The Really Useful #EdTechBook

"The Really Useful #EdTechBook" by David Hopkins. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA
“The Really Useful #EdTechBook” by David Hopkins. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA

Back in July 2014, I was approached by David Hopkins to participate in a collaborative book venture that would be written by learning technologists for learning technologists, and so The Really Useful #EdTechBook was born. David, as the book’s editor, has done a sterling job of assembling some very creative and talented individuals to participant in the production of this book and I feel very honoured and humbled to be amongst them.

We are hoping that the book will published on 28th January 2015 and will be available in both ebook and paper versions. The ebook is already available for pre-order through and As part of the book’s pre-launch publicity, David interviewed a number of the authors, myself included, to find out about their use of technologies in their personal and professional lives. You can find out more about the book, the chapter authors, the launch details, the world of learning and educational technology, and other aspects of The Really Useful #EdTechBook by joining our Google+ community.

So what is the book about? I shall leave it to the book’s editor, David Hopkins, to explain:

Technology has invaded our working and recreational lives to an extent that few envisaged 20 or 30 years ago. We’d be fools to avoid the developments in personal, mobile, and wearable technology. Even if we tried we’d still have to deal with other developments and distractions in classroom and learning technology like smart boards, blogs, video, games, students-led learning, virtual learning environments, social media, etc. More than this, however, is how the advances in technology, the economic and physical miniaturisation of computing devices, have impacted education: the students, the teachers, the classrooms, the spaces, the connections, the aspirations, etc.

‘The Really Useful #EdTechBook’ is about experiences, reflections, hopes, passions, expectations, and professionalism of those working with, in, and for the use of technology in education. Not only is it an insight into how, or why, we work with these technologies, it’s about how we as learning professionals got to where we are and how we go forward with our own development.

In this book respected individuals from different education sectors write about many aspects of learning technology; from Higher Education (Sue Beckingham, Peter Reed, Dr David Walker, Sheila MacNeil, Sarah Horrigan, Terese Bird, Wayne Barry, Inge de Waard, and Sharon Flynn), Further Education (Rachel Challen and James Clay), to Museums (Zak Mensah),  workplace learning (Jane Hart, Julian Stodd, Julie Wedgwood, and Lesley Price) and primary schools / early years education (Mike McSharry and Jo Badge). With a foreword written by Catherine Cronin, from the National University Ireland, Galway, the breadth and depth of the experiences here are second to none.

The knowledge these leading learning practitioners, researchers, and professionals, share, under the same cover, is a unique opportunity for you to read about the variety of approaches to learning technology, the different perspectives on the same technology, and how technology is impacting our culture and learning infrastructure, from early-age classrooms to leading research Universities and from museums and workplace learning providers. It is about our passion for our work and our desire to make our work better through our own learning and development.

What of my book chapter? It’s called ‘“…and what do you do?”: Can we explain the unexplainable?‘. Here is the chapter abstract to whet your appetite:

Unlike other occupations, the job title of ‘learning technologist’ does not elicit the same kind of shared, universal understanding of most other professions, such as teacher, doctor or solicitor. We find that even within our own communities of practice that it is a little difficult to explain or define what it is that we do. Furthermore, Browne & Beetham (2010) note in their report that there are “varying nuances” between the terms ‘learning technology’ and ‘educational technology’. Thus, exasperating an already complex and divergent field that is still trying to make sense of the confusing and contradictory nature surrounding the terminology and interpretation of names and job titles that have been generated through the likes of definitions, lists, and socially constructed discourses.

In this book chapter, through my own personal experience, I will try and derive some sense of meaning behind those troublesome terms and consider how this impacts on how we, as learning professionals, are perceived from within and outside of our professional communities and institutions.