Teach Boldly: Using Edtech for Social Good
Author: Jennifer Williams
Educators exist in many different settings—from well-appointed classrooms with the latest technology to repurposed spaces with makeshift furniture. In many cases, educators also act as makers of change and exist all around the world. With this global perspective in mind, Teach Boldly: Using Edtech for Social Good by Jennifer Williams invites the reader to become an active participant in making positive changes in teaching and learning. Innovation, thoughtful use of technology, and collaborative experiences with diverse people to impact social good, are key elements of Teach Boldly .
While many books in the field of education focus on research and theory, Teach Boldly calls for action. Each chapter introduces one big idea and invites the reader to put the big idea into practice. Organized into six chapters, each is focused on a specific concept (e.g., thinking globally, making time for social good), and includes inspirational real-world examples, action ideas, and portfolio-building activities. Educator vignettes are also included in the narrative. Elements like these are what help this text stand out.
Teach Boldly Teach Boldly begins with the author's story of how she was inspired to teach through the power of a teacher's presence. Through thoughtful reflection, Williams is able to connect the exemplary traits of her former teacher into how today's educators may use technology to empower learners—locally or globally—and to dream and do for social good.
The term "social good" may be unfamiliar to many readers as the concept has largely been contained within the field of social work, yet it is not difficult to understand. Social good encompasses programs and services that aim to improve access to housing or food, immigration policy, poverty, or any number of human rights or social justice issues. Williams suggests that calls to social good actions are not limited to any one field and that education can, and should, make a positive impact. In this regard, readers are encouraged to "teach boldly" by taking action or, perhaps, it may be an even bolder action to simply listen to their learners without judgment.
One particular strength of Teach Boldly is the framework that helps the reader build skills chapter upon chapter. This framework allows the reader to envision themselves as a bold teacher who makes change for social good. Chapter one encourages the reader to consider becoming part of something bigger than themselves. Readers are reminded that there is power in numbers and collectively, we can change the world. Educators seeking new ideas they can implement in their classrooms will be pleased with not only the number of activities included but also by the depth and breadth of the offerings. Teach Boldly wastes no time providing teachers with strategies they need to change the world right away.
Teach Boldly is much like a multi-purpose tool in that it can offer nearly all types of educators several new tools to add to their toolbelt. For those new to the profession, Williams offers introductions to interesting and important topics within Edtech such as human-centered design, accessibility, open educational resources, and Makerspaces. While not a deep dive per se, these brief summaries provide a foundation for Williams' overarching theme of performing intentional action for good. For those individuals with a background in Edtech, Teach Boldly still has much to offer; there are many interesting activities to try, opportunities for reflection, stories from colleagues in the field to draw inspiration, and plenty of >useful resources to access or save for later.
Teach Boldly is published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the contents of the book align with both ISTE's student and educator standards. Each chapter is carefully aligned to one or more of ISTE's seven standards. Overall, Teach Boldly does an excellent job at capturing the spirit of the ISTE standards, particularly Educator Standards 1-3—the Empowered Professional. Recommended for both the novice and seasoned Edtech veteran alike, Teach Boldly offers innovative ideas, next-day practices, long-term project plans, and—perhaps most importantly—the permission to dream and act in big ways to inspire and empower learners everywhere.
Williams, J. (2019). Teach boldly: Using edtech for social good . International Society for Technology in Education.