We believe that design & technology needs to take note of thinking about education in general as well as that focused on itself. Hence here are views on education on a range of issues from a variety of perspectives.
Bringing Communities Together: Connecting learners with scientists or technologists edited by Bev France and Vicki Compton and published in 2013 by Sense. We liked this because we identify with bringing professionals other than teachers into the classroom.
Learning Futures Education, technology and social change by Keri Facer published in 2011 by Routledge. We like the way Keri reconceptualises schools as places where communities build their own future rewriting the relationship between education and socio-technical change as one of active design, critique and engagement. D&T would have a key role here.
Technology’s challenge to science education by David Layton published in 1993 by the Open University Press. Written over 20 years ago but still relevant to those of us seeking to justify the place of design & technology in the curriculum.
Learning Reimagined by Graham Brown-Martin, published in 2014 by Bloomsbury is a beautifully produced book – full of gorgeous photos – through which the author explores radical approaches to education from around the world that have been facilitated by digital technologies. Organised by country, the book contains interviews with leading thinkers along with case studies of schools and learning communities. These are interspersed with ‘Thought Pieces’ from the author in which he reflects on some of the wider and overarching educational issues that his visits and conversations prompt. True to its focus on new technologies the book makes good use of augmented reality, in particular linking from the written interviews to videos of those being interviewed. If The Second Machine Age (reviewed briefly in …about Technology) outlines why education needs to change, the wealth of examples in this book will inspire thinking about how it might change.
Teaching: Notes from the Front Line by Dr Debra Kidd, published in 2014 by Independent Thinking Press. A thoughtful and bang-up-to-the-minute exploration of the some of the significant contemporary issues facing teaching and teachers. Kidd writes as both a teacher and a senior leader in schools, she is passionate about high quality education and, equally, clear that much of the political and administrative activity around schools undermines quality education. This will not be a surprise to most working in schools. What marks this book out as more than just another teacher’s whine about how hard teaching is, is that this a handbook of ‘pedagogical activism’. The cover of the book claims that “We are … in need of a revolution in education” and most chapters end with a series of bulleted action points of things ‘you can do now’. Kidd does not think there is time to wait around and hope things improve, she want teachers to “take control of the direction of education and policy”. You may not agree with all her views or prescriptions, but I think most teachers will find inspiration in her proactive attitude.
Mindless: Why Smarter Machines are Making Dumber Humans by Simon Head, published in 2014 by Basic Books. On the face of it this looks more like a book about technology than education. But it isn’t the rant against Facebook et al that you might expect. Rather it is a careful analysis of how computer business systems (CBSs) are “bringing the disciplines of industrialism to an economic space that extends (…) to retail, financial services, secondary and higher education, health care…”. Though Head says little specifically about education, his dissection of the uses of this software in other human-focussed arenas suggests that education has much to worry about. If the current emphasis on micro-management of pupils and teachers through highly focussed target setting that is underpinned by deep data analysis concerns you, if you feel the result of this is a dehumanizing of education and detrimental to the fundamental relationship between the teacher and pupil that good learning relies on – then this might be the book that provides you with a critical structure to help you articulate your unease.