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ParentingSo far this summer the best book that I have read is a short and insightful book by Illah Reza Nourbakhsh: Parenting for Technology Futures, Part I.  Every parent, teacher, administrator and school board member should read this book.  It is a short and fulfilling read, and is only $2.99 to download the Kindle book.

Avoiding the wildly popular concept of tech literacy, Nourbakhsh argues that students must have technology fluency – where students understand technology so deeply that they influence the future of technology instead of being techno-consumers.

Nourbakhsh also affirms that the teacher is an important and necessary component for improving student attitudes – one that can’t be replaced by any technology.  Parents should engage their schools and the teachers of their children to discuss the role of technology in schools.

In addition to providing parents with ways to engage the educational system, Nourbakhsh provides a recipe for parents to encourage tech fluency at home that includes participation, co-learning, allowing your child to teach you tech, and using technology interwoven with creativity.

By being mindful of technology in the home and at school, and by actively working to be aware of recent trends in technology futures and in education technology, you will set your child up to have the best possible chance to have a tech fluent future.  In a time of economic uncertainty and social upheaval, thanks to massive income inequality and robot-triggered underemployment, that tech fluency is the best insurance policy to insure that your child will not be a victim of technology, but rather an innovator who helps reinvent the future of technology for a better world.

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By now, you have probably heard of Thomas Friedman’s book “The World is Flat” (April 2005). While this is a very worthwhile book that addresses globalization in the 21st century (you should read it if you haven’t), it is over two years old and is not the only resource that can enlighten us about our global landscape.

But more importantly, we should be careful about its take-home message for education. While shock presenters keep spewing threatening statistics (the recent viral video Shift Happens tells a similar story with the same ‘flat earth’ message), many people fail to recognize that rapid globalization has already taken place.

Perhaps Tom Hoffman explains it best in eSchool News:

One mistake educators might make in reading this book is to consciously or unconsciously frame it as a predictive work rather than a descriptive one. This book is not about what is coming. It is about what has already happened. We’re collectively failing to implement technologies and techniques which are creating opportunity around the world.”

As educators, we are often wooed by the latest idea that becomes stale as soon as another novel idea takes its place (cooperative learning, multiple intelligences, authentic assessment, and many others come to mind). Thus, we must be careful that we do not simply get caught up in the buzz about The World is Flat without recognizing its dynamic impact on education. We should be vitally aware that technology has dramatically changed our global landscape, and our teaching should already reflect that not only in what we teach, but in how we teach.