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Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom Paperback – October 9, 2017
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"Tasks Before Apps is filled with practical tools and strategies for educators. Burnsguides teachers through a process of lesson design that is firmly focused on learning,as she presents opportunities to foster curiosity and classroom collaboration. This isa resource that educators can use to extend their thinking around technology integration as we strive to support students as content creators." --Cathy Hunt, Arts Educator, Advocate, and AdvisorFounder of iPadartroom.com (@art_cathyhunt)
"Technology evolves rapidly, and apps come and go. What doesn't change is the coreof learning: wondering about the world, understanding it, and creating projects thathelp others understand. Burns shows, with concrete examples backed by research,how both novice and experienced teachers can energize their classrooms by integrating technology for the purpose of learning--not just for the purpose of learningtech. I wish I'd had this book when I started teaching!" --Michael Hernandez, Apple Distinguished Educator,Google for Education Certified Innovator, and Lead PBS Digital Innovator
From the Inside Flap
Content-hosting websites, videoconferencing apps, grade- or subject-focused social media accounts: with such a dizzying array of mechanical and virtual help at our disposal, it can be a challenge for educators to know where to even start. Educator and technology consultant Monica Burns can relate, which is why she wrote this book: to share strategies, tools, and insights that teachers can use, regardless of subject or grade level, to effectively incorporate technology in the classroom. Focusing on the "three Cs" of technology implementation--creation, curiosity, and collaboration--Tasks Before Apps offers K-12 teachers
- Detailed advice for (and copious examples of) tech-infused lessons that help students meet learning goals while also developing vital digital citizenship skills.
- Customizable checklists and graphic organizers for planning tech-enabled activities; choosing appropriate programs, devices, and platforms; and setting unit and lesson goals.
- Recommendations for and links to apps and online resources that can facilitate and energize learning.
- Reflection and brainstorming questions for use in book clubs and PLC discussions.
Knowing how to navigate technology wisely--how to communicate effectively on posts and message boards, locate credible information on search engines, and select efficient, cost-effective equipment--is essential for both teachers and students. Whether you are a novice or a veteran, teach kindergarten students or high school seniors, this book is an indispensable guide to furthering academic skills, social development, and digital aptitude in the classroom.
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Additionally, Tasks before Apps focuses on having students using tools in content creation – which matches my philosophy and is where I see educational technology needing to go.. We need to get past teacher productivity and move to concrete examples of students creating things with technology to show their understanding. We also need to make more examples available to teachers of how this can be done to both generate ideas and opportunities to discuss and critique actual use cases.
Finally this book has real example of how you could use different tools in the classroom in a meaningful way. I especially liked that it dealt with different grade levels. I love teaching an educational technology class, but sometimes wish my early childhood, elementary, and secondary students were in different sections – because rarely are there examples for all grade levels.
I am going to consider using this book as the practice book for my Teaching with Technology graduate class this spring (I always pick one book that is under $30 that might be read as a book group for PD) and perhaps in the future for my undergraduate course. It is important for students to get inexpensive books like this to make up their professional library that they can refer to, without going into 100s of dollars of debt in textbook fees.
(note: part of this review appeared on my personal blog. I got an advanced copy to review from the publisher).