Elementary / Primary / Junior, High school / Secondary 2, Required - Written by on Thursday, July 21, 2011 16:05 - 0 Comments

Two Must Read Books on Wired Education

Photo: flickr user: marleighnorton

With summer heat in full effect, we thought it’d be a good time to consider some final books to cram in the summer reading list while you hide out in the A/C. Over at Brain Pickings, Maria Popova created an excellent must read list of seven books on education. WiredAcademic wanted to add another book specific to online and new media education for your consideration, and highlight one in particular from Popova’s list:


To Brain Picking’s list, add Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning). MiMi Ito of  University of Calif., Irvine and 25 researchers followed 700 kids across the country for three years to see how and what kids are learning. The research was funded by the MacArthur Foundation, and tries to take the adult preconceptions of what kids need to learn out of the equation. Reviewer Andrew King writes:

The book’s title is a memorable one, and comes from the author’s desire to accurately capture the `three genres of participation’ most relevant to young people and new media. The case studies quoted are highly descriptive, giving ample evidence to show how `young people’s practices, learning, and identity formation’ are intertwined and relational (31). The concept of `media ecology’ is used to emphasize the interrelatedness of new media with more accepted structures of learning and cohabitation, such as schools and nuclear families. Their approach adds real value to way that media and technology is studied, showing that it is indelibly part of contemporary everyday life, where it exists on a continuum of high to low usage for both parents and teenagers. Though there is considerable focus on high-end users of technology (on the geekier-side of the scale), each study provides just as much information about young people who have little access to the internet and/or even mobile phones. As the book illustrates, teen attitudes towards internet and social media are ultimately framed by a combination of parental attitudes, peer expectations and personal interests.


Popova wrote over at Brain Pickings:

In A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown approach education with equal parts insight, imagination and optimism to deliver a refreshing vision for the relationship between education and technology, where the two progress synchronously and fluidly — a vision that falls somewhere between Sir Ken Robinson’s call for creativity in education paradigms and Clay Shirky’s notion of “cognitive surplus.” The book touches on a number of critical issues in digital learning, from the role of remix culture to the importance of tinkering and experimentation in creating, not merely acquiring, knowledge. Central to its premise is the idea that play is critical to understanding learning — a notion we stand strongly behind.


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