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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Five Books That Have Influenced My Teaching

Mary Beth Hertz

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

It's the holiday season, which means, once the eating and entertaining is over, many of us will have some free time on our hands. If you want to spend some of that time snuggling up with a great book, here are some books that I have read (or re-read) in the past year or so that have influenced my teaching. Not all of them are technology-related, but they have applications for technology integration.

The books are not listed in any particular order of importance.

1) Digital Tools for Teaching by Steve Johnson

This book offers an easy-to-follow format for integrating 30 e-tools into the classroom. I found the tool choices to be spot-on and the application recommendations to be great. It also gives an easy explanation for how to get started using the tool, including pitfalls. There is also a great introductory section that sets the stage by describing today's learner and the changing roles of teacher and student.

2) Curriculum 21 edited by Heidi Jacobs

This book makes a strong argument for how we need to rethink the curricula we use in schools. The authors provide ideas on rethinking everything from content to school organization and scheduling to how we treat technology in the learning process. A must read for today's educator.

3) Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn Jackson

Do you always feel exhausted by the end of the day? Do you feel like you are sometimes more tired than your students? Jackson spells out how to set high expectations for your students and for yourself as a teacher. There is a focus on feedback and scaffolding to build student independence so they are doing the work, not you.

4) Checking for Understanding by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

The techniques and practical theory in the book has helped me focus my instruction and has been vital when teaching my students new skills or concepts in the lab. I can now be assured that my students have 100% mastery of the objective I have laid out (i.e. import a photo into iPhoto) before moving on to the next step.

5) Applying Standards-Based Constructivism by Don Mesibov, Pat Flynn, Paul Vermetter and R. Michael Smith

The 2-Step model in this book breaks the learning process into the Exploratory Phase and Discovery phase. It provided me with an explanation for why I felt 'wrong' grading students when they were first introduced to a concept. It also helped me structure my units and lessons.

For more ideas for great books about teaching with technology, these are some recommendations I was given on Twitter:

Reinventing Project-Based Learning with Technology by Suzie Boss

From Fear to Facebook by Matt Levinson

You can always check ISTE's publications for great titles, too.

What are some books that have changed your teaching? Any others you'd suggest for some good holiday reading?

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