|Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children's Minds--for Better and Worse by Jane Healy
Former school principal Jane Healy has visited hundreds of American classrooms and found many of the technology related activities troubling or inconequential. At the same time she praises those rare classrooms which are making fruitful use of the information technologies in service of problem-solving and higher level thinking. An educational psychologist, Healy raises important questions about the technology bandwagon and the way that many schools have plunged into networking without much attention to purpose. While the press often tries to position Healy as an opponent of technology, I found her approach balanced and quite persuasive.
This book is must reading for those who are contemplating a major investment in educational technologies. Her examples of mindless multimedia reports and other time-wasters serve as ample warning of the foolishness abundantly available these days.
Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality by Neal Gabler
Gabler does a convincing job of showing how the drive for entertainment has shifted the nature of communication, information, news, reporting and the way the society views events. For those who are intent upon replacing libraries and books with electronic media, this book sounds yet another cautionary note about these sources as well as their older cousins, the newspapers. If schools are expected to show young people how to make up their own minds, this book offers a long list of obstacles standing in the way of any citizen "getting their minds around" contemporary society.
New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World by Kevin Kelly
If schools are expected to introduce young people to the economic realities of their times, teachers should take a close look at the whole topic of networking and communication. Not long ago commentators and futurists spoke of the information economy. Kelly moves beyond information to examine the implications of extensive networking. His ten rules for success in this new environment suggest a whole new way of operating within this environment.