These days, it’s almost impossible to be an educator without implementing some kind of technology in the classroom. From blogging to educational games to online tracking tools, there are numerous tools that educators can take advantage of to cater to an increasingly tech-savvy group of learners. But not everyone knows just how to do that or what is best for students, and with so many options it can feel overwhelming to even get started. That’s where great books on the topic can really come in handy. We’ve put together a list of some of the best edtech reads out there, from essential texts on the subject to cutting-edge research, that will help you learn about and implement educational technologies and curricula that can truly benefit both you and your students.
- Instructional Technology and Media for Learning by Sharon E. Smaldino, Deborah L. Lowther, and James D. Russell:
This textbook, now in its 10th edition, is one of the best foundational reads for learning about educational technology. Using examples drawn from real-life K-12 settings, the book shows how technology and media of all kinds can be successfully incorporated into the classroom setting. It also offers tips and tools for developing curricula, working with technology and media specialists within the school, and even ideas on where to find free and cheap resources for your classroom.
- Education, Technology, Power: Educational Computing as a Social Practice by Hank Bromley:
Bromley’s text is perhaps a more academic read on the topic but a useful one nonetheless for those who are looking for a well-rounded approach to understanding educational technology. In a series of essays focusing on cultural criticism, Bromley, an assistant professor in the sociology of education, explores the deeper meaning behind computers and other technologies in the classroom, considering the sociopolitical implications of bringing the high-tech world into education.
- The Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid:
Despite being more than a decade old (eons in technological time), this book still offers a compelling look at the social context of information technology. In it, the authors explore the gap between what we often believe technology should be (or what it’s marketed as being) and how it actually affects us in real life. Interesting examples from education and business show how integrating the social and the technological is a critical step in building technology that really does make our lives easier.
- How Computer Games Help Children Learn by David Williamson Shaffer:
Ever wonder if educational computer games are really helping children learn? This book will show you that they do, highlighting some great examples that are helping students to become critical thinkers and boost problem solving skills. Shaffer also addresses the future of educational gaming, something any educator, even a tech-savvy one, can always stand to learn more about.
- The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education by Curtis J. Bonk:
This text by Indiana University professors of instructional systems technology Chris Bonk is a must-read for any educator interested in bringing more technology into the classroom. Bonk uses his "WE-ALL-LEARN" model to explore 10 key technology and learning trends and to showcase inspiring educators and learners who are making them work. Even better, there’s a companion website to the book that helps keep all the resources and information discussed in the book right at your fingertips.
- Foundations of Educational Technology: Integrative Approaches and Interdisciplinary Perspectives by J. Michael Spector:
This textbook is aimed at student academics in education technology programs, but that doesn’t mean that others interested in the topic can’t benefit from it. It’s filled with exercises for educators that can help with professional development as well as a methodology for bringing technology into the classroom that can be integrated into almost any classroom, no matter the topic or age group.
- Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary by Al Januszewski and Michael Molenda:
Sponsored by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, this book is chock-full of great reference information for anyone looking to learn more about educational technology. Chapters cover topics like key terms and definitions in the field, historical context, and even ethical considerations, offering an amazingly well-rounded look at the subject.
- Digital Game-Based Learning by Marc Prensky:
Marc Prensky believes that technology can be an amazing tool for teaching, especially for students who’ve had trouble learning through more traditional methods. In this book, he offers a look at the potential that game-based learning can have for education, exploring some of the impressive ways games are already changing the face of education.
- Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson:
There’s no doubt that the digital revolution is having a marked impact on education, but Collins and Halverson discuss in this book whether schools are really making the most of the tools they have at their disposal. The authors believe that the education system itself is due for reform that will draw it in line with the needs of Information Age students, outlining problems and proposing solutions that educators will find of interest.
- Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson:
Since it was published in 2010, this book has become a must-read for educators looking to engage students through social technologies like those he describes. This popularity is not without reason. Richardson makes all of these technologies accessible even to those who aren’t especially tech-savvy and practical to use in the classroom setting through valuable tips, tricks, and ideas.
- A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown:
If you’re looking to get inspired about the future of learning, then this read may be one of the best choices on the market today. Thomas and Brown see a culture of learning that evolves with technology and the students who use it, an ideal that isn’t just inspiring but necessary.
- 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn by James Bellance and Ron Brandt:
Technology hasn’t just changed how we learn but also the culture of students who are doing the learning. As a result, educators need to be able to adapt and change. This book, the fifth in a series of books on educational technology, asks teachers to take a hard look at the issues that influence students’ success to discover new ways to improve student outcomes using the latest technologies.
- Recapturing Technology for Education: Keeping Tomorrow in Today’s Classroom by Mark Gura and Bernard Percy:
While a bit dated (it was written in 2005 and much has changed since then), Gura and Percy’s look at technology in education is still applicable to many educational institutions today. Despite the benefits that technologies offer, some educators and administrators are reluctant to allow them into the classroom or to engage students with them in a meaningful way. The authors demonstrate why educators need to bring technology into the classroom to produce students who are ready to take on the challenges of a 21st-century world.
- Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser:
Feel like you don’t understand your students? This book may be able to help. It explains the differing educational and social needs of students who have grown up in a world where the Internet has always existed and been easy to access. Learning more about what makes these digital natives tick can help educators of any age bridge the gap and implement high-tech tools in a way that will help meet the needs of these young minds.
- Teaching with the Tools Kids Really Use: Learning With Web and Mobile Technologies by Susan Brooks-Young:
Kids these days learn to use technology almost as soon as they learn to walk, and navigating high-tech gadgets and the web comes as second nature to many. Written by a middle school teacher, educators will learn some amazing strategies for using smartphones, laptops, MP3 players, and even digital cameras in the classroom to the benefit of modern students.
- Leading 21st-Century Schools: Harnessing Technology for Engagement and Achievement by Lynne M. Schrum and Barbara B. Levin:
If technology isn’t already a part of your school’s curricula, then learn some ways to lead change in your school. While geared towards administrators, this text can also be a great read for any educator who’s trying to get colleagues, administrators, and other professionals on board and on the same page when it comes to edtech.
- The Race Between Education and Technology by Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz:
Take a look at the history of education and technology and where they intersect in this book by social scientists Goldin and Katz. They argue that as technology changes, so does schooling, a process that they demonstrate through historical examples and data. What effect does this have on the modern educational system? You’ll have to read to find out.
- The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall:
Get a push to excel in your professional development, teaching, and leadership skills from this tech-focused book for teachers. Through real-life examples, reflection questions, and step-by-step instructions, the authors guide teachers through a number of processes aimed at getting them using technology in the classroom and helping others to do so as well.
- Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education by Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli:
Do you have a personal learning network? After you read this book you might want to start building one, or at least exploring what they can offer you as a professional. Richardson explains how to use the web to build a network that will make you a better teacher, improve student outcomes, and feel more confident using technology in the classroom.
- Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen, Curtis W. Johnson and Michael B. Horn:
While the word "disruptive" might lead you to think that bringing tech into the class is a bad thing, this book argues quite the opposite, showing real-life examples of how technology can help students succeed, help school reform, and make students more competitive in a global market. If nothing else, read it to see business expert Christensen’s "Jobs to Be Done" theory applied to education.