A recent post on the Design and Technology Teachers Facebook asked for suggestions concerning books for A level D&T students as monies were available from the library fund. Good news, books for students are always welcome. I suggested that some of the funds might be spent on books for teachers. This was well received so here’s my list of books for the department library.
The Ascent of Man, by Jacob Bronowski, published in 1973. Although over 40 years old, with quote such as “The hand is the cutting edge of the mind” this still provides one of the best rationales for the teaching of D&T.
Technopoly The surrender of culture to technology, by Neil Postman, published in 1993. The rational for education, according to Postman, is that it is not child centred, not training centred, not skill centred, not even problem centred. It is idea centred and coherence centred. It is an excellent corrective to the anti-historical, information saturated technology loving character of Technopoly.
The Nature of Technology What it is and how it evolves, by W Brian Arthur, published in 2009. Arthur makes a persuasive case for technology making its greatest strides through the understanding and exploitation of phenomenon that have been revealed, explored and explained by science
Homo Deus A brief history of tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari, published in 2015. Taking the current and likely future achievements of science and technology Harari describes the challenges that will face society as we develop powers completely beyond any we have had so far with the prospect of creating new life forms both digital and biological and even cheating death.
The Glass Cage Where automation is taking us, by Nicholas Carr, published in 2015. Carr argues that the current trend for technology to make things easier, friction free, requiring less effort is counterproductive and leads to a diminishing of what it means to be human and human endeavours. How we develop and engage with technology so that it requires effort has implications for teaching.
The Human Planet How we created the Anthropocene, by Simon Lewis & Mark Maslin, published in 2018. For Lewis and Maplin the writing is on the wall for the human race and our life on this planet as we know it. The evidence which they provide for human activity changing the way the planet is behaving is highly convincing and being reinforced almost on a weekly basis by further reports from the scientific community. Crucial that young people understand this and are not deceived by the climate change deniers.
The Synthetic Age, by Christopher J Preston, published in 2018. Preston echoes Harari in arguing that humans are moving from being caretakers of the Earth to being shapers of it through the new and emerging technologies that provide us with powers that previously had been the province of Nature. He asks who should we trust to decide the contours of our synthetic future? He suggests it is too important to be left to the engineers!
As always, comments welcome.