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20 Most Cutting Edge Books for Educators


Education is a dynamic field, constantly changing as new ideas about learning and the latest technologies make their way into the classroom. As such, teachers need to stay on top of reading and learning if they want to know all about the latest trends in their fields and provide the best quality education. There are a wide range of books out there that can help educators at any level — elementary or college — to do just that, from those explaining the intricacies of using new gadgets to those describing some of the major problems that need attention in the American school system. Here, we've compiled a list that covers both of those topics and a whole lot more, providing teachers with a solid reading list containing some of the most cutting-edge education books out there.

  1. Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students By Their Brains by LouAnne Johnson

    While the tried and true methods of teaching are a must for anyone in education, this book stresses the importance of also using your own personality to help motivate and manage your students.

  2. Teaching With the Tools Kids Really Use: Learning With Web and Mobile Technologies by Susan Brooks-Young

    For teachers who want to bring more mobile technology into the classroom as a learning tool, this book is an excellent primer, providing ideas, information and guidance that is simply invaluable to the 21st century educator.

  3. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson

    If you've yet to delve into the world of blogging and podcasting in your classroom activities, why wait? Read this book to learn the ins and outs of using these technologies effectively and safely.

  4. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Dr. Ken Robinson

    Helping your students discover their strengths and abilities is an integral part of being a great teacher, and in this book you'll get some insights into how you can nurture talent and be a better mentor.

  5. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown

    Exploring a new idea of culture and a way of learning that coincides with it, this book is a must-read for any educator looking to transform the classroom to function in the digital age.

  6. DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education by Anya Kamenetz

    Read about the history of the higher education system, the way college is part of our culture and dreams and the financial and social realities of college education today.

  7. Waiting for Superman: How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools edited by Karl Weber

    If you haven't already seen the accompanying film, or perhaps even if you have, this book will showcase some of the weaknesses of the American educational system that keep us from competing with other nations around the world.

  8. Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner

    Psychologist and Harvard professor Gardner describes some of the mental abilities that will be most important in the coming century and how we can best cultivate them.

  9. Transforming Schools with Technology How Smart Use of Digital Tools Helps Achieve Six Key Education Goals by Andrew A. Zucker

    Get some insight into how to use technology effectively in the classroom to achieve major educational goals with the help of this book.

  10. The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game by Lee Sheldon

    This book shows that learning can and should be fun. Highlighting ways that games can be used as educational tools, it's a great read for any educator looking for alternative ways to engage students.

  11. Too Simple to Fail: A Case for Educational Change by R. Barker Bausell

    A harsh critique of American classroom instruction, testing practices and school demographics, this book highlights some of the worst problems in the educational system today. However, it doesn't just offer criticism — readers will find suggested solutions to these issues as well.

  12. Why Don't Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom by Daniel T. Willingham

    Teachers who want to better understand how to reach students would be well served by checking out this book, which offers up some interesting and engaging facts about the brain that can make a big difference in education.

  13. The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need — and What We Can Do About It by Tony Wagner

    Most of us know that American schools aren't what they once were. In this book, you'll learn just what the missing ingredients are and how educators can help to better prepare students for a new, global economy.

  14. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

    Teachers having trouble motivating kids to read will appreciate this read, which offers a number of great ways to get them to see books as fun, engaging and even cool.

  15. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen, Curtis Johnson and Michael Horn

    In this book, the authors argue that current educational systems are focused so much on standardization, they miss out on many opportunities for customization. Additionally, they offer up a solution in technology that — while difficult to implement in current classrooms — are something to think about in the future.

  16. Teaching the iGeneration: 5 Easy Ways to Introduce Essential Skills with Web 2.0 Tools by William M. Ferriter

    Working with students who have grown up in a world surrounding by technology and constant access to the Internet can be difficult for teachers who, well, didn't. In this book, educators can learn how to engage these digitally-savvy students by using the technological tools they already use and enjoy.

  17. Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education by David Perkins

    An expert on teaching and learning, Perkins shares his framework for teaching that focuses on giving them the whole picture rather than offering up an idea in parts.

  18. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch

    Check out this book to read about how standardized testing and offering students a chance to opt out of public schools in favor of charters is contributing to the downfall of the American education system.

  19. Teaching the Digital Generation: No More Cookie-Cutter High Schools by Frank S. Kelly, Ted McCain and Ian Jukes

    High school teachers should give this book a read to learn how to better work with tools that address 21st century needs. In it, several cutting-edge high schools around the nation are discussed, perhaps providing models for reinventing your own educational environment.

  20. Why Do I Need a Teacher When I've got Google?: The Essential Guide to the Big Issues for Every 21st Century Teacher by Ian Gilbert

    What information can you offer students that they can't already get though the web? This book addresses some of the major issues modern-day teachers face, offering insight, solutions and maybe even a few laughs along the way.

July 25th, 2011 written by Staff Writers

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