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Books I’ll Be Reading This Summer


There are three (open access) books I’ve been meaning to read and review, but I realized if I waited until I finished them, it would take a while, so I thought it would be good to post a “preview” here, of why I hope to dip into these books over summer.

Education and Technology: Critical Approaches

This CC-licensed e-book is edited by Giselle Martins dos Santos Ferreira, Luiz Alexandre da Silva Rosado and Jaciara de Sa Carvalho. The book “brings together texts which question the hypothetical neutrality of technology and are not based upon reductionist or universalised views of a world that is, indeed, marked by difference, complexity and inequality” (p. 11). Apart from admiring the ethos of the book, I also admire the editors’ effort in making it fully bilingual – all articles are available in both English and Portuguese (not just the abstracts, the entire articles). I also found it thoughtful that the book also includes provocative images by Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski.

The book includes two chapters by Audrey Watters, one of the “The history of the future of EdTech” and one on “Un-fathomable: the hidden history of EdTech”. It also has chapters by people known for their critical approaches to edtech, such as Martin Weller, Lesley Gourlay, Jeremy Knox, Richard Hall and Neil Selwyn. I don’t know some of the other authors, but they offer intriguing titles such as “Objects as subjects: the radical displacement” (by Raquel Goulart Barreto) and “From meditation to datafication: theorising evolving treneds in media, technology and learning” (by Giota Alevizou).

What’s more, the book has an accompanying website and they have started recently adding videos to their YouTube channel with teasers from the chapter authors. The first such video comes from Audrey Watters.

Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science

This CC-licensed e-book is edited by Rajiv Jhangiani and Robert Biswas-Diener (get it here). I read small parts of the book ahead of my OER17 keynote, and cited the idea in the introduction of the book about openness as a gift. The editors write “Open is a gift on offer. Like any gift, it is up to you whether you think it is worthwhile to accept it. We only ask that you consider” (p. 6).

I am looking forward to digging deeper into the book, which includes chapters on “A Brief History of Open Educational Resources” by M. Smith & T. J. Bliss, “Open Licensing and Open Education Licensing Policy” by Cable Green, “From OER to Open Pedagogy: Harnessing the Power of Open” by Robin DeRosa and Scott Robison, “Iterating Toward Openness: Lessons Learned on a Personal Journey” by David Wiley and “How to Open an Academic Department” by Farhad Dastur.

Emergency Rations: What’s So Important We Can’t Leave it at Home? #EdtechRations
This book is licensed CC-BY-NC-SA and edited by David Hopkins (buy paperback or Kindle version here). This is a light book, with chapters from many of us in the #edtech field. Contributors come from all over the world, but the majority are from the UK. What I like about this book is that it’s about personal stories of how people relate to their devices and their apps, and I’m considering doing an activity with my students next semester where they read these chapters and they write their own – there is so much you can tell about a person by how they describe their relationships to their most cherished technologies – human stories, not tech stories, and I thought it would help me and my students get to know each other better (disclaimer: there is a chapter in that book by me).

Other Interesting Books To Consider

Just before publishing this post, I became interested in a couple of other books. One is Zeynep Tufecki’s “Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest”, which I heard about from Alan Levine. You can get a preview from the Berkman Center talk she gave, video and audio available here. (Jason’s review of Twitter and Tear Gas will come out next month!)
The other book is Practical Empathy by Indi Young, which I heard about during the recent virtual LXConference, where she was a featured speaker. Video and transcript of a 2015 talk by her on empathy are available on her website here.

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