Is it really over? (Virtual Book Club)

I must have been in denial.

It has taken me almost a month to get around to listening to the recording of the final session of Virtual Book Club. This opportunity to connect with educators around the world about a topic as important as #globalclassroom with a text as rich as Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds has been an unbelievably powerful growing experience. Listen to the last session yourself and hear the multi-layered, reflective conversation yourself!

We’ve come a long way baby.

Our first session was jammed with over 30 teachers from all around the world. We had loads of Blackboard Collaborate newbies that cruised up the multitasking learning curve and learned how to listen, type, read, and talk all at once. As the sessions rolled on, we all settled in and began to develop comfort with the mike and chat room and even tried out the breakout groups and learned a lot about how to enjoy the virtual side of a virtual book club.

The content of the conversation broached a number of different critical aspects of learning, technology, and global awareness. We challenged ourselves to find ways to connect our classrooms and to break down walls that prevent students from learning about the wider world. We wondered about how to find connections, feel valued by our administrators, and how to stay motivated and energized. We listened to success stories and shared the near misses and almost great moments. We supported each other, shared links and offered words of encouragement.

Our final session was probably our most probing and thoughtful and, interestingly, also concrete. We challenged ourselves to come up with creative ways to get more students access to educational technology  (after-school tech clubs, blogging clubs and graphic novel book clubs). We explored what a digital divide might be: a lack of access to technology for educational and professional purposes. And we reflected on the idea that an education with out global connections is like a 2D world. Akram, Joanne, Elena all shared thoughts about why it is so important that we have our students working with and collaborating with students from other places.

And we really pushed ourselves to think about our

big three

This idea comes from a section in Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds called “If You Only Read One Thing, Read This.” Basically, it suggests to choose three things that you are going to work on. Just three things. So we put ourselves into breakout groups and committed to each other three things that we want to work on. It was a really nice way to begin to wrap up the group and begin to plan for the future. (My apologies if you are listening to the recording because there will be about 10 minutes of dead space while we do this.) To see what some folks committed to, check out Chapter 12: Rock the World.

And then, it was over! (I’m getting sad again just listening to the end of the recording.)

Vicki and Julie– thank you so much for writing such an important, powerful and practical book! And thank you for your professional generosity. You probably have no idea the impact your support had on me, let me just say, it was tremendous.

Lisa, Michael, Tina, Theresa– From that first tweet I saw from Michael about gathering interest in Global Classroom projects, I have thrived on the collaboration and connections that GlobalClassroomProject has created. Thank you so much for all your support, interest and ideas throughout this project and others.

Jim and Mara– For taking a risk to help me! You were both great co-moderators. Don’t worry, I’ll be contacting you again for our next book club!

All the ACPS teachers – it was so wonderful that you chose to join the Virtual Book Club, whether you came to one or all sessions, you learned more about what is out there, and tried something new. I hope you also got a little inspiration to make some global connections!

Finally, I never like to say something is really over. Please click here if you would like to add your name an Twitter handle to a list of participants in Virtual Book Club. And please click here if you would like to suggest titles and ideas for Virtual Book Club II.

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