Blog 2 – Cognitive Complexity

Prompt 1:

Marc Prensky is the author of Brain Gain: Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom. In a video synopsis of the concept of Brain Gain, Prensky discusses how today’s students are underutilized and taught from a top down perspective. He states that current educators are spending too much time trying to teach students the way we were taught, when the world that they will live in is not the world we grew up in. “Technology is in the air they breath” and should be incorporated into the education they receive. Educators must equip the students with the skills to be competitive on a global scale (Prensky, 2004).

Yong Zhao is the author of World Class Learners. In the video synopsis of World Class Learners, Zhao also expressed the idea of a reform in the world of education. He states a necessary shift in the paradigm and pedagogy. Zhao referenced the top down/bottom up model, but added the new creation of a middle class. The creative class must be exactly that, creative. Teaching in a more personalized manner, highlighting individual strengths. Instead, current educators are trying to fix their deficiencies using outdated techniques. They must also be entrepreneurs and able to function in globalized circumstances. For the entrepreneurs, Zhao mentions how technology replaces the human component of a job and creates a new job opportunity (Zhao, 2014).

Both Prensky and Zhao referenced how technology has changed the world and the way we do things. Both authors mentioned a desperate need to change the way we are teaching and preparing our students. Prensky referenced Socrates. Socrates believed everything should exist in the mind. But he had a tech geeky friend, Plato, that wrote everything down utilizing the available technology. Zhao discussed how technology has changed agriculture. Plowing a field using the assistance of an animal lead to the replacement of the animal with a machine opening the door or new opportunities. Teaching students to utilize the technology will prepare them for the competitive global economy they will live in.

I do feel that both have a desire to change the way we teach but they also seemed to have different perspectives. Prensky discussed how the technology is more of a baseline skill and how we need to engage our students as a community. Zhao seemed to be more individually based, looking more towards the individual creativity and product generated. The class text, Real-World Learning Framework, seems to have combined the two ideas. Challenging teachers to push students to think on a higher level, create products and share their information with the world.



Maxwell, M., Stobaugh, R., & Tassell, J. L. (n.d.). Real-world learning framework for secondary schools: Digital tools and practical strategies for successful implementation.

Prensky, M. (2012). Brain gain: Technology and the quest for digital wisdom. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Zhao, Y. (2012). World class learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Make your own mind maps with Mindomo.


Prompt 2:

Scenario: Students will group pictures of prehistoric animals based on similar species.


  • What is the level of cognitive complexity of this task?


For students to group pictures of animals based on similar species is a Practicing level on the Cognitive-Complexity framework. Under the Bloom’s structure, students would be classifying the animals on and Understanding level.


  • What are some ways to increase the level of thinking for this task?


To increase the level of thinking, students could generate a Google Form. The students could look at the picture and answer questions on the form. After the data has been gathered, the students could use the responses from the Google Sheet to appropriately categorize the animals.

Link to form: Animal Classification


  • What is the new level of cognitive complexity.


The new level of cognitive complexity would be Integrating. In the integrating level, students would generate questions that pertain to a specific project or content. 

1 thought on “Blog 2 – Cognitive Complexity

  • I agree with your thoughts that Zhao and Prensky. I know I am guilty of having the mindset of not incorporating technology enough. Growing up during a time when technology was not a readily available as it is today, it is difficult to incorporate technology through all subjects. I found this great video, Technology in Education – From Novelty to Norm( that discussed various ways simple technologies are used in the classroom. Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons are Many ( was a great article that reiterated the importance of teaching technology in the classroom.

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