University Relations and Communications

Expert encourages understanding of 'Digital Natives' during MSU Billings conference next week

June 2, 2010



Regina Cain, Instructional Technology Coordinator, 657-2088
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU Billings Summer Institute June 7-10 focuses on transforming perceptions to improve learning


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Today’s high school and college students — having grown up with computer game controllers and cell phones in their hands — operate at the speed of light on their own level. Yet rarely do educators, parents and adults ask students about their perspective of learning and technology.


That will be a main focus of some workshops next week by an internationally recognized expert on education and learning technologies.


Marc Prensky will present some workshops on “How to Teach Digital Natives” during Montana State University Billings’ Summer Institute. The conference and hands-on learning session is set for June 7-10 and centers on the theme of “Transforming Perceptions.” The conference will be held on the main campus of MSU Billings with many sessions in the College of Education.


Organizers say the conference is a perfect way for educators, social workers, parents, university students and others to move beyond limits set by personal perceptions.


Prensky’s workshops will deal with perceptions people have of “digital natives,” our students who have exceptional skills with technology. He will focus on making education and technology relevant to student interests, not solely on the interest of adults. His presentations will feature panel discussions with students that can serve as a model for the kinds of student/faculty/administrator conversations that should be going on in every school on a regular basis.


Prensky is speaker, writer, consultant and designer in the critical areas of education and learning. He is the author of three books: “Teaching Digital Natives — Partnering for Real Learning,” “Don’t Bother Me Mom — I’m Learning” and “Digital Game-Based Learning.” A book-signing will follow his workshops.


He is founder and CEO of Games2train and creator of the sites and He has created over 50 software games for learning, including the world's first fast-action videogame-based training tools and worldwide, multi-player, multi-team on-line competitions. He has also taught at all levels and holds degrees from Yale and Harvard.


Prensky has been featured in articles in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and the BBC, and was named as one of training's top 10 “visionaries” by Training magazine. His presentations inspire audiences by opening up their minds to new ideas and approaches to technology and education. His products and ideas are innovative, provocative, challenging and clearly show the way of the future, conference organizers say.


In addition to Prensky’s workshops, the Summer Institute will feature keynote speeches and sessions on topics ranging from addressing Indian Education for All, addressing diversity in the classroom, understanding literacy skills and using Google in the classroom. Vendors will also be at the conference to provide hands-on experiences with the latest educational technology.


Sponsors for the conference are the American Indian Big Sky Projects at MSU Billings, Southern Montana Association for Resources and Training, the Region III Comprehensive System of Personnel Development as well as funds from an Office of Public Instruction New Slate Technology Partnership grant.


Conference registration is $150. OPI credits are free of charge, and participants can also register for college credits for $125 per credit.

For more information, call 896-5890.


For more information on Prensky, go to