Tech In Pedagogy

Tech Resources For Your Teaching

5 Education Books with Fresh Perspectives and Great Ideas

Professional growth is essential and can come in many forms. With options like Twitter and Google+, books are sometimes overlooked. Books can be great sources of information when seeking more in depth information on particular topics. These are some of the more informational books I have read about education and educational technology. I chose books with different focuses and objectives to avoid suggesting five books that are essentially the same thing.

I just finished UnCommon Learning by Eric Scheniger, and I found it very useful and well laid out.  Scheniger writes about the topics as an administrator who led the initiative of implementing many of the technologies and strategies in his own school. Each chapter focuses on a different (1) The topics covered are:
  1. Digital Learning
  2. Maker Spaces
  3. Blended and Virtual Learning
  4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  5. Digital Badging
  6. Academies
  7. Connected Learning

One thing that I liked was that I found useful information in each chapter despite my skill level or knowledge of the topic. I have a pretty solid foundation in topics like digital learning, blended learning, and BYOD. I still found several very good suggestions and resources in those chapters though. I am relatively new to the topics of maker spaces and digital badging, but the relevant chapters laid out everything clearly for me so I was able to learn a lot about each topic. It is rare that an author is able to present information to different skill levels effectively in one body of work. This book was also able to provide plenty of links to resources for further research on each topic.

download (3)Creatively Teach Common Core Standards with Technology (Catlin Tucker) In her book, Creatively Teach Common Core Standards with Technology, Catlin Tucker goes a different route and focuses on providing concrete strategies for using technology to address Common Core in the classroom. Tucker focuses her chapters on Common Core anchor standards. She provides resorces and helpful strategies for teaching each anchor standard. I would have also suggested Tucker’s book, Blended Learning in Grades 4-12,  if I wasn’t avoiding repeats on this list. Tucker always has great ideas on her website,, also.

download (4)Creating Innovators: (Tony Wagner)
Whereas Sheninger wrote about concepts and Tucker gave specific strategies, Wagner writes about broader issues. He looks at the concept of innovation in education. Wagner discusses the concept of innovation and its importance for success in the workforce. He then goes on to review the experiences of select teachers, parents, and students know for their innovative practices. Wagner provides a very cogent arguement for the importance of an “innovation driven” curriculum and economy.

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Out of Our Minds (Ken Robinson) Ken Robinson focuses on creativity instead of innovation although his definition of creativity is not far removed from it. Innovation actually comes into the discussion as the ability to act on creative thoughts and ideas. Robinson argues for the importance of fostering creativity in schools. He asserts that all children have creativity, but that the common curriculum stifles creativity. Out of Our Minds, along with Robinsons’ Creative Schools and Finding your Element are engaging reads with lots of interesting ideas.

What Connected Educators do Differently (Todd Whitaker, Jimmy Casas, and Jeffrey Zoul)
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 This book by Whitaker, Casas, and Zoul moves back along the spectrum toward more specific strategies for growth and success. This book provides concrete ways for educators to build and grow their personal learning networks (PLN’s).  The authors discuss various methods for PLN growth. Each chapter also ends with a Follow 5, Find 5, Take 5 section. They give 5 suggestions for people to follow, provide 5 online resources, and suggest 5 action steps to take to grow your PLN. This is a great book for anyone who is new to the benefits of using a PLN.
What books have you read lately that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow me on Twitter @JoshuaElliott3 for more tips and ideas.

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#techinpedagogyeducational technologyreading list • March 13, 2016

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