education technology books

Updated for the 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 2021 School Year

1. Out of Our Minds – 3rd Edition

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

Matt Miller

Great book for teachers new to using tech in the classroom

This book is geared a bit more towards beginning teachers and ones that haven’t been relying on technology much in the classroom, but there are gems within for all levels of educators.  Mr. Miller provides not only research but more importantly practical examples.   I thought this would be helpful for teachers that are working through teaching virtually or blended classrooms this year – it’s great when looking for ideas for experimentation.
The book has many links to templates to use at the Ditch That Textbook website.  Pick up this book and you’ll soon be thinking of ways to make learning lessons into experiences.

3. Code Breaker: Increase Creativity, Remix Assessment, and Develop a Class of Coder Ninjas!

Brian Aspinall

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.

4. Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World

Ana Homayoun

social media wellness

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.

5. The Google Infused Classroom: A Guide to Make Thinking Visible And Amplify Student Voice

Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith

google infused classroom

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.

6. New Pillars of Modern Teaching: Solutions For Modern Thinking

Gayle Allen

new pillars modern teaching

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.

7. 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom

Alice Keeler and Libbie Miller

google classroom 50

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.

8. Ditch That Textbook: Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom

Matt Miller

ditch that textbook

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.

9. Born Digital: How Kids Grow Up In a Digital Age: Revised and Expanded Edition

John Palfrey and Urs Gasser

born digital

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.

10. Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education

Will Richardson & Rob MancabelliPersonal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education

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.

11. Learning First Technology Second

Liz Kolb

learning first tech second

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.

12. Illuminate: Technology Enhanced Learning

Bethany Petty


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.

13. Fact Vs Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News

Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgings

fact vs fiction

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.

14. Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning from Static to Dynamic

Kasey Bell

shake up learning

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.

15. Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students’ Networks

Julia Freeland Fisher

who you know

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

disrupting class

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.)

17. Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse is Making Our Kids Dumber

Joe Clement and Matt Miles

screen schooled

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.

18. Integrating Technology in the Classroom: Tools to Meet the Needs of Every Student 2nd Edition

Boni Hamilton

integrating tech in classroom

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.

19. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change

Douglas Thomas & John Seely BrownA New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change

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.

20. Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America

Allan Collins & Richard HalversonRethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America

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.

21. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Clay ShirkyHere Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

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

22. Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World

Heidi Hayes JacobsCurriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World

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.

23. 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn

James Bellanca & Ron Brandt21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn

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.

24. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniel H. PinkDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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.

25. Google Apps For Littles: Believe They Can

Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler

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.


  1. Great list! I have read #1, 2, 6 and 8 myself. I also like your “two books on the go” reading rule. An idea worth a future post.

    If I may be so bold, I would add Who Owns The Learning? by Alan November and The Connected Educator by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall to that list.

    1. Thanks for the comment Matt! Great additions to the list. I’ve added both of them to my wishlist. If you liked #1 and #8 then I guarantee you will love #5.

  2. “Everyone has their own reading style. My long held reading rule is to have two books on the go. One trashy thriller to tune out the world with, and one “mind nourishing” non-fiction to make sure I am not letting life float by (it’s also a bit less embarrassing to pull out on the train). ”
    I thought it was just me. I actually “buy myself off” – if I allow myself to read one escape-ism, I will be diligent about the mind-nourishing book. (High-energy physics/cosmology)

    1. Haha! I am so glad I’m not the only one playing mind games with myself :) It’s like eating a well balanced diet. You can have dessert once you’ve finished your vegetables. Thanks for the great comment Nedley!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this blog. I am learning all kinda of new ways to incorporate technology in the classroom. I have never read any of these books, but after hearing your input on each of the books, I am excited to begin reading one. The book “A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change really interest me. It is important to keep up, stay enthused, and grow through change. I cannot wait to share these books with my class! I am an elementary education major at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class. You can follow our class blog You can follow my blog at Thank you for sharing these books!

  4. I would also recommend One Room Schoolhouse- Education Reimagined by Sal Khan, his vision is the future of education. Also, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal, not strictly about education but does have some good ideas about using point to encourage teamwork, motivation, and effort.

  5. I’m a little late with my response, but your intro made me laugh — I also have one non-fiction book and one “fluffy” fiction book on my nightstand. I love Drive and Ken Robinson, so I would recommend Robinson’s latest book, Creative Schools, which touts personalized learning. And, for the ultimate in personal learning, I would recommend anything by Dr. Maria Montessori. It may seem outdated since she was an observant educator/physician over 100 years ago, but her observations are the same ones everyone else is now “discovering!” If it seems overwhelming, start with Paula Polk Lillard’s “Montessori: A Modern Approach.” Technology doesn’t always have to mean computers and electronics…

    1. Hi Liz, glad it made you smile :) Guilty pleasures
      Great thoughts and the latest Ken Robinson is a must. Love the Dr. Maria Montessori tip too. It’s amazing how timeless some of the books are!

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