Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer Reading

I love summer time because I actually have time to read.  Or, I should actually rephrase that.  I have more success making time to read in the summer than during the school year.  Ironically, a good chunk of my summer reading is always school related, and this summer is no different!

I have two books that are required reading for school - and while I read one of them, the second one was new to me.  Mindset, by Carol Dweck, is a book I read a few years ago during my time in Galileo.  It.  Is.  Fabulous.  A true must read for anyone and everyone, even if you're not in education!

The second required book is Creative Schools, by Sir Ken Robinson.  Wow.  I love reading books that both support my perspective and challenge my thinking at the same time.  At this point, I'm seven chapters in and have gathered so many tidbits it's hard to keep track of them.  I am so inspired by the stories shared thus far, as they show that even in the least likely of situations and circumstances, schools, teachers, and most importantly, students CAN and DO succeed.  In a time like this, where education is spending more time under the bus than students spend on the bus, this kind of reading should be required for anyone who has their hand in the ed pool, teachers, politicians, and anyone who makes decisions that impact education!  I'll share more when I've finished.

The second book I'm reading right now (which is actually unusual for me to be reading two books at once!) goes right along with Creative Schools.  I downloaded Digital Leadership by Eric Sheninger to my kindle app right after school ended.  I think part of why I'm actually reading two books at the same time is because they compliment each other SO well.  I'm only three chapters into Digital Leadership, and am so intrigued by the concepts Sheninger shares.  The book is actually more than a year old, but the way it's written isn't time bound by specific technologies.  Instead, it's focusing more on the mindset shift required to bring creative use of digital tools into learning.  Talk about connections!

I leave you with a few quotes from the two books pictured above....
"One mistake has been an overzealous attitude toward technological innovation leading to the undervaluing of existing educational practices." -- Eric Sheninger, Digital Leadership
This quote struck me because it provides extra underlines and exclamation points to a concept already swimming through schools - the fact that it's the TEACHERS that make the experience, not the technology.  Good teaching is about the RELATIONSHIP between students and teachers, not about the tools used.  That's why I think this book will remain relevant for a while.
"...the heart of education is the relationship between the student and the teacher.  Everything else depends on how productive and successful that relationship is."
Yup.  Yes.  And absolutely.  Relationships are key to so much in the world, especially in education.   I can't think of a situation, anywhere, that wasn't enhanced by a positive relationship.  From my doctors to the server at my favorite restaurant, relationships are forged over time, making the experiences that much better.

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