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John Spencer is a middle school photojournalism and computer teacher in urban Phoenix, Arizona. Over the last eleven years, he has taught social studies, language arts, language acquisition and technology, along with his experience in professional development and teacher coaching. He is a frequent keynote and conference speaker who recently delivered an address at the White House Future Ready Summit.
His research experience includes writing a chapter in The Nature of Technology textbook and winning the NAU Education Technology Graduate Award for his work around transforming professional development.
Spencer is an avid writer whose work has been featured in Kappan Magazine, The Answer Sheet, and Edutopia. He is the author of Wendell the World's Worst Wizard and co-founder of Write About.
The book was not what I expected, which was good in this case.
I expected it to be a metaphor or analogy for how modern technology is used in the classroom or should be used by a technology expert.
What I read was a metaphor or analogy for how modern technology is or should be used in a classroom by a human being who is as uncertain as the rest of us.
The way that pencils in an 1900's classroom are used as a stand-in for computers and hand-held tech in a modern classroom is humourous and and parallels are thought-provoking. The challenges, errors and troubles the teacher faces in his quest to first, use pencils, and second, teach meaningful material and how to collaborate with peers, were surprising to me. In this way, his book about the introduction of a new technology seems to revel in the necessity for intuition and other intangible qualities.
As Spencer describes in his book, many tech-gurus appear either to have no problems or confusion, or are good at hiding them. This book actually helped me feel better about the problems I have had in class.
I gave the book four stars because of all the spelling errors I found. I had the E-book version and my understanding is that the hard-copy versions get a better vetting. I sure hope so.
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From the introduction - "Ultimately that's what it's all about. That's why I choose to tell stories, because it is never as simple as a list of new applications. I want to tell a human story about technology, because I want to make sense out of my own identity within my own technocratic context."
Telling a human story about technology; that's what John Spencer set out to do and that's exactly what he did in this exceedingly clever and witty book. It comes highly recommended from me.
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Very quick read. Interesting book about technology use in education. The story takes place in the late 1800's about a teacher who wants a one-to-one ratio of pencils per student. The connections to today's technology and social media are cute - "pen pal network, in which kids go into each other's homes and write on each other's walls". The major flaw of this book (I have the Kindle version) is that it seems like the author never re-read what he wrote. There are way too many grammar and spelling errors for a book about teachers! I wanted to get out my red pen and mark up the book on almost every page!