By Cait Etherington April 15, 2017
Whether you’re an instructional designer, researcher or educator, it is important to stay on top of new developments in the field. Below eLearning Inside News offers short summaries of five recommended new books on eLearning, mLearning, blended learning and educational technologies to help you get started.
While not exclusively a book about mobile learning, Giving Voice is nevertheless a must-read book for anyone interested in the educational application of mobile technologies. As Meryl Alper notes, technologies are often seen as a way to “give voice to the voiceless,” but this belief is also rooted in assumptions about ability, disability and technologies. In this new book, Alper explores how the use of specific technologies, such as the Apple iPad and mobile app Proloquo2Go, which converts icons and text into speech, are being used to support children with disabilities and their families, but Alper goes a step further to also explore how these new hardware and software innovations still promote disempowering structural inequalities. Alper also explores how new technologies reflect specific class biases. Simply put, Alper’s new study shows that giving someone a tablet, phone or computer is rarely enough to give the a voice. Technologies reflect deeply embedded inequalities and often perpetuate them. Alper’s book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how instructional design is part of the problem and holds the potential to be part of the solution to inequality too.
Forthcoming in July 2017, this new publication, issued by Emerald Publishing, seeks to provide an academic and teaching audience with “an integrated understanding of learning technology research, and how it can be used to enhance the design of learning environments.” While many books focus only on research and others are “how-to” guides, Design of Technology-Enhanced Learning promises a balance of theory and practice. In addition to exploring the educational uses of Web 2.0, social networking, mobile learning and virtual technologies, Bower tackles a series of more abstract questions and challenges. Rigorous but still user-friendly, Design of Technology-Enhanced Learning is a must read among books on eLearning for academics, educators, and educational researchers. The book provides critical insights into how to design, deliver, and evaluate eLearning courses whether you’re working in K-12 education, higher education or a training context.
You’ve likely already heard about the “growth mindset,” a concept introduced by Carol Dweck, and now there is the “mobile learning mindset.” In this new book by Carl Hooker readers discover practical knowledge and strategies for the successful implementation of K-12 “bring-your-own-device” programs. Targeting principals, teachers, IT staff, educational coaches, as well as parents, this six part series offers lessons, reviews best practices, and provides examples to help school leaders who are contemplating the implementation of a mobile device initiative or looking for ways to revise and refine an existing program in their schools. For any K-12 educator who continues to worry about devices being a bigger distraction than aid to learning, Hooker also offers a compelling defense of new technologies and their place in the classroom and practical advice on how to embrace what he describes throughout the book as the mobile learning mindset.
With millions of students to accommodate, Chinese educators appreciate the value of blended and digital formats. For this reason, some of the most thoughtful thinking on online instructional design continues to emerge from Chinese educational researchers. In Emerging Practices in Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in a Digital Era, Sieu Cheung Kong and colleagues explore best practices in eLearning with a focus on the higher education context. Targeting higher education institutions, teaching staff, and students, this new book explores everything from student learning experiences to assessment. The book also grapples with specific educational concerns, such as institution’s with “bring your own device” policies. While the examples are primarily focus on China’s specific educational context, the best practices explored by Kong and colleagues are universally relevant, making Emerging Practices in Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in a Digital Era essential reading for educators and trainers around the world.
Released in late 2016 by Corwin, Catlin Tucker and Tiffany Wycoff’s Blended Learning in Action belongs in everyone’s stack of essential books on eLearning. Indeed, it’s a must read for anyone interested in exploring the places where online learning and the traditional classroom space meet. As Tucker and Wycoff insist, blended learning has the power to reinvent the educational terrain but this also means that educators must acquire a new skill set. To help educators integrate new technologies, Tucker and Wycoff’s practical and accessible book breaks down the most effective classroom setups for blended learning, offers ideas on how to personalize instruction using new technologies, outlines strategies for managing devices in the classroom (to reduce distraction and amplify learning opportunities), and poses questions to facilitate professional development and deeper learning among educators and instructional designers.