What should we read next for our online book club? We just finished Sara Goldrick-Rab’s 2017 work on financial aid, Paying the Price .
Since 2014 we’ve been reading books covering different ways of approaching education, technology, and the future. Titles have included media history, near-future science fiction, education economics, anti-authoritarian schooling, changes in higher education, sociology of class, the emerging world of automation, and the 21st century’s most important work of economics.
Here are books that have led the pack in previous discussions, plus a few that I’ve added to the mix.
- Bill Bishop and Robert G. Cushing, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart. An accessible analysis of how American society is sifting itself into separate strata and locations. A good followup to our Robert Putnam reading.
- Allan Collins, Richard Halverson, Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. A Columbia Teachers’ College Press book about how education can change to best respond to technology.
- Tressie McMillan Cottom, Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy. A critical look at how the for-profit sector boomed and took advantage of many Americans.
- Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, The Race between Education and Technology. Explores how education changes to prepare students for technological shifts.
- Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (one review). A futurist considers ways humanity might evolve.
- Ramez Naam, Nexus. Science fiction about a world is driven by nanotechnology, which enables new politics and a thriller plot. The author is friendly on Twitter.
- Chris Newfield, The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them. Focuses on the defunding of American public higher education.
- Cathy O’Neill, Weapons of Math Destruction. A careful critique of the problems arising from big data, data analytics, and applying algorithms to increasing areas of human life.
- Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning (NPR rave review). Science fiction extrapolating from all kinds of ideas we’re thinking about today. Lots of world-building with science, technology, and culture.
- Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli, Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education. A serious look on connected learning, co-authored by a Future Trends Forum guest, and in its third edition.
- Jeff Selingo, College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students. A critical examination of higher ed in transformation.
- Strauss and Howe, The Fourth Turning (1997). This is the great book about American generational theory, an ambitious interpretation of this nation’s culture, and a tool for getting at the future. It’s very much in the news now, as people seek to apply its model to either Trump or his opposition.
- Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End . Hugo-award-winning science fiction novel about the future of education.
You can vote in this poll, and also add thoughts in comments below. You can support up to three titles:
I’m looking forward to your choices!
I read the Fourth Turning (and the precursor as well) almost – yikes! – 20 years ago. It’s amazing how well the authors’ theory has held up. I wouldn’t mind reading it again. I’ve had Weapons of Math Destruction on my Kindle for quite awhile and need a reason to actually start reading it.
Fourth Turning is a big book in futures work these days. Thank you.
Cathy O’Neill is awesome.
I’ve voted, but I’d like to suggest a title for the someday/maybe list: “The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts” by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind. Seems relevant to both what and how we teach, and how we organize work in higher ed.
Good one, Joe. I like what I’ve read of it.
Adding to the next mix.
A book not on your list – that I finished on my walk to work this morning – and which is fabulous that I’m sort of speechless – is The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. Even if we don’t bookclub this book – you should drop what you are doing right now and read this book.
That good? Warren Ellis thought it was a space opera Game of Thrones.
I’d like to make a suggestion. I’m bouncing around so much these days that committing to finishing a book in a reasonable amount of time is a real challenge (which is why I haven’t leapt in full throttle yet). Can we look at reading a sci-fi short story per week? I mentioned a few previously but a couple just off the top of my head:
Isaac Asimov: Profession http://employees.oneonta.edu/blechmjb/JBpages/m360/Profession%20I%20Asimov.pdf
Karl Schroeder: To Hie From Far Cilenia (in Metatropolis ed. John Scalzi)
I’m sure we can collectively come up with others. I’m thinking these are more bite-sized morsels and I’d love to discuss them with the group.
Did I ever mention my plans to assemble an anthology of sf about education?
I’d like to suggest “Rise of the Robots” by Martin Ford. It ties with with what Joe Murphy mentioned above. It looks at how technology is shaping our future today, including education.
Thank you, Jeff.
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I’m thinking of starting a local book discussion group and appreciate the suggestions. Personally I’d go for “Ada Palmer, /Too Like the Lightning / (NPR rave review ).”. However I am no longer involved with educational institutions. I am doing some teaching with small classes, or one on one.. I think your readers would probably benefit more from one of the books focusing on understanding and dealing with the interaction of technology and education. I’m reading (or at least starting) Thomas Friedman’s new book “Thank You for being late”.
Keep up the good work! Harry
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