#BIT15Reads: Joining the club and choosing a book

Can you believe that we have 53 members already signed up for #BIT15Reads?  We’ve been alive for 1 week now and this blog post is a response to some of the FAQs I’ve received.

Firstly:  Anyone, anywhere can join the #BIT15Reads book club but the happening-est place to be is inside Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/170190-bit15reads

What is Goodreads?

Goodreads is a social media platform dedicated to reading!  I got started using it so that I could keep track of what I’m reading and what I wanted to read.  As a teacher-librarian, I use it to build lists in when I’m focusing on a particular part of our collection.  I invite anyone on staff to see my lists as I make them, and because it’s live, they can also see my updates.  The reason I chose it for our book club is because of my two goals for the #BIT15Reads book club:  community and longevity.  Too much of my own professional development happens in the tiny bubble of a workshop or conference and it can be years before I revisit that idea again.  Research tells us us that the best professional development is chosen by teachers, has a research component and is embedded in the workplace.  So the #BIT15Reads book club is my action research on building and sustaining the wonderful community that ECOO and the BIT15 conference have brought me for 3 days each year.  It gives us a private place to say what we really feel without the repercussions of being truly public.  Members must be approved by moderators but once you’re a member you can start any discussion you like.

Inside the book club you’ll find:

  • a list of the books that we are currently reading on the Currently Reading bookshelf
  • some other bookshelves for past and future #BIT15Reads ideas
  • discussion boards ….places to sound off, ask questions and a discussion board for each book in the Currently Reading bookshelf
  • events….will come as people engage.  I’m hoping to include Twitter chats, videoconferences, extreme voting, etc.
  • a list of all current members (53 members and counting!!)

Why these books?

As all good librarians do, I’ve been researching which books to add to our list since Andrew and I submitted a proposal for the #BIT15Reads book club in the spring.  These books had to fulfill certain criteria and they are:

  1. They had to somehow relate to education and technology
  2. They have to be current….nothing older than 2014 for the 2015 voting.
  3. The list has to include many perspectives.
  4. The books have to be written by ‘experts’ because the participants of #BIT15 are smart cookies, and we appreciate arguments well-based in research and other evidence.

I have asked the publishers of 21 books in total to send me review copies of the books so that we can review them online.  Most of the publishers have responded very positively and the books are arriving.  As they arrive, I will post them in the Currently Reading bookshelf and tweet about them using #BIT15Reads.  Haymarket Books has offered us a significant discount on their book on our list, but you have to be in the club to see the details.  I’m approaching book wholesalers as we speak about getting involved to get our group access to all the books at a good price.  Many of the books are released in multiple formats so you can enjoy your reading in your preferred mode.  At the moment though, each Goodreads listing of the book leads you to the other formats or retailers of the book.

So how do you get started?

I would recommend that you

a) Join the #BIT15Reads book club on Goodreads.

b)  Join Twitter and follow the hashtag #BIT15Reads

c) Pick any book from the Currently Reading bookshelf and dive into it.

d) As you read it (or when you’re done) please thoughtfully respond to the questions here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZYulutird6dIcDgK7ughs5_jXS2e3ycBuCXbJcIu24M/viewform

What’s next for #BIT15Reads?

Your ratings and comments on this form will determine which books move forward in the Reading Club.  Each book you rate gets a total out of /65 as determined by you, the book club member.  On October 1, I will announce the 10 books with the best scores and we will focus on these 10 books for the next month….again reading and rating.  Then on November 1, I will announce the 5 books with the best scores.  At the #BIT15Reads conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, we will have an amazing session of discussion and debate about why these 5 books are the best in education technology non-fiction this year.

After the conference, we’ll start something new!  This format is just to launch the whole concept so after this year’s conference, we can adjust and tweak to everyone’s liking.