Online books talks are making an impact on how educators learn and connect with each other on a global basis. In 2013, I was fortunate enough to lead a district wide Edmodo book talk on Dave Burgess’ Teach Like a Pirate. Staff members signed up for an Edmodo account and over a two month period, responded and commented on a plethora of questions related to passion based teaching. You are probably wondering what Edmodo is, right? It’s a web based resource that enables teachers and students to hold a virtual classroom of sorts. Assignments, links, videos, and other materials can be posted and commented on in a secure setting. So to model its effective use in the educational setting, we used Edmodo for the book talk. Even more exciting was Dave’s involvement in the actual discussion. It’s not too often that you get to have the author of a book share insight. The entire experience allowed everyone to reflect on their experiences and learn how to use a resource that could be helpful in the classroom.
This year I was again put in the fortunate position to help run another Edmodo Book Talk focusing on Eric Sheninger’s Digital Leadership. In this particular instance over 175 educators from around the world shared their insight on best practices as it related to leading and learning in the digital era. Participants would comment on questions that were posted in the Edmodo group. As an added bonus, Eric Sheninger himself participated in the chat and shed light on his journey as a digital leader. The comments and resources posted during this online discussion gave me, as well as others, an opportunity to reflect and gain insight on what is possible in education.
Online book talks can have an impact with adults and children alike. Think of how inspiring it would be if students in a language arts or social studies class could share their thoughts on a book in real time. Simply set up a class or group on Edmodo or other online forum and post daily questions that encourage authentic reflection. Providing an opportunity for students and staff to share their voice about a topic or book is critical, especially for those who are reluctant to speak in public. It’s a win-win for everyone and promotes a learning environment that is collaborative and innovative. So what do you say? Take a risk and hold an online book talk or discussion with various school stakeholder groups. It’s a wonderful way to keep moving the education conversation forward.