NOTE TO THE BLOGOSPHERE: Thank you for the interest in my blog and my course book list. I would not normally publish course materials in such a vulgar fashion, but it was brought to my attention (while online) that the book list had not been forwarded to students, so I copied and paste to my blog as it was the quickest way to communicate the information.
I give a great deal of thought to the unique and constantly evolving nature of the courses I teach. I frequently change texts to take advantage of breakthroughs in writing and insight, not to chase fads. I would be happy to share my course syllabi with anyone who ask. Howver, as I wrote here, the syllabus is a fossil image of my course.
There is a 2005 World Conference on Computers in Education paper written about the pedagogical thinking reflected in this course available online and another is in-press with a publication date of October 2008. Including links to those documents here would diminish the element of surprise critical for my students fully enjoying the course.
This Learning and Technology course is taken contemporaneously with “Educating Today’s Learner” which is a slightly more traditional learning theory course with an emphasis on situated cognition and the social construction of knowledge.
1. Experience and Education by John Dewey. ISBN: 0020136609
2. The Children’s Machine – Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer -by Seymour Papert. ISBN: 0465010636
3. The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within, Second Edition by Edward R. Tufte. ISBN: 0961392169
4. Choose one of the following: (K-12 teachers MAY choose one of the other books if the subject interests them, rather than The Hundred Languages of Children which at first blush looks like it’s geared for early-childhood education, but its ideas are universal and profound)
(K-12 educators) The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach Advanced Reflections, Second Edition by Carolyn P. Edwards (Editor) – Ablex Pub Corp; ISBN: 156750311X
(Non K-12 educators)
Thinking in Jazz – The Infinite Art of Improvisation by Paul Berliner – University of Chicago Press (Trd); ISBN: 0226043819
The Long Haul: An Autobiography by Myles Horton – Teachers College Pr; ISBN: 080773700
5. One more book will be selected and named shortly. It will not be used until November so there will be plenty of time to order it once I confirm availability.
Strongly recommended optional books:
Radio: An Illustrated Guide by Jessica Abel and Ira Glass. ISBN: 0967967104
Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson. ISBN: 1412959721
Optional optional books:
Painting Chinese: A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth by Herbert Kohl. ISBN: 1596910526
Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol. ISBN: 0307393712
Experience and Education is a small, but profound book about learning by one of the giants of progressive education, John Dewey.
The Children’s Machine is the Father of Educational Computing’s 1993 book about the power of the computer in learning.
The third book may be chosen based on your vocation or interest. There are many common ideas in the three books. I used to assign a different book for elementary and secondar educators. This year I decided to use the same book, The 100 Languages of Children, for all K-12 educators. Although the book is “literally” about preschool education, the ideas, research and wisdom of Reggio is relevant to every educator, parent or friend of children. Non-educators, particularly parents are of course invited to select this book for #3.
The two books offered for non-K12 educators are about learning in the jazz and civil rights communities respectively. They are both fantastic books.
My goal is to use primary sources, not boring derivative textbooks, as the basis of our discussions. I am delighted if you keep the book around to read again or pass along to a colleague rather than sell if back to the bookstore for 79 cents.
Many articles and even some multimedia elements will supplement your reading in this course.
Strongly recommended DVD rental or purchase:
We will also watch Comedian, a fascinating documentary with Jerry Seinfeld, later in the semester. In the past, some students have had a virtual film festival and agreed to chat while watching the film at the same time. You may rent or purchase the film during the week I will announce later in the term. Warning: There is adult language, even a bit of profanity in the film. Therefore, nobody is required to view it, especially if you are offended by R-Rated films. There is no nudity or violence whatsoever. The educational value of the film and it’s ability to generate serious discussion contextualizing the theories we learn in OMAET makes Comedian a worthy modern text. Students year-after-year have profited from the experience.
Again, you are not required to watch the film if you have moral objections to it, but it is well worthwhile. The R-Rating may be overkill and is based on the language used by professional comedians when they hang out with one another socially.
There will be a requirement to purchase a copy of MicroWorlds EX software. It will shortly be available via a special web site I have spent several months arranging. The software will cost $40, instead of the normal >$100. The download instructions will be provided.
All of the other software we use will be open-source or freeware.
MicroWorlds EX offers a rich environment for thinking about thinking and learning in a constructionist context. The experiences should be fun, challenging and in some cases nothing whatsoever to do with your job. It will however help you think, develop some technological fluency and set the stage for thinking about constructing knowledge with computers. Even if you do not teach children, the software will help you think about the big ideas of the course. You may of course work with your own children, neighbors or relatives on the MicroWorlds adventures. If you have no use for the software after the term, I am sure that one of your teaching classmates would appreciate an additional license.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.