This is always one of the more popular posts that I write each year. Each May, I share the academic books that I’m planning to tackle this summer in preparation for the next academic year. If you’re interested what I’ve read in past summers, definitely check out the links at the bottom of this post.
1. Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to our Digital Lives (Levy, 2017)
In full disclosure, I’ve actually already started reading this book. After seeing this text referenced at a few conference sessions, I felt like it was time to check it out. In the book, Levy, a professor at the Information School of the University of Washington, discusses ways to limit technology use and more mindfully engage with our devices. Part of my motivation to read this text is personal. I need to bring a little balance to my digital choices and step away from my smartphone more regularly. I’m also interested in how I can support more “mindful tech” use with my students and my children.
2. The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Student for a World in Flux (Davidson, 2017)
Cathy Davidson is one of those educational thinkers who is constantly promoting innovation in schools. She follows this trajectory in this book by discussing how our current structure of higher education doesn’t prepare students for the new, information age economy. Davidson also offers suggestions for restructuring colleges and universities to better prepare students.
3. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (Noble, 2018)
A couple of colleagues are planning to organize a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) with this text in the Fall. Over the last few semesters, our university has offered several FLCs focusing on race-related topics. Last fall, we offered an FLC on Raising Race Questions (Michael, 2014) and this spring, we offered another FLC on Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Kendi, 2017). Both were tremendous successes and provided springboards for difficult conversations. I’m hoping to use this summer to get a jump start on the FLC.
4. iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, Less Happy – And Completely Unprepared for Adulthood-And What That Means for the Rest of Us (Twenge, 2017)
I have to admit that I’m usually skeptical of generational research that uses survey data to make broad generalizations about populations of people. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, has made a career doing this kind of work. I purchased this book after a colleague gave a presentation on campus recently and I’m looking forward to interrogating the ideas that Twenge presents.
5. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Brown, 2015)
This is another colleague recommendation. I’ve written about Brene Brown a bunch of years ago after seeing one of her TED videos. I’m looking forward to reading her book this summer and preparing myself to “strive valiantly and dare greatly.”