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Building a Technology Library: The Experts' Choices

Sometimes it's a question of too much help! If you are baffled by the number of Introduction to Technology books now in print, Education World's Tech Team can help. This week, we asked each of our experts to recommend one book he or she considered a teacher's best first resource for technology integration. You'll want to make room on your bookshelf for these!

New! Technology in the Classroom Chances are your bookshelf holds a variety of well-worn teaching resources, including reference works, teachers' guides, magazines, and books by respected educational experts. Does it also include a technology section -- books to help you and your students make the most of the technology resources available to you? It should! But as an ever-growing number of such books crowd bookstore shelves, it's often hard to know where to begin. So we asked our Tech Team experts which books they would recommend -- which books would provide the most "bang for your buck." Here's what they told us.


"To get started! The hardest part of any project!" mused Dave Figi, a computer teacher at Wisconsin's Janesville Parker High School. Getting started may be difficult, but Figi apparently doesn't believe in simply getting your toes wet. He suggests that you dive right in.

"In my opinion, the best way to get started is to get and use a book by Laura Lemay, titled Teach Yourself Web Publishing With HTML in 14 Days," Figi told Education World. "Web publishing is one of the hottest topics going with students in our schools. I've found this to be true as I've worked with elementary and high school students, assisting them with Web page development. The motivation that is built into Web design provides a ready-made catalyst for learning and exploration.

"When teachers investigate Web design they begin to explore and learn all types of concepts associated with technology," Figi continued. "And as teachers learn to use technology, they begin to build an instant tool to grab the imagination and attention of their students.

"Working with a Web site involves using scanners, digital cameras, and graphic conversion and file management programs; downloading and uploading; e-mailing; using paint programs to design objects for your Web site; using collaboration, teamwork, and communication; and evaluating links to sites pertinent to a teacher's subject area," added Figi. "But before all this can take place, a teacher must invest some time in learning and gaining experience in areas of technology. Laura Lemay's book is written in a way that allows rapid learning of concepts associated with the use of technology in our schools.

"If a teacher wants to take advantage of the tremendous motivation involved in using technology," Figi concluded, "then the book Teach Yourself Web Publishing With HTML in 14 Days would be a great addition to a personal library."


Other Tech Team members advocated a more basic approach.

Marcia Reed, media center coordinator at St. Pius X School, in Toledo, Ohio, said, "I would recommend one of Annette Lamb's books. They are written as ideas and guides for teachers using technology and the Internet in their classrooms. She also has great lesson ideas at Eduscapes." Two of Lamb's many books are Building Treehouses for Learning: Technology in Today's Classroom and The Magic Carpet Ride: Integrating Technology into the K-12 Classroom.

"I've been doing research on using technology in the social studies classroom for the last five years," Bill Bagley, co-Web master and social studies teacher at Alabama's Cullman High School, told Education World. "When I first began, there were very few books available on this subject. So I found a lot of information at Ask Eric."

Bagley also suggested that social studies teachers read the articles he and a group of others interested in the same topic wrote, adding, "One that has been published can be found at Social Studies Teachers and Technology: Activities for the Constructivist Classroom."

Three Tech Team members recommended books from the Books for Dummies series.

Fred Holmes, Webmaster for Nebraska's Osceola Public Schools, told Education World that he would recommend "the For Dummies series book based on whatever software the teacher is using in the classroom."

"I feel strongly that when educators are looking for books on technology they should start their search by looking for technology-related books that were written specifically for educators," said Cathy Chamberlain, elementary technology teacher for New York's Oswego City School District.

"This is especially important when they first start out," added Chamberlain. "The focus needs to be, How can I use this program as a tool in my classroom? Once they see the relevance and see how they can begin to incorporate it, they become more vested in the product and begin to learn how to use it, while also thinking in terms of their own educational uses.

"There aren't a lot of books like this on the market at this time, but they are starting to evolve. The For Dummies series has a book titled, Microsoft Office 97 for Windows for Teachers. This is a good place to start," Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain also agreed that resource books should be program-specific, adding, "I usually feel that when you purchase a book about a suite of programs, you should buy individual books about each component product within the suite."

In fact, Chamberlain is currently writing a series that combines what she believes are the two essential characteristics of books about educational technology.

"Shortly, I will have a series of [program-specific] books out that are directed at educators," she told Education World. "The first one is Microsoft Office 2000 for Teachers, available through K-12 Micromedia Publishing. PowerPoint for Teachers and Frontpage for Teachers will follow shortly. These books not only show you everything about the program, but the focus is how you can use it in the classroom."

"I highly recommend two series," said Sachin Bansal, Web designer and Webmaster at Glastonbury (Connecticut) High School. "The For Dummies books are very easy to read and well-written. They contain information for people who may need assistance on a variety of different technological applications, from beginners to advanced levels."

Bansal also recommended books from the Bible Series, which includes books such as the HTML 4 Bible, by Bryan Pfaffenberger, and the Internet Bible, by Brian Underdahl.

"More serious and dedicated users can easily understand and learn new and basic material about a particular concentrated topic, such as HTML. Authors usually provide a useful accompanying CD-ROM and, though the books can be lengthy and cumbersome, they serve as fantastic desktop references," Bansal said.


Two Tech Team members recommended starting a technology library with books designed to introduce you to the Internet.

"I've found The Busy Educator's Guide to the World Wide Web, by Marjan Glavac to be a great resource for all teachers who are new to the Internet or who are intimidated by it," said John Simeone, Webmaster and instrumental music teacher at New York's Beach Street Middle School.

"The book provides a simple approach to Web searching and school site building, identifies public school and educational sites as well as other helpful sites," Simeone told Education World. "More about this book can be found at The Busy Educator's Guide to the World Wide Web," Simeone added.

"I would include Classroom Connect's A+ Yellow Pages books," said Mary Kreul, second-grade teacher, Web editor, and technology mentor at Wisconsin's Richards Elementary School. "One edition is for K-6 and a second is for 7-12. The books highlight quality Web sites that teachers can incorporate into their curriculum.

"The Web sites are organized into the following curriculum areas: art and music, health and PE, language arts and languages, math, science, social studies, technology and the Internet, and teacher resources. Each entry includes the site's name, its URL, a short description of what's available on the site, grade level recommendations, icons that tell whether the site has many or few graphics, related areas (other subject ideas or chapters in the book), and integration ideas to try in the classroom," Kreul continued.

"If I want to find a Web site to enhance a grade level curriculum unit or lesson," she added, "I check the A+ Yellow Pages first for ideas. I also share the book with teachers at courses I teach on integrating the Internet into classroom instruction."


Books that provide ideas for activities and projects were also recommended by our Tech Team members.

"I just ordered a book called Hit Enter: More Than 50 Computer Projects for K-5 Classrooms, by Elin Kordahl Saltveit," Lori Sanborn, technology specialist at Rancho Las Positas School in Livermore, California, told Education World. "This book is written for teachers by a teacher. It covers K-5, includes more than 50 classroom projects, and is a great resource for those who want to integrate technology into their classroom curriculum.

"The book has chapters titled 'Start Small, Start Simple,' 'Learn from Your Students,' 'Accept a Little Chaos,' 'Have Fun,' and 'Decide if the Computer Is the Right Tool,'" said Sanborn. "It is only 85 pages long, with lots of great advice."

"I'd buy the book Computer Activities A-Z, which is put out by Teacher Created Materials," Alyssa Weller, a first-grade teacher at South School in Glencoe, Illinois, told Education World. "We are a K-2 school, and the projects in this book are hands-on and motivational for primary students. They teach basic computer skills and also are easily integrated into your existing curriculum.

"Plus, I am the author!" Weller added.

"I would likely recommend a book I got from a colleague, called The Compuresource Book: A Collection of Activities to Integrate Curriculum and Computers, by Terry Burke Maxwell and Joan Elizabeth Hughes," said Beth Gregor, elementary technology coordinator at Pleasantdale Elementary School in La Grange, Illinois.

"It's a great resource book with lots of ideas on how to use technology. They've broken up the activities into beginner, intermediate, advanced, and technical topics. It was published in 1994, but all the activities are still applicable."


Of course, some of our Tech Team members objected to the idea of using books at all to learn about technology.

"Forget books!" said Patrick J. Greene, assistant professor of Educational Technology at Florida Gulf Coast University. "The 'technology infusion library' should have software that teachers and students learn by jumping in with both feet, not by reading about them." Greene suggests starting with a combination of the Inspiration and Hyperstudio software programs.

"I would suggest that teachers take a program they are most comfortable with and read and use that software manual," agreed Libby Adams, computer resource teacher at Troost Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. "Too often software applications are used to the bare minimum because teachers don't read the manuals.

"Kid Pix, for example, is a popular program for elementary students, and the manual has many ideas on how to integrate the program into the curriculum," Adams added.

Jan Wee, technology learning specialist for the Holmen (Wisconsin) School District, initially agreed with the "no books" contingent, then reconsidered. "I have to tell you," she told Education World, "that my gut instinct was to say ... a book? No book could ever accomplish what you seek. But after further thinking, I decided there is an excellent resource called ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), available at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

"The reason this book is essential is that it helps educators develop student technology literacy skills and effective technology integration in K-12 education," said Wee. "All educators should own a copy of this guide and correlate their technology skill development efforts with it. Gaps and weak areas will become clear. This guide will serve as a navigation tool in developing effective technology integration lessons. Helpful examples further define how exemplary educators implement these student standards.

"Our district uses this guide to correlate our computer literacy curriculum and our technology staff development competencies," Wee continued. "Sure, there are tons of books out there that offer great insights on how to use a specific technology or tool. But let's begin with the essentials. The most important foundation to lay is the sequential building of information and technology literacy skills."

"Once we have a clear picture of our goals, we can develop the understanding of the tools we use to implement those goals. NETS is a wonderful tool for all educators developing local technology standards," Wee concluded.

The Experts' Picks

1-2-3 for Windows 5 for Dummies, by John Walkenbach. IDG Books Worldwide. ISBN: 1568842163.

A+ Yellow Pages Grades K-6 and A+ Yellow Pages Grades 7-12, available from Classroom Connect.

Building Treehouses for Learning: Technology in Today's Classroom, by Annette Lamb. Vision to Action Publishing, 1999. ISBN: 1891917005.

The Busy Educator's Guide to the World Wide Web, by Marjan Glavac. Nima Systems. ISBN: 0968331009.

The Compuresource Book: A Collection of Activities to Integrate Curriculum and Computers, by Terry Burke Maxwell and Joan Elizabeth Hughes. Maxwell Group. 1994. ISBN: 1885401000.

Computer Activities A-Z, from Teacher Created Materials. To obtain a copy, contact Tech Time Distributors: 1-847-673-8085 or 4741 Bob-o-link Terrace, Skokie, IL 60076.

Creating Web Pages for Dummies: Quick Reference, by Doug Lowe. IDG Books Worldwide, 1999. ISBN: 076450505X.

Hit Enter: More Than 50 Computer Projects for K-5 Classrooms, by Elin Kordahl Saltveit. Heinemann Publishing, 1999. ISBN: 0325000816.

HTML 4 Bible, by Bryan Pfaffenberger and Alexis D. Gutzman. IDG Books Worldwide, 1998. ISBN: 0764532200.

Internet Bible, by Brian Underdahl, et al. IDG Books Worldwide, 1998. ISBN: 0764532162.

The Internet for Dummies, by John R. Levine, et al. IDG Books Worldwide, 1999. ISBN: 0764505068.

ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (NETS). Available on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Web site, or at 1787 Agate Street, Eugene, OR 97403-1923.

The Magic Carpet Ride: Integrating Technology into the K-12 Classroom, by Annette Lamb. Vision to Action Publishing, 1998. ISBN: 0964158183.

Microsoft Office 2000 for Teachers, by Cathy Chamberlain. Available from K-12 Micromedia Publishing.

Microsoft Office 97 for Windows for Teachers, by Neil J. Salkind. IDG Books Worldwide, 1997. ISBN: 0764500821.

Spinnin' the Web: Designing and Developing Web Projects, by Annette Lamb. Vision to Action Publishing, 1998. ISBN: 0964158191.

Surfin' the Internet: Practical Ideas from A to Z, by Annette Lamb. Vision to Action Publishing, 1998. ISBN: 0964158175.

Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML in 14 Days, 2nd Professional Reference Ed., with CD, by Laura Lemay. Samsnet, 1997. ISBN: 1575213052.

Windows 98 for Dummies, by Andy Rathbone, IDG Books Worldwide, 1998. ISBN: 0764502611.



Inspiration Software Inc.

Kid Pix Studio Deluxe

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

Originally posted 01/24/2000
Updated 08/01/2003