Engage me or enrage me: What today’s learners demand

by Marc Prensky


In this lively article Marc Prensky argues provocatively that the current, wired, technology-savvy generation of students are engaged everywhere in their lives except at school. “And here it is so boring that the kids, used to this other life, just can’t stand it”.

Prensky argues that there is nothing wrong with twenty-first century students’ attention spans, motivation, or intellects, except that school makes them so. Today’s kids can concentrate for hours online, playing and sharing games in a creative and intellectually challenging fashion. If they are not focused and not achieving in school, it is the school not the students that we need to blame and look for ‘better results’ from.

When reading this article, consider possible critiques of, and gaps in, Prensky’s arguments. For example, what quality controls might a school need to have in place regarding the use of games and other downloads in the classroom? Is it possible to use other pedagogical approaches to students’ learning that are equally engaging, such as creative, stimulating group activities that involve complex judgments and decision making related to relevant community issues?

Prensky is providing some challenging ideas for schools to consider. 

Reflective questions

These reflective questions might guide you in your reading of this article:

  • In what ways is your school prioritising the needs of the groups of "enraged" students by introducing more choice, challenge, creativity and decision-making opportunities within the curriculum?
  • To what extent does your school community think that the curriculum has to be interactive and ICT-based in order to be engaging and worthwhile?
  • What are the key competencies needed by students as future citizens of the world? What curriculum and pedagogical changes does your school need to consider in order to develop those competencies?


Prensky, M. (2005). Engage me or enrage me: What today’s learners demand. Educause Review, 40(5), 60–65.

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