc Prensky Future-cation Video

Marc Prensky Future-cation Video

Marc Prensky - Plan B: Education to Better the World

Marc Prensky - Plan B: Education to Better the World

Marc Prensky Speaker Biography

Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed thought leader, speaker, writer, consultant, and designer in the field of education.

Considered one of the world’s leading experts on the future of education and the connection between education and technology, Marc’s professional focus is on designing better pedagogy and curriculum for the digital generation, and on helping people understand how to thrive in the digital age.

Marc’s ideas are both visionary and practical. (Strategy+Business magazine calls him “That rare visionary who implements.”) Marc has spoken in over 35 countries, and presents regularly throughout the globe.

Marc is the Founder and Executive Director of THE GLOBAL FUTURE EDUCATION FOUNDATION AND INSTITUTE, a not-for-profit organization devoted to advancing PLAN B: EDUCATION TO IMPROVE THE WORLD, including Real-world Accomplishment-Based Education in primary and secondary education worldwide.

Marc strives to understand the perspective of today’s students, offering solutions both for how to teach and motivate them, as well as for how to motivate and reinvigorate teachers. Through his writings and talks, Marc helps educators learn to adapt their offerings in ways that are far more effective for today and tomorrow, including Real-world Accomplishment-Based Education, a new form of “partnering” between teachers and students, and a new far broader curriculum based on Effective Thinking, Effective Action, Effective Relationships and Effective Accomplishment . Prensky focuses on how to best put human minds and digital tools together wisely — in school and in life. In his talks to business groups, Marc shows audiences how to work with young people successfully in the turbulent 21st century.

Marc is the author of six books: From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom (Corwin, 2012) Teaching Digital Natives (Corwin, 2010), Don’t Bother Me, Mom, I’m Learning (Paragon House, 2006), Digital Game-Based Learning (McGraw Hill, 2001), Brain Gain: Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom (Palgrave MacMillan 2012) and The World Needs a New Curriculum (GFEF, 2014). He is also the author of the 2001 article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Marc’s books and articles have been translated into over 10 languages. Marc’s new book in progress: “PLAN B” ; EDUCATION TO IMPROVE THE WORLD will be published by Teachers College Press in 2016.

As a part of his talks around the globe, Marc initiates and conducts unique educator-student (and manager-worker) dialogs about the teaching, training and learning processes — it is often the first time the groups have ever spoken to each other about these important subjects. 

Marc is a strong proponent of “applied passion” — i.e. teachers’ knowing and using students’ individual passions in real-world projects — and of students’ participation in the design of their own education. He helps educators teach future-oriented skills — including problem-solving, partnering, collaborating in online communities, video-making and programming — as an integrated part of all curricula. Marc’s innovative “PLAN B” combination of pedagogy and technology is becoming increasingly accepted and used worldwide as the wave of the future. 

Marc was a pioneer and leader, earlier in his career, in the then-emerging field of “Game-based Learning.” He founded and ran Games2train, a corporate game-based-learning company whose clients included IBM, Bank of America, Pfizer, the U.S. Department of Defense and the L.A. and Florida Virtual Schools. 

Marc holds a BA from Oberlin College, an MBA from Harvard, an MA from Middlebury, and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Yale. Marc ran, in the 1970′s a “Street Academy” in East Harlem, NY, and he has taught at all levels from elementary to college. Marc has also performed on Broadway and at Lincoln Center, worked on Wall Street, and spent six years as a corporate strategist and product development director with the Boston Consulting Group. 

Marc is a native New Yorker. He and his wife, a Japanese writer, and their son Sky have recently moved to Silicon Valley.

GLOBAL EMPOWERED KIDS: “BECOMING” IN THE NEW AGE OF EMPOWERMENT ((Based on Prensky’s upcoming book from Teachers College Press)

The era of just “learning” is over — students also have to “become” good, capable, empowered and world improving people. Rather than just “achieve,” students now need to accomplish projects that benefit the real world. They need to learn to think, act, relate and accomplish effectively, expressing their own unique interests and passions. In this talk, Prensky lays out the Emerging New Paradigm for 3rd Millennium K-12 Education, and shows who is already doing this, what their results are, and how we can all get there.

THE NEW EDUCATIONAL PARADIGM FOR THE THIRD MILLENNIUM (Based on Prensky’s upcoming book from Teachers College Press)

A new paradigm for education is emerging in the world, going from the old “learning and personal accomplishment” to the new “becoming and real-world accomplishment.” In this New Paradigm, the New Goal is “becoming,” the New Pedagogy is “Real-world accomplishment” and the “New Core Curriculum” is Effective Thinking, Effective Action ,Effective Relationships and Effective Accomplishment, combined with strong Situational Awareness about the world, and an underlying foundation of technology.

THE WORLD NEEDS A NEW CURRICULUM (Based on Prensky’s recently published book)

It is time to rethink our 19th century education for the future, says Prensky, not in terms of marginal fixes, but from first principles. Global education needs, he argues, a New Goal, a New Pedagogy, and a New sense of What is Important to Teach. The new goal, says Prensky is “becoming” rather than “learning” — becoming a good, capable, world-improving person. Learning is one means to becoming, and there is even a better means, which is real world accomplishment. That is the new pedagogy — education needs to move beyond “passing on or creating content” and beyond even “problem-based learning” to Accomplishment-Based Education, where the students spend the bulk of their time and efforts, starting in the earliest grades, solving real-world problems. In order to do this, Prensky argues, we need a curriculum that offers not that same math, language science and history for all kids (different students need these in varying amounts), but rather Effective Thinking, Effective Action, Effective Relationships and Effective Accomplishment, which ALL people need to succeed. This “New Core” curriculum needs to be based on individual student passions, have technology as its underlying foundation, and it must focus teachers, as guides and accelerators to “becoming,” on the human elements of Respect, Empathy, Motivation and supporting the Passion of each student.


Most see today’s digital technology as a useful — but optional — tool in their lives. Prensky argues the opposite — that technology is now required, and that turning it off makes us lesser human beings The reason, he says, is that technology is now an extension of our minds. Although we are long accustomed to having our bodies extended by technology, (think clothing and transportation) it is now the brain’s turn, and this new territory is unfamiliar to everyone. Prensky helps audiences understand how and why the same technology that is scaring many in the older, pre-Internet generations to death is also greatly empowering and exciting today’s youth. In this counterintuitive and mind-expanding talk, Prensky illustrates how technology is extending our minds in both a physical an metaphorical sense, and how our expanded minds are changing society in more profound ways than many realize.


Although everyone knows today’s technology is powerful, far too many, limited by past experience, see it only as a new and faster way to do things we could do before. This narrow vison is only the “trivial” side of technology use, argues Prensky — there is a much more powerful set of new technology uses empowering all of us — even elementary school students — to do things that humans could never do before. Prensky guides us through this new world, including real-time visual communication with almost anyone in the world, meeting in virtual worlds, powerful simulations, robotics, analyzing huge data bases, and shows how everyone — from students to business people — can use and benefit from these powerful technology tools — more and more of which we have in our pockets — to improve our school, work and personal lives. In this amusing, powerful and future-oriented talk, Prensky shows how we can avoid “Digital Stupidity” and become digitally wiser, more powerful people, who can use our powerful technology to improve the world.


A decade and a half ago, when Prensky coined the terms Digital Natives and Digital immigrants, there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, not even You Tube! And yet the huge cultural and attitudinal changes to come were already being perceived by him. Today many of these changes are recognized by all — although not always as helpful. But, says Prensky not only are most of them positive, there are many more dramatic positive changes to come. In this original perceptive talk, Prensky shows just how much the world’s culture and context are in rapid flux because of technology, and how the concept of Digital Natives has evolved to be more a cultural one than a technological one. Prensky offers new perspectives on our complex and rapidly changing technology and times, and helps audiences explore and understand, how Digital Natives — and all of us — can, and should, be adapting for the future.


The concepts of “teaching” and “training” are going through profound changes in our time — and not just because of technology. In the past our educational goals evolved from “imitating” to “learning.” But to deal with our turbulent times it is now necessary, says Prensky, to adopt the far more far-reaching and useful goal of “becoming.” In our fast changing third millennium, with its coming deep exploration of both outer and virtual space, we need all our students and workers to become capable, good, people, who improve the world they live in. To succeed going forward, says Prensky, all students and all workers will need to master, in all their complex facets, the core skills of Effective Thinking, Effective Action, Effective Relationships and Effective Accomplishment — strongly supported by technology. In this original and insightful talk, Prensky show audiences how such a “New Core” can be integrated into our teaching and training, using a new methodology of “Accomplishment-Based Education.” Prensky also shows how to avoid letting the “luster” of the new technologies mask the real progress we need in education and training.

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