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14 edu-books worth reading

By Jennifer Snelling 12/14/2017

If you’re looking for an education-themed book to inspire you or someone on your shopping list, look no further! We asked ISTE members to tell us their favorite edu-reads, and we got a long list. Read on to find something for every educator. 

Courageous Edventures. Jennie Magiera shares her story of finding her courage and discovering ways to innovate in the classroom. Foreign language and STEAM teacher Rachelle Dene Poth says, “Magiera talks you through the stages of becoming more innovative and how to keep pushing forward. You can relate to her throughout the book and her humor within the book make it really enjoyable to read. And it definitely inspires.”

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. In this New York Times bestseller, Daniel Pink asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction at work, school or home is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. ISTE members will immediately recognize how this one relates to students.

Equity 101: The Equity Framework. Curtis W. Linton offers a practical approach to equity. Educator Jorge Valenzuela says this book correlates well to the ISTE Standards for Educators, especially indicator 3a, which states, “Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that builds relationships and community.”

Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student. A.J. Juliani and John Spencer wrote this book about empowering students through design thinking. Poth recommended this book because “it explains and takes you through the steps of the LAUNCH  cycle, helping educators who want to try design thinking or genius hour projects.” It includes visuals, templates, lesson plans with standards and a LAUNCH notebook.

Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play. MIT Learning expert Mitch Resnick argues that to thrive in today's fast-changing world, people of all ages must learn to think and act creatively and that the best way to do that is by focusing more on imagining, creating, playing, sharing and reflecting, just as children do in traditional kindergartens.

The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT. Stewart Brand gives readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the future was being invented at MIT. Although the book was published in 1987, it’s still relevant today, says Max Frazier, an associate professor at Newman University. “The Media Lab introduced us to ideas like Lego/Logo, compact digital storage, virtual reality, holograms, and wearable technology.”

Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. STEM educator Janice Mak recommended Seymour Papert’s book Mindstorms, which argues that children can learn to use computers in a masterful way and that this ability can change the way they learn everything else.

Qualities of an Effective Teacher. Valenzuela recommended this book by James H. Strong because it “shows educators how to create excitement and enthusiasm in their own classrooms by describing the characteristics and skills of effective teachers.” 

Start With Why. Simon Sinek’s book profiles innovative companies that start by asking the question why and how that leads to success. “This is a good book for anyone looking to become more of a leader,” says Poth. “It pushes your thinking and is applicable to any area, especially education.” 

Teach Like a Pirate. Dave Burgess offers personal experiences, inspirational quotes, reflections, brainstorming questions and ideas on how to create engaging lessons, promote curiosity and build rapport in your classroom. It will inspire educators to think in new ways.

Technology and Problem-Based Learning. Authors Lorna Uden and Chris Beaumont outline an approach to implementing technology within the PBL instructional approach. Valenzuela says this book correlates nicely with the ISTE Teacher Standards’ Designer Standard indicator 5b: “Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.”

The Ten-Minute Inservice: 40 Quick Training Sessions that Build Teacher Effectiveness. Todd Whitaker’s book is an “excellent resource for reinforcing effective teaching practices,” Valenzuela says.  

The Truth Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks. Education consultant and author Susan Brooks-Young recommended this book by Bruce Bartlett because she is “deeply concerned about educators’ and students’ current levels of skill in being able to differentiate fact from fiction in the media.”

Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era. New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Levitin shows how to disarm fake news. Brooks-Young, who recommended this book, has created a collection of resources for educators on this topic.

Jennifer Snelling is a freelancer who writes for a variety of publications and institutions, including the University of Oregon. as a mother to two school-aged children, she’s a frequent classroom volunteer and is active in Oregon schools.

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