School Computing

Books That Help Shape Vision

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Also see the more general Books page that has a more extensive list, but is not annotated.

Here is an annotated list of books suggested by participants on the ISED discussion list during the spring of 2006. Please add recent books that contribute to this collection.

Allen, David. 2001. Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity

Allen's premise is simple: our ability to be productive is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve stress-free productivity. His seamless system teaches us how to identify, track, and-most important-choose the next action on all our tasks, commitments, and projects and thus master all the demands on our time while unleashing our creative potential. The book's stylish, dynamic design makes it easy to follow Allen's tips, examples, and inspiration to achieve what we all seek-energy, focus, and relaxed control. Barnes & Noble Review

Anderson, Chris. 2006. The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More

The "Long Tail" is a powerful new force in our economy: the rise of the niche. As the cost of reaching consumers drops dramatically, our markets are shifting from a one-size-fits-all model of mass appeal to one of unlimited variety for unique tastes. The Long Tail is really about the economics of abundance. New efficiencies in distribution, manufacturing, and marketing are essentially resetting the definition of what?s commercially viable across the board. If the 20th century was about hits, the 21st will be equally about niches. From the publisher.

Brown, John Seely and Paul Duguid. 2000. The Social Life of Information

Brown and Duguid (both affiliated with the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center) argue that many of the discussions about information technology and its applications, both positive and negative, have a tendency to ignore the social context within which the technologies operate. They present eight essays that demonstrate this point in regard to such issues as document presentation, the myth of the "information age," distance work and distance learning, and the future of institutions. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Burke, James Lee and Robert E Ornstein.1997. The Axemaker’s Gift: A double-edged history of human culture From the first stone used by prehistoric man to today's electronic wonderland, each new technology has had a double-edged effect, say the authors. Psychologist Robert Ornstein and historian James Burke, known for his PBS-TV series Connections, present a survey of the interaction of technology, culture, history and the human mind. Early hominids' use of tools, they maintain, altered the brain's structure over millennia, favoring reason over emotion and fostering sequential thinking, which generated language, logic and rules. With the advent of agriculture and writing in Mesopotamia came social hierarchy. The authors say that successive advances in technology - the Greek alphabet, the weight-driven clock, Gutenberg's printing press, scientific method, London's stock exchange, modern clinical medicine, computers, etc. - radically altered the structure of society, concentrating power and knowledge in the hands of a specialized ruling elite that imposed ever greater degrees of conformity on the masses. A 'cut-and-control' outlook that divides the world into manipulable units is responsible for our present ecological crisis. The authors' proposed solutions include a world of small communities with participatory democracy and 'webbed education.'

Collins, Jim. 2001 Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap…and others don’t Jim Collins begins this book with a startling and counterintuitive claim: "Good is the enemy of great." We've become so conditioned to think of performance as something that develops along evolutionary lines -- from poor to good to outstanding -- that it takes a minute to grasp the notion that competence can actually inhibit achievement. As Collins says, "The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good -- and that is their main problem." Barnes & Noble Review

Cuban, Larry. 1986. Teachers and Machines: the classroom use of technology since 1920.

Cuban reviews the attempts to adopt technology into American classrooms throughout the 20th century. Moving pictures, radio, TV, and other technology-based improvements were loudly acclaimed to herald a new paradigm for education. All attempts failed to make a dent in established curriculum and teaching. Cuban analyzes these failures, and applies his ideas to the current wave of technology edu-euphoria, the computer. I'm not sure his dire 1986 predictions are valid now, with the saturation of classrooms and tool-orientation that the modern computer offers. However, his book is essential reading if you want to think carefully before adopting technology in a school system. Learn from history, don't repeat it! review Friedman, Thomas L and Oliver Wyman. 2005. The World is Flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century This new edition of The World Is Flat is Thomas L. Friedman’s account of the great changes taking place in our time, as lightning-swift advances in technology and communications put people all over the globe in touch as never before-creating an explosion of wealth in India and China, and challenging the rest of us to run even faster just to stay in place. From the publisher

Florida, Richard, 2004. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life In the widely acclaimed, best-selling book, Richard Florida argues that sweeping changes in culture, lifestyle, and values are the result of the rise of a new economic class, the Creative Class, and he shows how the choices this class makes will not only alter work and leisure but will even determine which cities thrive in the coming decades.

Florida, Richard L., 2005, The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent

In his The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida (Brookings Institute) sparked an international debate over the causes and effects of long-term prosperity, economic development, and innovation. Here he takes his arguments to the next level, explaining how the same conditions that affect regional economic development and talent exchange play out on the world stage. He argues that the US must address problems such as rising inequality and disconnected political leadership to continue to attract foreign students, scientists, creatives, and entrepreneurs. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Fullan, Michael G. 2001. Leading in a Culture of Change

Leadership today requires the ability to mobilize constituents to do important but difficult work under conditions of constant change, overload, and fragmentation. This book shows leaders how they can effectively accomplish their goals-by attending to their broader moral purpose, keeping on top of the change process, cultivating relationships, sharing knowledge, and setting a vision and context for creating coherence in their organizations. Barnes & Noble synopsis

Gleik, James. 2000. Faster: The acceleration of just about everything

In Faster, James Gleick explores nothing less than the human condition at the turn of the millennium. He shines a light of enterprising and analytical reporting -- as well as sly wit -- on the newest paradoxes of time. Barnes & Noble synopsis

Hall, Gene and Shirley Hord. 2005. Implementing Change; Principles, Patterns, and Potholes This book focuses on how school leaders can understand, evaluate and facilitate the change process by presenting a number of research-based models and tools along with examples of how each can be used to facilitate change efforts. Barnes & Noble synopsis

Jukes, Ian and Ted McCain. 2000. Windows on the Future: Education in the age of technology

Windows on the Future was designed to help the educator cope with changes created by technology and embrace a new mindset necessary to access the burgeoning technological advances. McCain and Jukes offer new paradigms and frameworks to keep schools and students relevant in the 21st Century. Critical issues explored include: • Key trends for the new millennium • The power of paradigm • Education in the future • New skills for students • New roles for educators • The need for vision Barnes & Noble synopsis

Levitt, Steven D., and Stephen J. Dubner. 2005. Freakonomics: A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything.

Levitt (economics, U. of Chicago) and writing collaborator Dubner (a writer for the New York Times and The New Yorker) dub the material in this work "freakonomics" because Levitt uses analytical tools from economics to address a range of questions that, at first glance, might seem to be far removed from the discipline of the "dismal science." They consider questions such as how to determine if teachers are aiding in students' cheating on standardized tests, the impact of information asymmetry on the operation of the Ku Klux Klan, how the organizational structure of crack gangs resemble other businesses, and the influence of parents on child development. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Locke, Christopher, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, David Weinberger. 2001. The Cluetrain Manifesto: The end of business as usual. Written by four of the liveliest voices on the Web, The Cluetrain Manifesto illustrates how, through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter-and getting smarter faster than most companies. Today's markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny, and often shocking. Companies that aren't listening to these exchanges are missing a dire warning. Companies that aren't engaging in them are missing an unprecedented opportunity. Barnes & Noble synopsis

Marzano, Robert J., Debra J. Pickering, Jane E. Pollock. 2001. Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement.

Robert J. Marzano, Debra J. Pickering, and Jane E. Pollock draw upon their many years of experience and expertise as educators to effectively collaborate in providing an informative series of nine research-based strategies for the use of classroom teachers seeking to increase their student's achievement levels. These strategies include identifying similarities and differences; summarizing and note taking; reinforcing effort and providing recognition; homework and practice; nonlinguistic representations; cooperative learning; setting objectives and providing feedback; generating and testing hypotheses; questions, cues, and advance organizers. Enhanced with informative charts and graphs, and highly recommended for student teacher reading lists and classroom management studies, Classroom Instruction That Works will enable teachers to enable their students to learn how to take effective notes, work in groups, and use graphic organizers. Internet Book Watch

November, Alan. 2001. Empowering Students with Technology

Technology consultant November explores and explains the opportunities technology provides to empower students to learn how to learn. He discusses the new basic skill of information literacy and covers how teachers can be successful "digital immigrants"—not born to the world of technology, like the current generation, but able to help their students thrive in it nonetheless. He provides examples of skills needed to solve real problems (e.g., communication, data interpretation, collaboration), and how teachers can facilitate their students' learning in these areas with specific technology tools. Annotation © Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Pink, Daniel. 2005. A Whole New Mind: Moving from the information age to the conceptual age

Lawyers. Accountants. Radiologists. Software engineers. That's what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of "left brain" dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which "right brain" qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate. That's the argument at the center of this provocative and original book, which uses the two sides of our brains as a metaphor for understanding the contours of our times. Barnes & Noble synopsis

Prensky, Marc. 2000. Digital Game-Based Learning Prensky (CEO of a private firm) presents a strategic and tactical guide to a recent trend in learning<-->combining content with video games and computer games to engage young people entering the work force. With approximately 50 case studies and examples, he illustrates potential application of game-based learning to a variety of industries. Chapters provide background on the topic, explain how games teach, and show what some organizations are already doing. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Prensky, Marc. 2006 Don’t Bother Me, Mom, I’m Learning

The positive guide for parents concerned about their kid's video and computer game-playing.

Rischard, J. F., 2003. High Noon: 20 Global Problems and 20 Years to Solve Them

The most impressive idea to emerge from the recent World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland: a new approach to identifying and managing the world's twenty most pressing problems. In this age of instant communication and biotechnology, on this ever-smaller planet, what kinds of problems have we created for ourselves? How do we tackle them in a world where the accustomed methods used by nation-states may be reaching their natural limits? In High Noon, J. F. Rischard challenges us to take a new approach to the twenty most important and urgent global problems of the twenty-first century. Rischard finds their common thread: we don't have an effective way of dealing with the problems that our increasingly crowded, interconnected world creates. Our difficulties belong to the future, but our means of solving them belong to the past. Barnes & Noble synopsis

Schmoker, Michael J. 1999. Results: The key to continuous school improvement

RESULTS or PROCESS either way you see it you win! In the field of education, there are so many articles and books about whats broken, who broke it, what has not worked, how the children are failing and have been failing and then there is RESULTS. It inspires us to take ownership instead of relying on management to tell us how and to lead us to the only focus of education....which is student learning. It emphasizes the use of data not just collection, but as a real tool for improvement and sustaining improvements. In sports we say Teamwork makes the dream work, well so does Schmoker in this book. One final note, unlike so many other books in this field, there are examples you can read about and understand the formula those schools use to facilitate and maintain SUCCESS. Marcia Young (

Standage, Tom. 1999. The Victorian Internet: The remarkable story of the telegraph and the nineteenth century's on-line pioneers At last an antidote to the Internet hype. Tom Standage thinks the net isn't all that big a deal -- after all, the telegraph revolutionized 19th-century life in more ways than the cyber upstart has changed modern communications. So phooey. Barnes & Noble synopsis

Book list annotated from online sources by Jenni Swanson Voorhees 5/2006

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