How do you turn a school around quickly without “gaming” the system? Rob Carpenter has done it, and shares his recipe for success.Read More
This is a book that dispels a few myths about how we learn, and explains why our intuition is not always our best friend.Read More
This is one of a current spate of books about the in-built bias found in many automated processes.Read More
What does a book on vocabulary have to do with teaching Computing? Believe it or not, Closing the Vocabulary Gap has some useful information and insights for the ed tech teacher. Read on for the review, and how you can enter a prize draw to win a copy of the book.Read More
David J Longman reviews this new collection of essays on the theme of what the research says about using technology to enhance learning and teaching.Read More
A great sideways glance at modern life, including our relationships with technnology.Read More
Read on for a heads-up about what's coming up in the next issue of Digital Education, our free newsletter.Read More
Here's an insider's view of what it's like to be a newly qualified teacher in an inner city school.Read More
I always dread having to open any kind of manual. For a start, it’s against the natural order of things. (I don’t ask for directions either, even when I’m hopelessly lost.) Secondly, they usually seem to be written for people for whom they are superfluous.
Imagine, then, what a pleasant surprise it was to open this book and discover that it is not only well-structured, but an enjoyable read.
I wouldn’t say it is bedtime reading exactly (mind you, I used to read books on Excel functions and VBA before retiring for the night). However, it is very comprehensive.
For example, if you are interested in setting up your Pi to take time-lapse video, this book takes you step by step through the process.
If you’re serious about pushing your Raspberry Pi to its limits, and even if you’re already pretty familiar with what it can do, this book is a must-have for your bookshelf or workbench.
Raspberry PI User Guide (Amazon affiliate link)
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One of the most fundamental of so-called '21st century skills' is surely knowing how to interact with other people. This book contains some interesting strategies, though I am not sure all of them will work in the UK!Read More
What a fascinating idea: using drones as part of the curriculum. This book tells you much of what you need to know.Read More
I’ve just read Everyday Sexism [Amazon affiliate link] by Laura Bates. Before I go any further, I suppose I ought to explain why. What does this subject matter have to do with teaching computing and ICT?
Well, I don't think there can be any doubt about the fact that a lot of girls are put off going into computing, whether as a course in school or in their career choices. So I wondered how far the kinds of issues girls face in school, especially in subjects like computing which are seen by too many people as a male preserve, are part of a wider picture.
In many respects this book is pretty depressing. It's bad enough that grown women have to put up with unwanted attention, but children?!
I think girls and women would find the book useful, to help them realise that lots of others experience the same kind of thing. I think boys and men should read it too, to find out how it must feel to be on the receiving end of sexist comments.
One of the things that struck me was the complaint that male teachers say things like, "Come on, you don't want to be beaten by a girl do you?". I can see why girls would feel belittled by that sort of remark, even if it was intended as a lighthearted means of galvanising the boys into making a greater effort.
I remember doing the opposite: saying to the boys in my Computing class that I'd like them to be quiet and let the girls answer, as I'd rather listen to a well-thought out response than some half-baked comment shouted across the room. Was that unacceptable too, do you think?
Most of the book might be described as 'relentless': wave after wave of intrusive and even threatening comments. For me, the best chapter is the last one, because it portrays women as strong and powerful rather than as almost powerless victims.
In this context you might like to read my article, Where are the girls in ICT and Computing?
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A really engaging exploration into the development of AI and the problems it has had to grapple with.Read More
Although this book is aimed squarely at teachers in Further Education, I think it would be a useful resource for school teachers too, and even university lecturers.Read More
While not specifically concerned with Computing or education technology, this is a very useful book for students undertaking research in journals.Read More
Micro reviews of 7 books. Inspired by a particular branch of "flash fiction", these reviews are just 6 words long! Ideal if you don't have much time to read a full length review, but would like a heads-up on what's out there. However, longer reviews are available if you prefer. Details are in the article.Read More
This book provides an interesting -- and disturbing -- perspective on the so-called sharing economy.Read More
What does it take to become an expert? And what can the Computing teacher do about it?Read More
I don't need any excuse to leap into the nearestsecond-hand bookshop when I'm out and about, but if I were forced to provide one, it would be this. You occasionally come across some real gems.
My latest find is “Computers: they drive us crazy!”, by Helen Exley and Bill Stott. Having been published in 2007, this now officially counts as an ancient document. You can try purchasing a new copy from Amazon, if you're prepared to wait until the book is in stock, which could be never. Alternatively, you could pay anything from a penny to almost £800 to receive it very soon if your idea of deferred gratification is having to wait for the tea to brew.
Because of the difficulty of acquiring this book I thought more than twice about writing a review of it. So regard this as an exhortation to visit used book stores and a plea to give cartoon books like this a second glance.
It's a slim volume, consisting solely of wry comments on technology in the form of cartoons. It's thin enough to get through in a single sitting, and while the jokes won't have you visiting hospital with cracked ribs, they will probably bring a smile to your face.
These comments pertain to this particular book, of course, but I think they probably apply to many if not all such books.
Are they good value for money, these books? Strictly speaking, not really. At least, I tend not to buy such things for myself. On the other hand, as a small gift for the geek in your life, or a little extra on top of their main present from you, a book like this can be a nice touch.
Here's the link to this particular book on Amazon, just in case you can find a decently-priced used copy: Computers: They drive us crazy!
A wonderful romp through educational history. If you think our current concerns are new, this book will make you think again.Read More