Updated for the 2020-2021 school year.
Everyone has their own reading style. I’ve been blessed with above-average reading speed so I usually have at least 3 books going at one time. In this time of lockdowns and voluntary brumation, that trend has accelerated even more.
Luckily for you, that means I’ve been able to fit in some books about technology in the classroom. This isn’t a traditional “best books on education” list though. It’s more holistic than that.
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Over the past few years I have read a fair collection of winners, a fair collection of losers and far too many mediocre education technology books. The aim here is to share the ones that have been so highly recommended they are considered must reads. Each of these books has come highly recommended to me over the years. Some are older must-reads, while others have just come out over the past twelve months. And of course, to continue learning from this PLN please do add your own suggestions and must-reads in the comments below.
Education Technology Books For The 2020-2021 School Year
Sir Ken Robinson
Anyone familiar with Ken Robinson and his amazingly popular TED talk, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity‘ (if you have not seen this just go watch it, I will wait), will understand that this is a must read. The book follows Ken’s belief that creativity is woefully undervalued in modern education. This book deleves into why this has occurred and how we can change it. Once you read this book, you will completely change your mind-set on learning and creativity (in the broadest sense).
Sir Robinson uses the metaphor of locking and unlocking actions a key to describe the power the schools and communities have in the way they use resources to inspire creativity. The book addresses the questions of why creativity is so important in life, at school and work; why people think they lack creativity; and the solution to unlocking the power of creativity in students.
The third edition contains updated case studies, demographics, and have revised the sections on technology and changes to the education system.
2. Teach Like a PIRATE: Using Classroom Technology to Create an Experience and Make Learning Memorable
Using real-life examples and practical lesson ideas, the author shows how to turn syllabus expectations into skills students can use to become problem-solvers and adults who can communicate their ideas.
The book shows teachers how to use computational thinking and code for all grade levels and subjects, irrespective of the teacher’s computer skills. According to the author, all teachers can use coding concepts to shape their pedagogy and instructional practices.
The book provides realistic and practical solutions for parents and educators on how to help students improve productivity and become organized in a digital world. The social media world of teens and tweens are explained for parents and teachers so that they can understand and work with the kids to help them. It helps kids to prioritize and learn to manage distractions.
Safe and healthy socialization with effective self-regulation is possible when students, parents, and teachers follow the guide and work together.
Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith
The guidebook helps teachers use Google Apps and online tools to engage learners and amplify their learning experience. Focusing on 20 essential tools, the book shows teachers how to prepare their students for the future using technology in a meaningful way.
Practical ideas and classroom examples assist teachers in deciding how they want the students to record the process they used and how to demonstrate and share what they’ve learned.
The author discusses how to revamp traditional pedagogy for the digital world. The book defines, explains and provides examples of the three pillars: design the instructions, curate the curriculum and build feedback loops.
Teachers can help and support students to make and resolve mistakes faster when they understand the student’s roles in a digital classroom.
Alice Keeler and Libbie Miller
A thorough overview of the Google Classroom App shortens the learning curve of implementing new technology. Screenshots and step-by-step instructions demonstrate how to maximize the usage of this free tool.
The book shows teachers how to create lessons, add students, monitor them, reduce cheating, share announcements and assignments, and personalize the learning experience.
Textbooks students use may already be outdated, especially in the fast-paced world of today. Matt encourages the teacher to remove meaningless, outdated teaching practices and to update standard teaching methods. There’s only so much time in the school day, so why waste any of it on items we know aren’t worthwhile?
Easy to read but very practical; each chapter shows teachers how to modernize their teaching methods. The advice and resources in the book demonstrate to teachers how to implement technology in a way that it will work for the teacher and the students. His website is a must read as well.
John Palfrey and Urs Gasser
As leading internet and technology experts, the authors paint a sociological picture of what the world looks like to a generation born in the digital age. The book explores privacy concerns, ethical issues, the psychological effect of information overload, and other problems.
It also addresses the concern of how digital technology facilitates and influences the younger generation’s interactions, communication, friendships, and activities.
As a big fan of Will Richardson, I was delighted when this book was recommended to me by a colleague. The book studies the most powerful tool in an EdTech leader’s arsenal, the PLN. Dissecting and advising on the benefits and learning opportunities that can be achieved through networking, this is a great read for anyone building or just starting to grow their PLN.
Technology enhances good teaching strategies. The book puts the use of technology in the classroom in perspective. Triple E Framework is introduced to enhance learning experience beyond the traditional means and help teachers engage with their students in time-on-task learning.
The lesson planning template and case studies on how to integrate technology give teachers practical guidelines on how to use technology in their classroom.
Ten easy to understand chapters takes the reader through a journey on how to implement technology in the classroom in a meaningful way. Many of the ideas teachers can implement immediately.
Included are tips on how to use QR codes and apps to improve communication with parents, strategies to motivate students to share their learning experiences, and practical ideas how to improve critical thinking and creativity in students.
Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgings
The book thoroughly covers the topic of fake news; its background, the types of fake news, and how to know when it’s fake news. Then it shows readers how to avoid and not be sucked in by fake news spread at school or on social media platforms.
Multiple resources are listed to help teachers show students how to recognize fact from fiction and not to spread false stories.
The three-part book discusses why it’s time to shake up learning using technology; what classroom changes support dynamic learning experiences; and how to plan meaningful lessons.
The purpose of the book is to help teachers for all grade levels to use technology to maximize the learning experience. The book is a guide and planning tool with implementation strategies, templates, tips on how to use lesson plans, and to move to learn beyond the school year.
Julia Freeland Fisher
A fresh look at how teachers and administrators can break inequality in the school by building relationships and improve social mobility for students. The latest technology, data, and real-life experiences provide evidence-based guidance on how educators can help.
With modern technology, geography and circumstances no longer limit building and nurturing social relationships. The book explains how to create next-generation learning and connecting hubs.
As an aside, if you want to see what the patron saint of the dot-com bubble is doing these days, he wrote the foreword. (Actually, I kid with the snide remark; he’s a really bright man, so his words do add to the book.)
16. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change The Way the World Will Learn Expanded Edition
Clayton M Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson
See, I kid – I have book recomendation that is authored by Clay. Personally I have found his work somewhat leaning towards the theoretical vs practical, with an aftertaste of guru, but a trusted collegue insisted I put this book in the roundup. If there’s one thing I am aware of, my tastes are not that of the mainstream. Hopefully tat is the case with this book as well.
Outside-the-box strategies, success stories, and fresh ideas may challenge teachers to rethink and re-evaluate student programs and how they understand intelligence. The book may inspire implementing new ideas and strategies.
The book will show how to meet the technology demand, the positive effects of customized learning, how to use disruptive interventions, and equip students for the global market. Or not, maybe (sorry, I can’t help myself.)
Joe Clement and Matt Miles
According to the authors, screen saturation may lead to cognitive and social deficits in students. They expose how powerless teachers are to restrict cellphone distractions; unfocused and zoned-out kids; and administrators maneuvered by questionable science sponsored by corporate purveyors.
The authors make a compelling case for more effective learning. Action steps show parents how they can demand change and save their kids from screen addiction.
Discover technology tools and activities that you as a teacher may feel comfortable with. The variety ensures that there will be tools that resonate with the teacher’s technology skills; that complement the teaching style; and are applicable in the classroom context.
The Second Edition has a new chapter on how to leverage technology for adaptive needs with practical examples of how teachers have implemented it. The book is filled with new ideas and tools and projects the teacher can use immediately.
With so much change occurring in the education space it is often difficult to keep up, stay enthused and most importantly, embrace and grow through change. Not just a critique on current educational practices, ‘A New Culture of Learning’ discusses how schools can embrace a new model of learning and how technology can help foster teaching and change.
Re-enforcing many concepts that education technology mavens see as beneficial to 21st century learning, ‘Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology’ builds an EdTech future that in truth should not be at all far off. With technology creeping into every device, career path and facet of modern living, the book takes a clear steer at how this should impact learning.
One of my all time favorite thinkers, Clay Shirky writes about the huge role technology has played in shaping group organization. Not specifically an education technology book, it really is a must for anyone interested in understanding just how powerful technology can be. I guarantee after reading this your mind will be buzzing with amazing classroom ideas and innovations.
I guarantee after reading this your mind will be buzzing with amazing classroom ideas and innovations
Broken down into seven key areas from content and assessment to habits of the mind, ‘Curriculum 21’ lays out a path for transforming schools into what they must become. With the collective wisdom of ten education thought leaders, renowned author and speaker Heidi Hayes Jacobs shares an idealistic view of where education needs to head.
Another recommendation to me, this book is part of the very popular Leading Edge series. ’21st Century Skills’ unites education authorities from around the globe and asks them to confront the important issues that profoundly impact student success. The book looks at which skills are most important to students and what can be done to help schools include these skills in their repertoire so that twenty-first century learning results.
Another book I read after watching an inspiring YouTube video (once again, you gotta watch this), ‘Drive’ is a brilliant book for both personal and professional growth. Understanding exactly what motivates people to succeed will change the way you motivate yourself, your staff and most importantly, your students. It’s amazing how a few simple concepts backed by fascinating research can have such a huge mental impact.
Last but not least we have Google Apps for Littles. The authors show practical ways of how to integrate digital tools in pre-K and elementary school classrooms. The children may already be familiar with smartphones and tablets. By showing them how to use digital tools to learn, teachers may equip them for future education and help to satisfy their curiosity.
The book contains exercise to stimulate critical thinking and collaboration, activities to integrate Google Apps, and ideas on how to use G Suite for educators.
What education technology books have you loved? Drop a comment below and help add to the list!
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, CarbonNYC.