Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Review of Illuminate: Technology Enhanced Learning by Bethany Petty

While I may not have been blogging here much this year (seeing as this is only my second post of 2018), I have been reading up a storm. This is part of a commitment to myself to continue using my time to trying define surviving life after cancer. I've set a goal to read 100 books this year, and the majority of them have been thrillers, and only one from January to May was about teaching.

However, I recently received an email from Bethany Petty, who I originally connected with through my former work with Breakout EDU Digital (which gets a shout out in one of the chapters - always cool to see Justin Birckbichler in print, and kudos for spelling is correctly).

She had just published Illuminate: Technology Enhanced Learning through EdTechTeam Press and wanted to share her message with the world. I told her I would be happy to read and review her book, though she may not need it since as of this writing, it is the number one new release in the Amazon store for Science and Technology Teaching Materials! About a week later, it showed up on my doorstep, and approximately 24 hours later, the book moved from my "Currently Reading" shelf to my "Read" shelf on Goodreads.

I highly recommend this book.
Click here to order your own copy.
This is more about the book being so easy to read more so than it being a short book. Bethany writes in a very conversational tone and shares many engaging anecdotes about her personal experiences as a learner, a teacher, a mom, a friend, and a blogger to back up her points.

The book is broken into ten chapters, with each one covering using technology to engage, explore, create, communicate, think critically, assess, reflect, motivate, design lessons, and connect. I learned something new from each chapter and wish I had read this when I didn't have just five days left in school, so I could implement them this year.

I loved that the book was not based entirely on the tech tools, but more on applications of each tool. New ideas that I had never considered before were presented in each chapter. A ton of stickies now adorn my copy with things I'd like to try in my own classroom.

While the focal point of the book is the "why/how" to use different tools, the "what" tool to use is also addressed. I consider myself pretty in the know about educational technology, but there were about six tools I had never heard of or knew what they did. The 35 tools are helpfully categorized in the "Tech Tools Index" at the back of the book, which made it easy to count up how many I need to learn about soon, but even more nuggets of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the book, making the grand total much higher. Luckily, blank notes pages are included at the end of each chapter to keep it all organized.

A common fear about print books about technology is that they will be outdated within a year or two. Bethany has helpfully included QR codes (which she shares a number of educational uses for throughout the book) to blog posts she has written about the subject. In my interactions with Bethany, I know she is on the ball when it comes to educational technology, and these blogs will be updated as current technology is refined and new, better tools are developed. Essentially, you are getting two books for the price of one - the one in your hand and the future iterations of her blog.

Thank you for allowing me the chance to read and review this book, Bethany. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of Illuminate: Technology Enhanced Learning and look forward to seeing your work continue to grow!