Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Book Review for Technical Communication

Teaching and Learning with Technology
Judy Lever-Duffy and Jean McDonald. 2014. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. [ISBN 978-0-13-381426-2. 368 pages, including index. US$74.00 (looseleaf).]

As technology continues to change along with the evolving educational system it serves, textbooks such as Lever-Duffy’s and McDonald’s Teaching and Learning with Technology, becomes more relevant as required reading material for teachers in all subject areas. Overall, this twelve-chapter textbook describes the changing needs to be served by new technology, methods of evaluating and selecting technology in different situations, implementation and design of such technology, and the emerging technologies to meet the future educational needs.
The book opens with chapters on standards by which to measure technology preparedness in education as well as available certifications and licensure. The authors break down the types of classroom technologies by administrative, presentations, lesson preparation, and communications. The text also makes use of a text boxes with anecdotal and situational stories from real classroom experiences; “Tech Tutor” video excerpts from the publisher’s Web site for later watching, and a very detailed glossary for looking up unfamiliar terms introduced.
Chapters two through four cover integrating technology with learning styles, designing instruction around technology and applying technology for special needs. Chapter five discusses classroom computers from hardware and mouse technology to networking, printers, and data storage. For example, cloud computing has drastically changed available access of educational materials. By chapter six, the text focuses on specific types of classroom technology such as mobile devices, wireless services, video conferencing, and e-book readers.
Chapter seven outlines software tools for educators using a table to list applications for each database feature. These types of tables are present throughout the text and clearly lay out detailed information. The distance learning table in chapter ten is one exception to the usual clarity that is confusing as it attempts to show course completion and success rates. The large amount of information in the table would be easier to read and digest if it were larger.
The final chapter, and my favorite, was a glimpse of the Jetsons in textbook form. In this chapter, Lever-Duffy and McDonald describe in detail the projected technologies of the future. Most interesting to me was electronic paper, a digital solution to paper handouts. For the cost of around $100 per page of electronic paper, students can download class handouts onto a rollable, foldable device. This could, feasibly, even eliminate the need for a recycle bin in classrooms of the future!
Lever-Duffy and McDonald sum up the value of learning from this text with this: “Teaching in the 21st century will include new pedagogy that uses new technologies. Flipped classrooms and personal learning environments are just the beginning. Creative teachers will develop yet-to-be imagined models for instructional delivery and new ways to use current and emerging technologies. With this change for educators of the 21st century, familiarity and training in new technology are just the beginning of their journey as tech-savvy educators, 297.”

Julie Kinyoun
Julie Kinyoun is an on-call community college chemistry instructor in Southern California. As an avid reader, she enjoys reviewing books that can help her and others become better teachers.