This morning I received an e-mail from onlinecollege.org, promoting a recent blog post featuring “The 30 Best Books for EdTech Geeks.” I’ve taken a moment to look over the titles, and it would make an interesting reading list. I haven’t started the process of buying or reading these books, but I have some immediate thoughts about the list:
- Availability in Kindle, Nook, or ePub formats. All of these books, as “EdTech” books, should be available as digital documents–preferably at a reduced price.
- Books are based on old information. I’ve decided that part of the joy of reading blogs is the immediacy of the material–particularly from reading blogs about technology integration. I want to know what is working now, not what worked several months or years earlier in the realm of technology. Don’t get me wrong–I love books, and I love reading. But I love reading books when the material isn’t time-sensitive. This is also true for presentations at conferences. Several years ago, I attended my first TIES conference. One of the sessions I attended (with a fellow teacher who is now a principal) was called, “Hot topics in education technology.” The speaker stood up and said, “This is a presentation I gave last summer (it was now December), but I think this is all applicable.” It wasn’t. Technology can change and an incredibly fasten rate. I guarantee you that is our “new” technology-based high school that opened in 2009 opened in 2011, we would not have followed many of the plans we had based on older technology–we would have gone with an iPad strategy. Books on the use of technology in education are quickly outdated–unless they are ePubs distributed by the authors themselves with up-to-date information.
- Pushed updates. I’d love to see iBooks (or other digital book stores) offer pushed updates of books, including textbooks. A book should be purchased once and then updated for free. If an author wishes to write a new book, with a new title, that’s fine. But we should follow the example of the App Store where updates (for the majority of the same information) are free. If you promised schools free updates when buying a digital book for the same price as a printed book (which is currently happening in education, causing a much higher profit level for the publisher and no greater finical incentive to the author), schools would “bite” on that agreement. The risk is that schools will write their own textbooks, avoiding the publisher altogether.
- No reading list can be all-encompassing. Daniel Pink is absent from the list, which is interesting, as here in Minnesota, he seems to be a guiding figure about technology and how it will change and has changed our society. Several school districts have based their entire technology strategy around Pink’s thoughts.
Again, I have nothing against a reading list, and I’ll be checking out some of these titles, pending the accessibility of the material and time in my schedule.