Monday, November 19, 2012

Launching a Virtual Book Club

I am giddy with excitement about the opportunity to host a Virtual Book Club discussing the fantastic book Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time by Julie Lindsay and Vicki A. Davis. The book club was announced last Sunday night in my school division and I am thrilled that we already have thirteen teachers signed up! Even better, we have teachers from across our school division and from all different grade levels. It is a wonderful thing when already busy teachers find time in their lives to discuss powerful educational ideas with their peers. 

Now, I am ready to get some global participation in this book club. I can't think of a better way to brainstorm about global projects than to have teachers from across the globe in the session together. So, we are inviting all teachers, parents, students, thinkers and learners out there to join us for six live meetings to share what they think about the projects, resources, and research discussed in Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds.

We will be meeting on Tuesdays at 00:30GMT (Mondays at 7:30pm EST)

(find the time in your country/time zone here)

on the following dates:

January 7th - Meet the Flat Classroom, Chapters 1 & 2

January 21st - Connection and Communication, Chapters 3 & 4

February 4th - Citizenship, Contribution and Collaboration, Chapters 5 & 6

February 18th - Choice and Creation, Chapters 7 & 8

March 4th - Celebrating, Designing, Managing a Global Project, Chapters 9 & 10

March 18th - Rock the World

Meetings will be live using Blackboard Collaborate and will last one hour. We will spend the time sharing thoughts about ideas raised in the book. It will also be a great opportunity to connect with other educators that share similar passions and beliefs about flattening our classrooms walls. We will share strategies and resources for building those 21st century skills like collaboration, communication and creativity in authentic ways.

Inspiration for this Virtual Book Club came from Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis themselves. I was lucky enough to participate in a Virtual Book Club hosted by Engaging Educators last spring. It was great because I
  • actually read the book (instead of the book just staring at me from my book shelf, desperate to be read but collecting dust instead)
  • met educators from across the United States and around the world
  • learned about global projects that already exist that I could participate in
  • was inspired to do more to help students and teachers connect and collaborate
I hope that you can take some time to read the book and join us for our discussions. If you are interested, please complete this quick form so that I know you are interested and I'll get back to you with information about our first meeting. And, please, spread the word!

If you aren't familiar with the idea of a virtual book club or with this text, here's more!

What is a Virtual Book Club?

A virtual book club is one in which readers come together to discuss a text using a web-based platform. Readers connect by logging onto a website in which they can be active learners and collaborators. The virtual room allows readers to speak, listen, chat and read about what others think about the text. All participants need is a web link, a computer with access to the Internet (and preferably a working microphone) and thoughts and ideas about the reading. It is like a book club but you can stay home and be in your pajamas!

What book will we be reading?

We will be reading the text Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds by Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis. This book is co-written by classroom teachers that have transformed learning in their classrooms by communicating and collaborating with other classrooms around the world. Learn more about how global learning provides authentic literacy experiences, gets students engaged in their learning and opens up numerous opportunities for differentiation.


  1. Congratulations Kyle for getting this organised! We are here to support, just let me know when you would like a guest visit.
    Thanks, Julie Lindsay

    1. Thanks Julie! We would love it if you could join us! Which dates work for you?

  2. Love this idea and would love to participate in an asynchronous manner (meeting times are at 9:am for me). Would this be possible. If not I would love to start one for this part of the world. Would you be willing to share resources and ideas?

    Brendan LEa

    1. Hi Brendan Lea! I'm glad you like this idea and are interested in participating. I plan to have a blog to complement the Blackboard Collaborate sessions. In the blog readers that can't participate live can share thoughts, comments, questions, and ideas. We will also be able to post the recorded synchronous sessions there. It would be great if you participated that way.

      The biggest resource you need to start your own virtual book club is the web tool that lets you hold synchronous meetings. I understand that Blackboard Collaborate has a free 30 day trial that you might want to try out.

      If you complete the online form for the book club and leave a note about not being able to participate live, I'll get in touch with you about getting the blog set up!


    2. Thanks,

      I have filled out the form.


    3. Hi Kyle,

      I believe I've signed up. I also sent out a blurb to my coworkers and so far at least one other will be joining us. I can't wait.


  3. That is wonderful! Thanks for spreading the word!

  4. I am so excited to join this virtual book club. I have participated in some global collaborative projects, but I am looking forward to meeting with others around this topic. I shared the info with colleagues, so I am hoping for more participation from my school. It's always fun to learn along with peers.

    1. I am really excited too! I look forward to hearing your ideas and thanks for passing along the information to others. The more that participate, the more ideas that get shared, the more classroom connections we can make!