GOA's Summer Playlist: 20 Resources for Inspiration and Exploration

We know educators use summer not just to refresh, but to seek out and ponder new ideas, many of which are found in unexpected places. At GOA, we’re no different: we’re constantly trading our favorite links and stories, discovering new opportunities, and hoping others do the same.

We’ve put together a short playlist of some of our favorite inspirations, 20 resources we’d love for you to read, watch, or listen to this summer. Some are focused on education, others are, well, let’s say “education-adjacent,” but have been instrumental in pushing our thinking in new directions.

What resonates with you here? What would you add? Tell us on Twitter or on Facebook and use the hashtag #goalearning!



Learn Better by Ulrich Boser: Full of practical, research-based tips on how to train yourself to become a better learner.

buildwith.org: An excellent site that links technology with governance and civic engagement. Full of resources and guides about how to design “with” and not “for” users, a critical skill of modern educators.

Cooking with The New York Times: Whether you love to cook, eat, or both, this remarkable library of instructional videos and pages will make you think about how we teach people, design for learning, and engage through narrative.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most: A short, useful read on how to stop avoiding tough conversations and engage others with less stress. Written by the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Grading from the Inside Out: Tom Schimmer makes the case that it’s time to transform grading: he offers an argument and a guide to integrating more standards-based assessment and reporting methods into schools.

It’s Complicated: the Social Lives of Networked Teens: We think danah boyd’s book is essential reading to build empathy for how young people navigate social media, the internet, and school.

Poem-a-day from American Academy of Poets: Inspiration can come in small bites. Sign up to have a poem emailed to you each day.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead: Brené Brown’s latest book shares the social scientist’s research on the power of vulnerability and its link to resilience.

The Art of Coaching Teams by Elena Aguilar: A guide to helping groups of people come together on common goals. Aguilar shares not just ideas, but protocols and meeting formats that can help a leader support a culture of collaboration and growth.

World Class Learners by Yong Zhao: For prompts, templates, and examples to help design modern learning experiences for students, we like this book’s approach to defining student-centered learning as student-empowered learning.


We love this funny, poignant TED Talk from bestselling author Anne Lamott with practical revelations about her life as a parent, grandparent, and writer.

Flow: the Secret to Happiness: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains his now famous theory that realizing our potential is an actual state of mind, one he calls “flow.” This talk has so much resonance for educators about the states of mind that lead to deep learning.

Growing Up Trans:” This documentary from PBS’s Frontline focuses on children and families dealing with questions of gender, transition, and identity.

Most Likely to Succeed:” A documentary about the increasingly poor fit between traditional models of education and the needs of modern society. Full of the voices of experts, educators, and students. We hosted a screening at our Blended Learning Institute last summer. You can host one, too, or attend a viewing in your area.

“We Need to Talk About an Injustice”: Bryan Stevenson’s popular TED Talk about the American justice system.


longform Ezra_Klein_show_podcast_Vox.0 cult of ped podcast 99percent

99% Invisible: This design podcast explores the often unseen and always powerful influence of design on our everyday lives. Hosted by Roman Mars, 99% Invisible’s most famous episode, Vexillonaire, explores flag design in a way that is about so much more than colors and patterns.

Cal Newport on the Ezra Klein Show: This interview with Cal Newport explores all the ways we can (and should) take control of technology in our professional and personal lives. The author of Deep Work has rich and practical advice about managing our time, attention, and devices.

Cult of Pedagogy: We’re fans of Jennifer Gonzalez’s popular blog, and the accompanying podcast offers interviews and insights aimed at classroom educators. A good place to start is episode 57, “9 Simple Solutions for Common Teaching Problems.”

Samin Nosrat on the Longform Podcast: This interview with the author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is superficially about cooking, but reveals so much about learning through exploration, grit, and curiosity.

Stanford Innovation Lab: Hosted by Prof. Tina Seelig, this podcast shares the work of Stanford’s innovation and entrepreneurship courses. A fun listen for educators curious about how innovation might be taught and brought to life in a classroom.

Global Online Academy (GOA) reimagines learning to enable students and teachers to thrive in a globally networked society. Professional learning opportunities are open to any educator. To sign up or to learn more, see our Professional Learning Opportunities for Educators or email hello@GlobalOnlineAcademy.org with the subject title “Professional Learning.” Follow us on Twitter @GOALearning. To stay up to date on GOA learning opportunities, sign up for our newsletter here.

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