What we’re reading: Jeff Miller

“What we’re reading” is a regular feature in Dialogues, the CTLT’s bi-monthly newsletter. In each edition, one staff member at the CTLT will share what they are currently reading and offer some poignant suggestions for your reading list.

Jeff Miller, Senior Associate Director, Projects and Faculty Partnerships at the CTLT, shares his reading list for the summer 2019 edition:

Is there a specific book that inspired you to pursue work around teaching and learning innovation?

My interest in teaching and learning (and innovation) was initially inspired by some of Marshall McLuhan’s books, particularly The Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media. His work on media and the potential of technologies to reconfigure how we communicate and create knowledge (something rather important to the organization of places like universities) informed a lot of the work I was doing as a graduate student in English, and has been a key factor in projects that look at the impact of print literacy, multiliteracies, electronic media and networked technologies on the space of the classroom.

Is there a book that has helped guide your work more recently?

Both for work I do at UBC (and in the Master of Educational Technology program) and for my own strategies as a parent of a teenager, I found danah boyd’s book It’s Complicated quite useful to  explore the role of social media in the lives of youth. It is a great book to consider along with Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together or even some of Neil Postman’s books on the impact of technology on society, education and culture.

What are you looking forward to reading this summer?

I plan on binging through some Sci-Fi books (likely while camping) such as The Gone World (by Tom Sweterlitsch), Fall (by Neal Stephenson) and Recursion (by Blake Crouch), and will also nerd out a bit by reading Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel (by Michio Kaku).

Who is your favourite author? If you could recommend one book by them, what would it be?

One of my favourite authors is Thomas King, and I would recommend his book Green Grass, Running Water. It is a wild retelling of colonial history by multiple (and conflicting) narrators who run roughshod over conventional oral and written histories and creation stories. The book ends up weaving together new stories about tragic historical events and contemporary realities in Canada, all with great humour, insight and memorable characters.