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As an online teacher, I am always developing professionally and seeking inspiration and know-how. Here is a list of books and resources for anyone aspiring to teach online, or for those already working online who want to continue learning from thought leaders in education. For the most part, I have found cutting-edge, self-published books written by peers in education to be more useful than traditional books. The main reason for this is that most traditional books are out-dated and cannot keep up with educational trends online. Some of the books I mention are also suitable for educators in traditional settings or who are engaged in blended learning programs.
1. Productivity and Creativity
I will start with a suite of books by a very insightful and prolific writer called Andre Klein. He has done his time deep in the trenches of online living and has survived and thrived to tell a tale (or two). I’m starting with this because LearnOutLive publications have been my main source of information and inspiration since my first wobbly steps in teaching online. When you are starting out online you need practical advice, fast. I found this and much more with Andre Klein’s books. His publications tell you about online living & teaching, social media , blogging, publishing, setting up websites and edupreneuring. His books for teachers are on his website under the label ‘Productivity and creativity’. They are specifically written for freelance Edupreneurs who wish to carve out exciting careers online.
2. Tools, techniques, options and opportunities
‘Teaching online’ by Nicky Hockly and Lindsay Clanfield offers an overview of the big picture in online and blended learning. It is useful for schools, universities, and edupreneurs. It goes into learning management systems and more complex organizational issues, as well as offering bite-sized tips for the freelance teacher.
If you are new to online teaching or feeling overwhelmed by web 2.0 technology, this book will save you a lot of time, searching and stress. The book was published two years after I started online, so it was interesting to see how far I had come in terms of what the book shares. Whilst I was already familiar with most of the tools and environments (learnt the hard way), it was great to see the big picture expertly laid out, and to see many activities and ideas for implementing and organizing online and blended courses.
3. How to run excellent webinars
‘Webinars: a cookbook for Educators’ is the perfect complement to anyone’s bag of tricks and tools. Hosting webinars is an art in itself and this book helps us to become more effective as online teachers and leaders in education.The creative analogy of ‘Cookbook for Educators’ is expanded on throughout the book, with inspiring recipes and practical information to help anyone to shine, broadcast and present confidently online. When I asked Nicky Hockly about her thoughts on WizIQ, she said that many online teachers were recommending it as a great platform. I believe that those of us working on WizIQ can maximise the potential of our virtual classroom by polishing our presentation skills online.
“The book is for online conference/webinar presenters and moderators, teachers of online classes and anyone thinking of offering webinars but unsure of how or where to start”
4. White papers and ebooks
This amazing section of the WizIQ website, has an abundance of ebooks and white papers written by educators who use WizIQ. The rich information there can help anyone to get tech-savvy and up to speed on many issues from virtual classroom technology to cutting-edge methodologies, case studies and trends in online education. In keeping with the multi-media nature of our powerful platform, the ebook section also features webinar recordings of interviews with famous leaders in education, such as professor Sugata Mitra. The chats, which show style conversations, are the brain-child of Dr. Nellie Deutsch. The WizIQ conversations lend great prestige to WizIQ, as well as providing teachers everywhere with unprecedented learning opportunities.
Beyond this, the resources are too vast to cover in one paragraph, so I highly recommend exploring this collection of great ebooks written by educational innovators on WizIQ.
5. Web 2.0 tools for teachers and more.
Nik Peachey has a number of publications available on his website, Nik’s Learning Technology blog. His actual blogs are so rich and detailed themselves, that I consider them to be a treasure trove of creative and practical inspiration. When someone so dedicated to Educational Technology publishes books aimed at helping teachers, you know you can’t miss out on what he has to share. Teach yourself to utilise tools and technology with Nik’s ebooks and manuals and learn more about his work here.
6. Zen and the act of teaching by David Deubbels
“Do not look at your colleagues and think ‘what a poor teacher am I’. Look at yourself and think ‘what a better teacher I can become.The only competition is with what you could become given your inner qualities.'” David Deubbels
No teacher’s library is complete without some soul food. I’ve been fascinated with ‘Zen and the art of teaching’ ever since I saw the title. The book is unique in that it focuses on the inner teaching game, which I believe is the true key to teaching success. Not only is the book poetic, wise and inspiring, but it also guides readers to journal about their own teaching thoughts and experiences.
A striking feature of the book is the caring way in which it is written with the professional teacher-training insights of one of the leading experts in the English language teaching field today.
7. The 30 goal challenge by Shelley Terrell
‘The 30 goal challenge’ is a multi-faceted, thinking teacher’s dream and a challenging, exciting dip into creativity. It’s a kaleidoscope of what top teachers are doing all over the world. It features ideas for building up influence via blogs, personal learning networks, digital portfolios and more. Practical challenges are interspersed with wise philosophies, insights, the power of story, and love of the arts.
It’s almost spooky how much it all resonates with me. It probably has the same effect on everyone. Time for hair-raising goose bumps and walks on the wild side, as you explore your creative impulses and build up your online presence at the same time. I am so grateful to Shelley Terrell for making this ebook available to teachers everywhere.
We are challenged to do two new tasks per week to move out of comfort zones and become the teachers we want to be. These annual challenges have been updated yearly since the first publication in 2010. 2013 will soon be updated for us too, though the challenges on all versions are timeless and relevant. Who will join in the challenge with me?
8. 1,000 ideas and activities for language teachers by Sean Banville
With Breaking English News and ‘1,000’ ideas for teachers, there is no excuse for not turning our students into citizen journalists of the 21st Century. Teaching online is so exciting with the right resources. Just as success breeds success, reading about ideas also inspires you to come up with many of your own original twists on old themes, methods and games. Teaching the news via role play, word games and quotes has got to make topic-based learning and exams training more exciting, don’t you think?
9. ELT goes to the movies by Maria Ines Brumana and Monica Segura
Moving on from news to film, ELT Goes to the movies, is a detailed, step by step guide with lesson plans on how to teach with movies. It is specifically designed to encourage teacher creativity also. By reading this book and trying out lesson plans, you develop a taste for experimenting and allowing students to be more expressive in English. Of course, the methods and lesson plans could be adapted for teaching any language.
Here is a quote from my review of the book;
“ELT goes to the movies” makes optimal use of group work, student centred activities, lots of speaking, predicting, funny guesswork and cool games. Many teachers don’t know how to put classes like that together or lack the time, and the big publishers charge up to 100 euro for a video component to match course books…”
I know that this can be a first step into great teaching projects through film, both online and in traditional classrooms.
10. The classic
‘The Element’ by Sir Ken Robinson is already famous, but I must add it here as the classic touch. If you want to motivate students, run online schools or write your own books, you have got to learn how to get into the zone and tune into your own creative energy. I know many language learners who love this book too. Let’s keep inspiration alive by embracing life-long learning and taking risks with intuition and creativity.’Passion changes everything’.
I’m also reviewing a secret manuscript, which I can’t disclose information about, as yet. The mystery book will be published in the near future and then I’ll be able to share my thoughts on it. Let me just say that if, like me, you are a teacher, who is interested in social/emotional learning and brain-based education, you will be quick to appreciate its significance. Enjoy the suspense!!