The Tech Edvocate’s List of the 10 Must-Read Books about Edtech
*The Tech Edvocate is pleased to produce its “Best of the Best” resource lists. These lists provide our readers with rankings for edtech related blogs, twitter accounts, influencers, products, etc. These lists are meant to be fluid, and for that reason, they are regularly updated to provide up to the moment information.*
As an educator, you already know the importance of reading. When it comes to technology, there is a constant flow of new books and publications, but many of them only capture a small part of what you need to know, and they become outdated far too quickly. Getting your hands on an edtech book is really simple, but finding one that will help you can be an incredibly time-consuming endeavor. Whether you want to see how technology can help (or harm) in the classroom, see what tools are available, understand how students today view technology or see how technology has affected education in the past (and how it is likely to affect education in the future), there is a book that can help.
This list of 10 books includes some of the most insightful and inspiring details to help you determine the right path forward for your students or school. They are listed in no particular order.
Far too often people say that gaming is always a waste of time, but this is not only wildly inaccurate, but you are also missing a huge opportunity if you don’t use games to their greatest potential. This book takes a look at how video games not only pull students into a new world; they provide lasting impressions and understanding. There is a highlight on helping children with some of the most complicated processes, namely critical thinking and problem solving. It also provides a glimpse into the future of the industry, giving you a way to start rethinking how you use games to teach.
Another book about games and students, this tome takes a slightly different approach and examines games as a tool. There is a focus on how games are particularly beneficial for students who have difficulty learning. Often the problem is that some students think differently, and with a number of kids having an increasing need to learn through technology early on, games are a tool that is having an increasingly improved effect. The book also looks at how much games have already done to change the way people think about education.
Reaching students these days means being able to talk to them using the communication methods that they know best – social media. The book seeks to make technology easy for every educator to understand, no matter how the educator feels about technology. With different tricks and tips, there are plenty of suggestions about how to make the most of these unique aspects of technology.
21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn, James Bellanca and Ron Brandt (Twitter)
The use of technology is pervasive among students today. Unlike any generation before them, students have a constant form of communication and learning at their fingertips, and it has changed the way that they think. This book covers how educators can change and adapt with technology so that they can continue to connect with students. It is one of a series, and you can pick up the other books to get a full look at how understanding current technology will give you the necessary tools to connect with students.
Technology has significantly simplified the way students access information, and these tools can literally go with them anywhere. While technology is often used for petty stuff, like taking selfies, there is the potential for so much more if you use the tools to educate. Because students are already familiar with the tools, all you have to do is point them in the right direction – you just have to know what direction that is. This book explains how all of the tools that your students bring to school every day can be used to enhance their educational experience.
The primary focus of this book is in the ways that technology has failed the American school system. There has been an ever increasing demand to upgrade at the expense of everything else and that has backfired in many respects. The drive to meet certain standards (most aptly illustrated with the fad of ineffectual standardized tests) over everything else has exacerbated other issues that students have. To upgrade computers, schools have cut back on basics, such as music, art, and PE, subjects that help students to think differently and learn to focus. As students becoming increasingly distracted by the latest in technology, they fail to learn how to think and focus. This book examines the problem on a national scale following Oppenheimer’s research and visits to numerous schools across the country.
As the man who coined the phrase digital natives, it is not a surprise that two of Prensky’s books are on this list. Outside of gaming, there are many different ways to use technology to better educate students who cannot imagine life without having a wealth of information always at their fingertips. This book helps educators make the most out of a more focused approach to using the technology, such as analysis and presentations. It offers ways that educators (teachers and administrators) can partner to use technology to its full potential.
This is the only book on the list that focuses on higher education. At a time when debt is making people question the value of further schooling, it is a very timely book. The book begins by examining the roots of the words college and university (both of which refer to a community) and argues about the ways the system can be changed to reach a wider audience better. It also argues that America cannot continue on its current path of producing fewer college graduates with insurmountable debts, essentially penalizing people for wanting to be educated. It then examines how technology has made it easy to create the right environment to educate students. There is a heavy focus on ideas like open-source education where people can share their knowledge about the latest in technology.
Perhaps the most optimistic and inspirational book on the list, this one looks at how constant change helps to keep students inspired in the potential of the future. The authors look at how the culture associated with technology has become fluid and adaptable. It is also an incredible challenge for educators. It contains numerous stories and interesting tales about those challenges and how technology even provides many of the answers to the problems it creates.
Education has been around for millennia in many different forms, but none of the earlier iterations of education was anything like what you see in classrooms today. Technology has completely revolutionized the way schools and educators look at learning. The book explores how technology has been a constant driver in the background of education for centuries, just not on the same scale as it is today.
Each of these books offers a unique look into a different aspect of edtech. They give you a different perspective to consider so that you can make better use of the technological tools currently at your disposal while being cautious about how you implement them. If you find that you feel a particular affinity for one of the authors, you can check out the author’s website to see what other books they have available for future research and ideas.